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Fluid level checks Chrysler PT Cruiser 2001 - 2010 Petrol 2.0

OnDemand step-by-step maintenance & repair BETA

PT Cruiser
2001 - 2010  | 2.0 Fluid level checks

  • time 5 to 30 minutes
  • difficulty 1
Note: The following are fluid level checks to be done on a 250 mile or weekly basis. Additional fluid level checks can be found in specific maintenance procedures that follow. Regardless of the intervals, develop the habit of checking under the vehicle periodically for evidence of fluid leaks
Note: Fluids are an essential part of the lubrication, cooling, brake and window washer systems. Because the fluids gradually become depleted and/or contaminated during normal operation of the vehicle, they must be replenished periodically. See Recommended lubricants and fluids below before adding fluid to any of the following components. Note: The vehicle must be on level ground when fluid levels are checked

Engine oil

1 Engine oil level is checked with a dipstick
2 The engine oil dipstick is located at the front of the engine and is clearly marked
3 The oil level should be checked before the vehicle has been driven, or about 5 minutes after the engine has been shut off. If the oil is checked immediately after driving the vehicle, some of the oil will remain in the upper engine components, resulting in an inaccurate reading on the dipstick
4 Pull the dipstick out of the tube and wipe all the oil off the end with a clean rag or paper towel. Insert the clean dipstick all the way back into the tube, then pull it out again. Note the oil level at the end of the dipstick
5 The oil level should be between the MIN and MAX marks, near the top of the cross-hatched area on the dipstick - if it isn’t, add enough oil to bring the level up to or near the upper mark (do not overfill
6 Oil is added to the engine after removing a cap located on the valve cover. The cap will be marked “Engine oil”. Use a funnel to prevent spills as the oil is added
7 Don’t allow the level to drop below the MIN mark on the dipstick or engine damage may occur. On the other hand, don’t overfill the engine by adding too much oil - it may result in oil aeration and loss of oil pressure and also could result in oil fouled spark plugs, oil leaks or seal failures
8 Checking the oil level is an important preventive maintenance step. A consistently low oil level indicates oil leakage through damaged seals, defective gaskets or past worn rings or valve guides. If the oil looks milky in color or has water droplets in it, the block or head may be cracked and leaking coolant is entering the crankcase. The engine should be checked immediately. The condition of the oil should also be checked. Each time you check the oil level, slide your thumb and index finger up the dipstick before wiping off the oil. If you see small dirt or metal particles clinging to the dipstick, the oil should be changed

Engine coolant

Warning: Do not allow antifreeze to come in contact with your skin or painted surfaces of the vehicle. Flush contaminated areas immediately with plenty of water. Don’t store new coolant or leave old coolant lying around where it’s accessible to children or pets – they’re attracted by its sweet smell. Ingestion of even a small amount of coolant can be fatal! Wipe up garage floor and drip pan spills immediately. Keep antifreeze containers covered and repair cooling system leaks as soon as they’re noticed
1 The PT Cruiser is equipped with a pressurized coolant recovery system. A white plastic coolant reservoir is located at the rear of the engine compartment, on the center of the firewall
2 The coolant level in the reservoir should be checked regularly. Warning: Do not remove the cooling system pressure cap to check the coolant level when the engine is warm! The level in the reservoir varies with the temperature of the engine. When the engine is cold, the coolant level should be slightly above the ADD mark on the reservoir. Once the engine has warmed up, the level should be at or near the FULL HOT mark. If it isn’t, allow the engine to cool, then remove the cap from the tank and add a 50/50 mixture of ethylene glycol based antifreeze and water
3 Drive the vehicle and recheck the coolant level. If only a small amount of coolant is required to bring the system up to the proper level, water can be used. However, repeated additions of water will dilute the antifreeze and water solution. In order to maintain the proper ratio of antifreeze and water, always top up the coolant level with the correct mixture. Don’t use rust inhibitors or additives. An empty plastic milk jug or bleach bottle makes an excellent container for mixing coolant
4 If the coolant level drops consistently, there may be a leak in the system. Inspect the radiator, hoses, filler cap, drain plugs and water pump. If no leaks are noted, have the pressure cap pressure tested
5 If you have to remove the pressure cap, wait until the engine has cooled completely, then wrap a thick cloth around the cap and turn it to the first stop. If coolant or steam escapes, or if you hear a hissing noise, let the engine cool down longer, then remove the cap
6 Check the condition of the coolant as well. It should be relatively clear. If it’s brown or rust-colored, the system should be drained, flushed and refilled. Even if the coolant appears to be normal, the corrosion inhibitors wear out, so it must be replaced at the specified intervals

