Who is untrustworthy - me or my car?

I have a 2008 PT Cruiser. Last week, I pulled into a parking space, nothing unusual, had stopped, was reaching to put it into park – when the car ZOOMED forward, straight into a concrete block wall and punched a big hole in it. I was stunned. What the heck happened? The police and the owner of the concrete wall and the insurance agent all assumed I had hit the gas pedal, so I assumed I did, too…but then I remembered that in the last 6 months, there were maybe 4 - 5 times in the morning that the car had revved up while still in neutral. It was kind of scary, but then it settled down and everything was OK, and I didn’t think anymore about it. It had not happened recently.

Could it be possible that the accident was related to this revving activity? How do I have that checked? What do I ask for? Will having the car’s computer system checked do the job?

I feel kind of crazy about this. What are the chances of my hitting the gas pedal in a totally routine parking situation? What are the chances of a 2 year old car going rogue on me? Neither seems very likely, but there was most definitely an accident – with $3200 worth of car repairs. I am incredibly grateful no one else was involved. Any advice or comments welcome.

It is the car because you were stopped. The throttle is (I think) controlled and operated by the computer (ECU) and the Chrysler dealer will know if there is a service bulletin for that malfunction. You could use the “shot in the dark” method and replace the ECU but it is costly and might not work. I’m whispering “do it” but I can’t give you any more than my own recommendation which is about equal to a guess.

There is a sensor that tells ecu that motor is cold and ecu give it more gas,idles high in the morning.
If sensor, wires or ecu is not working right it could cause your trouble.

So are you saying that the computer check may not be able to tell me if there is anything wrong? Yikes.
Thank you for your reply.

howdy katie,

 my wife had a 1996 Dodge Stratus that at start up, it'd rev up really high and come down slow. I never fixed it. I got rid of it.
 i know that won't help, but most of your parts stores can scan for codes. if you have a dodge dealer ask the shop foreman about this.

 i wished i fixed it then i could tell you what to do. when you figure it out let us/me know so we can help next poor soul.

 don't be hard on yourself!


Thanks, JP. What I don’t get is that the revving up did not happen on a regular basis – in fact, only rarely – and not at all in the last 6 - 8 weeks. That’s why I didn’t think much about it, and why I’m puzzling whether the accident might be connected to the revving, or something completely different. I’m supposed to talk to the computer guy at the dealership sometime soon, so I want to have as much understanding as possible.

Katie, Have You Searched The Web For 2008 PT Cruiser Acceleration Problems? I’d Be Sure To Visit The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) Site.

There is a place on that site where you can see complaiints others have filed for your specific vehicle and a place for you to file one.

I wouldn’t think you’d find a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for this issue. It’s just my opinion, but I believe that once a manufacturer has a problem of this nature it would escalate to a Campaign or oredered Recall.

Are the gas and brake pedals very close to each other on this car?


I have just searched the NHTSA site, and there was one complaint listed under the 2008 PT Cruiser “Power Train” selection. It described an incident very similar, though the car speeded up while driving, and the driver had to stomp on the brake with both feet to stop it (in my case, a concrete wall offered itself). The dealership could not find anything wrong, and the “codes were not stored” so couldn’t identify anything from that. They agreed to replace something about the accelerator, but could not guarantee that was the problem. I guess this is my greatest concern – whether I will be able to trust the car from now on.
Thank you.