If you’re ever in the market to get a used sporty little car, the Mitsubishi Eclipse could be the one for you. However, there’s one model year for the Eclipse that you might want to steer clear from buying.
Mitsubishi Motors made a car that was a tremendous headache for most owners who bought it brand new. CarComplaints.com received tons of posts reporting a slew of problems with the 2001 Eclipse. They rated it the worst year of the vehicle yet. Let’s look at why this car had such a bad year.
The 2001 model was the worst version of the Mitsubishi Eclipse
Every vehicle seems to have their bad models, and the Eclipse suffered one of the worst in 2001. The NHTSA reported a total of 13 safety recalls, 315 complaints, and they did four investigations on this car. CarComplaints.com has even more problems posted from users of the forum, which prompted them to declare it the worst model year.
The recalls range from electric wiring issues to fuel system problems to the loss of steering control. Some Eclipse owners found themselves with engines cutting out when driving. The issue turned out to be the wiring harness coming into contact with the heat shield. The insulation in the harness melts from the heat and causes electrical problems, especially in the engine.
The car suffered from a fuel leakage problem, which came from a manufacturer’s defect. The fuel tank had a bulge that thinned the material, making it prone to punctures, causing fuel to leak. This increased the risk of a fire starting in the vehicle. CarComplaints users also reported an issue with the fuel filter tubes that would rust out for no reason, causing fuel to leak.
The NHTSA investigations on the 2001 Mitsubishi Eclipse
The NHTSA began by inspecting the seat belt guide for the driver’s seat area. Some guide bolts and nuts were improperly tightened and came loose. A recall came out to correct the problem that affected not only the Eclipse but also the Eclipse Spyder and the Gallant.
Another issue that garnered tons of complaints from Eclipse drivers was with the alloy wheels. Owners found themselves with dented or fractured wheels after hitting potholes. This usually resulted in a loss of air in the tire. Initially, the drivers had to replace them at approximately $350. A second investigation opened up as more reports came in of the same problem.
The last investigation they took on was with the headlights. Many owners reported that their headlight connections melted. Upon investigation, it was determined that improper installation caused the connector to overheat melt. This would cause one of the lights to have problems, but not both at the same time.
The worst-rated problem for the 2001 Eclipse
Hands down, the biggest issue is transmission failure. Most vehicles have some transmission problems where gears might slip now and then. The Eclipse would lose it completely, and it would happen with reasonably low miles on the vehicle. Owners would have it happen driving down the road.
Later, there was a problem coming from a wave cushion spring. It would break apart in the transmission, causing little particles to get circulated throughout the system. Those tiny little pieces caused a lot of damage, rendering the automatic transmission useless.
The entire system had to either be replaced or rebuilt. This cost owners an average of $2,280. Mitsubishi’s dealers refused to acknowledge that it was an issue. There was one recall that came out was for a weakened transmission hose that caused leaks, not for a manufactured defected spring.
The 2001 model of the Mitsubishi Eclipse had one of the roughest years any vehicle has had in a long time. The Eclipse is plagued with problems. This car should be avoided if you’re ever looking to buy a used compact sports car.