Windshield and rear window washer fluid

1 The fluid for the windshield and rear window washer system is stored in a plastic reservoir. The reservoir level should be maintained about one inch (25mm) below the filler cap. The reservoir is accessible after opening the hood and is located behind the right (passenger’s) side of the engine compartment, under the cowl grille screen (see below) .
2 Flip up the cap to add washer fluid
3 In milder climates, plain water can be used in the reservoir, but it should be kept no more than two-thirds full to allow for expansion if the water freezes. In colder climates, use windshield washer system antifreeze, available at any auto parts store, to lower the freezing point of the fluid. Mix the antifreeze with water in accordance with the manufacturer’s directions on the container. Caution: DO NOT use cooling system antifreeze - it will damage the vehicle’s paint. To help prevent icing in cold weather, warm the windshield with the defroster before using the washer

Brake and clutch fluid

1 The brake fluid reservoir is located on top of the brake master cylinder on the driver’s side of the engine compartment near the firewall. The clutch fluid reservoir is mounted on the firewall, next to the brake master cylinder
2 Brake fluid level, indicated on the translucent white plastic brake fluid reservoir, should be kept at the upper (FULL) mark
3 If additional fluid is necessary to bring the level up, use a rag to clean all dirt off the top of the reservoir to prevent contamination of the system. Also, make sure all painted surfaces around the reservoir are covered, since brake fluid will ruin paint. Carefully pour new, clean brake fluid obtained from a sealed container into the reservoir. Be sure the specified fluid is used; mixing different types of brake fluid can cause damage to the system. See Recommended lubricants and fluids below or your owner’s manual
4 At this time the fluid and the master cylinder should be inspected for contamination. Normally the brake hydraulic system won’t need periodic draining and refilling, but if rust deposits, dirt particles or water droplets are observed in the fluid, the system should be dismantled, cleaned and refilled with fresh fluid. Over time brake fluid will absorb moisture from the air. Moisture in the fluid lowers the fluid boiling point; if the fluid boils, the brakes will become ineffective. Normal brake fluid is clear in color. If the brake fluid is dark brown in color, it’s a good idea to replace it
5 Reinstall the fluid reservoir cap
6 The brake fluid in the master cylinder will drop slightly as the brake lining material at each wheel wears down during normal operation. If the master cylinder requires repeated replenishing to maintain the correct level, there is a leak in the brake system that should be corrected immediately. Check all brake lines and connections, along with the calipers (disc brakes), wheel cylinders (drum brakes) and power brake booster
7 If you discover that the reservoir is empty or nearly empty, the system should be thoroughly inspected

Recommended lubricants and fluids

Engine oil
  Type API “Certified for gasoline engines”
  Viscosity See accompanying chart
Brake and clutch fluid DOT type 3 brake fluid
Engine coolant 50/50 mixture of Mopar 5 year/100,000 mile Formula (MS-9769) antifreeze/coolant with HOAT (Hybrid Organic Additive Technology) and water*
*These vehicles are filled with a 50/50 mixture of Mopar 5 year/100,000 mile coolant that shouldn’t be mixed with other coolants. Refer to the coolant reservoir label under the hood to determine what type coolant you have. Always refill with the correct coolant.


Engine oil (including filter)
  2.0L engine 4.5 quarts (4.3 liters)
  2.4L engine 5.0 quarts (4.8 liters)
Cooling system***
  2002 and earlier models 7.4 quarts (7.0 liters)
  2003 and later models 6.5 quarts (6.2 liters)
17.23a Recommended engine oil viscosity
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