really awful
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
57,826 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 1996 Dodge Stratus:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #12

Dec 042014


  • 167,000 miles
R&R front left wheel bearing fix, hub & bearing assembly total cost $214.55 clean engine total cost $83.46 engine oil leak, tried oil stop leak & seems to be working for the time being. Radiator/antifreeze leak, I'm spending $150 month for antifreeze. Putting in 1-2 bottles a day. Probably will have radiator fixed soon. Muffler fell off, can't afford a new one. Needs new spark plugs, can't afford that either. Needs manifold gasket, can't afford that either. Needs oil pan gasket, can't afford that either. Needs new wipers, can't afford that either.

- Cedar Rapids, IA, USA

problem #11

Jul 012006


  • miles
My car had the head gasket replaced and a few other things on it. But I can smell burning oil from some were and the light is on for the oil. I only drive short distances because I am afraid of a fire. Not only that it well maybe only go about 2 miles before it shuts down. Then I have to wait for it to cool down to start it and get it back home.

- Ft.Sill, OK, USA

problem #10

Jun 022009

Stratus 4-cyl

  • 193,000 miles
The contact owns a 1996 Dodge Stratus. While the vehicle was parked at a gas station, the contact was informed that her vehicle was smoking under the hood. She was able to take the vehicle to the repair shop and the mechanic stated that the engine compartment suffered a melt down. A report was filed with the manufacturer, but they would not assist. The current and failure mileages were 193,000. Updated 8/7/09 the PCM and power shifter were faulty. Updated 08/11/09.

- Belding, MI, USA

problem #9

Dec 152004

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Vehicle tended to shutdown unexpectedly at various speeds, causing consumer to lose control of brakes and steering. Took vehicle to dealer several times, but they were unable to determine the cause of the problem.

- Metairie, LA, USA

problem #8

Jul 012004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,000 miles
Head gasket leaked oil. As a result, vehicle continued to overheat.

- Medford, NY, USA

problem #7

Sep 152001


  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles
I purchased my 1996 Dodge Stratus in the summer of 1996 and so far I have had nothing but trouble with this vehicle, one head gasket repair through the dealership at a cost of $1600, one timing chain replacement at a cost of $600 and now again another head gasket leak. In the year 2000 this car sat in the garage for a total of 11 months due to not having the money to fix the head gasket problem which caused a severe financial and a mentally frustrating time during those months without a car. I would like to be included in the class action lawsuit against Chrysler so please forward me any information needed in going forward with this lawsuit.

- Pasadena, TX, USA

problem #6

Dec 292003

Stratus 4-cyl

  • miles
2nd request fax fwd email fm behalf of [xxx] (tx) re numerous defects on a 1996 Dodge Stratus (VIN#[xxx]). the A/C leaked, electrical circuits malfunctioned, transmission problems, premature brake wear, head gasket problems, and poor driveability. There was steering oscillation when driven above 50 mph, rough ride when there was an irregular surface, erratic idle, performance loss, overheating in traffic and or the A/C would become inoperative, warm-up sag, hesitation/die out, rear grid defogger indicator light malfunctioned, inside lights worked improperly, erratic late harsh transmission shifts, frequent rumble or gear noise from the front between 50 and 70 mph, musty odor and defogger failed to clear the glass. The vehicle was also in need of an exhaust manifold and struts. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #5

Sep 162003

(reported on)

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Ltr fm jovan mathews (tx) re problems with his 1996 Dodge Stratus and asking daimler Chrysler to initiate a recall. The A/C leaked, electric circuits malfunctioned, transmission problems, premature brake wear, head gasket, and poor drive ability. The consumer had replaced the timing belt, hydraulic tensioner, water pump, alternator, alternator belt, rotors, brake shoes, rear wheel cylinders, PCV valve, dryer, A/C compressor, tires, all filters, and fluids. The vehicle was in need of an exhaust manifold, windshield, struts, shocks, steering wheel, and a head gasket. The vehicle experienced steering wheel oscillation/vibration above 50 mph, rough ride on road with irregular surface, erratic idle, performance loss, overheated, warm up sag, hesitation, rear grid defogger indicator malfunction, inside lights had become inoperative, late/harsh automatic transmission shifts, frequency rumble or gear noise from the front between 50 and 70 mph, musty odor, and the defroster failed to clear the glass.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #4

Jan 252003

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 104,000 miles
Blown head gasket, twice, massive oil leak

- Middletown, OH, USA

problem #3

Jan 222003


  • miles
While driving and without warning oil would leak from vehicle, and consumer would have to refill oil several times.

- Casper, WY, USA

problem #2

Jan 272003

Stratus 4-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,908 miles
Consumer states vehicle caught fire while driving. Dealer diagnosed fire was result of the engine cylinder head plug being loose. This caused oil to leak which resulted in engine fire. Related recall 96V006000, consumer's V.I.N. not included.

- Hartford, KY, USA

problem #1

Jan 012002


  • miles
Temperature gauge was registering hot. Vehicle was leaking oil. Dealership was aware of problem.

- Elizabeth, NJ, USA