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Older Chrysler Sebring Models Had a Horrible Engine Sludge Problem

The Chrysler Sebring was a midsize car sold from 1995 to 2010. These models came in sedan, coupe, and convertible models. Many owners liked the design of these cars, especially the convertible. Because they were so popular, many of these cars are still on the road today.

However, the 2001 and 2002 Chrysler Sebring both had chronic problems with oil leaks. These problems came from the Chrysler Sebring’s 2.7-liter engine. Left untreated, these oil leaks created engine sludge. The engine sludge caused complete engine failure and led to expensive repairs.     

Engine sludge that led to engine failure

Many who bought the Chrysler Sebring were excited about this car. They liked the car’s styling. Despite the great looks on the outside, there were significant problems with the engine. 

On CarComplaints.com, the most reported problem with the Chrysler Sebring is oil sludge that results in engine failure. This happened because oil would leak out of the engine. When this engine oil is continuously exposed to high heat, it oxidizes and breaks down, which forms sludge. The engine sludge would then cover the entire engine, which made it work less efficiently. Eventually, the engine would break down and have to be completely replaced.

The frustrating part for many owners is that they didn’t know about the problem until it was too late. By the time they realized there was a problem, they had to replace the engine. This included owners that took good care of their car, which meant they got regular oil changes and frequently had the vehicle serviced.

Because this problem accumulated over time, most owners didn’t see problems until their car was over 80,000 miles. Car Complaints reported that these engine problems appeared in the 2001 model around 85,000 miles on average. In the 2002 model, it usually appeared around 94,000 miles on average. In some cases, these problems didn’t occur until the car was well over 100,000 miles.   

Another frustrating part for owners was Chrysler’s response. Many owners found out afterward that Chrysler knew about the problem. They were frustrated that Chrysler didn’t issue a recall on the engine or take any steps to help owners with the problem.       

How much did it cost to fix?

Because most owners didn’t realize the problem until it had caused severe engine damage, most owners had to install a new engine. Car Complaints reported that the typical repair cost for the 2001 Chrysler Sebring averaged at $4,830, and the 2002 Chrysler Sebring averaged at $4,100. Many individual reviewers reported repair costs between $3,000 to $6,000.  

In some cases, replacing the engine the first time wasn’t enough. A few owners reported that the problem happened in the new engine, which forced them to replace the Chrysler Sebring’s engine a second time.    

What other problems did the Chrysler Sebring have?

While the most reported problem on Car Complaints was engine failure from oil sludge, there were other complaints. Many owners had problems with the air conditioner and heater. They complained about the blower fan not working unless it was set to high, loud noises from the air conditioner or heater, and water pooling on the floor.

Another complaint involved electrical problems with interior systems. Many owners reported issues with the instrument cluster and dash lights not working. Others noticed issues with the radio, power locks, and power seats.

For many Chrysler Sebring owners, all of these problems were frustrating. Owners would spend thousands of dollars on car repairs only to have something else break down. After all of these problems, many owners said they would never buy a Chrysler again. If you are thinking about buying a used Chrysler Sebring, make sure to look into all of these problems before you buy it.