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Richard, Chrysler Technician
Category: Chrysler
Satisfied Customers: 4139
Experience:  Over 24 years of experience as lead tech and shop foreman.
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2002 PT cruiser: restarts..My indicator lights shuts

Customer Question

My 2002 PT cruiser has recently started shutting off while driving. I t restarts fine... but it causes a concern for me since it will do this at any given time. My indicator lights go haywire right before the car shuts off. I also had noticed that my fog lights will turn on by themselves with the fog light switch completely turned off. What could be causing this?? and how much is it to fix this kind of issue?
i just bought the car back in Oct 2008. currently has 80, 000 miles.
Submitted: 7 years ago via
Category: Chrysler
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Hi there! Is your check engine light on or has it been on?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
no. No check engine light on. =(

im so scared this is gonna cost me an arm and a leg to fix..
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Did the fog light problem start at the same time because I do not believe they are related? Don't worry to much, I will try to help you as much as possible to get this fixed.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
the fog light issue began a few days after the shut off problem started.

Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Could I get you to turn the key all the way on,off,on,off,on and watch the odometer to see if there is a code like Pxxxx and let me know, thanks
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok.. it reads
P 1684

Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
That code says battery was disconnected. Have you had it anywhere lately for service and maybe they disconnected the battery?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
battery? really? well.. no.. not lately. I took it in perhaps a few months ago and had the battery replaced altogether because the battery was totally shot and had corrosion and leakage... but havent had any issues until now.

I mean.. if the battery was disconnected.. how could my car run at all?

im so confused. what do you reccomend i do?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
This should have nothing to do with you problems, I was just looking for additional info that might help me determine what is going on. I will do some research in the wiring and I will be back to you shortly, thanks
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i just want to say thanks for helping me out with this.. and to better understand whats going on with my car. I just want to be as informed as i possibly can before i take it in somehwere... I have found that alot of mechanics see a young girl like myself.. and try to BS ... or rip people off....

anyway.. thanks so much again.. and i look forward to hearing from you in regards to my question.

.. ps...
why do u think that code was being given?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

code was caused by the transmission control module losing battery power. This code will stay in memory for a long time, so it would likely be from the battery replacement!

I have 1 more question, when you say the indicator lights go haywire, what is going on with them and which ones are coming on. Do the gauges drop off?

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
well.... the indicator lights ( check engine.. oil.. battery, ABS ) well they all start flickering at the same time.. sometimes its all of em .. sometimes its only one... or 2.... i get the ding ding ding noises from the indictaor lights... then .. cars off.

then the car shuts off.. steering wheel feels like it locks.. cant turn ...

when you ask if the gauges drop off.. as in do they flicker or something?

i honestly cant recall if they have.
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Could I get your vin?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Have you smelled something burning in your car, like the smell of burning pastic?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i thought i did last night when i got home... but wasnt sure. didnt notice the same smell today though. why?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
I think you might have a problem with your steering column wiring. Your problems with your stalling, cluster lights and fog lights could be related to a problem with your wiring harness that runs up the column. I am thinking maybe some wiring might be getting hot and melting or burning. I would get someone to take the steering column shrouds of the steering column to inspect the wiring for signs of heat damage. I have seen 1 case where the fog light wires melted and caused a few other issues but I am not sure this is causing your problem. I would get someone to check this first and let me know, thanks!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
i had someone check the steering wheel column yesterday. Didnt see any visible signs of any problems...
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Did they pull the shrouds off to see the wiring?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.

I think you are going to have to get the entire system checked for fault codes and let me know all the numbers. We need to find out if there are any bus communication fault codes. I am suspecting now that your instrument cluster has an internal intermittent failure causing it to take down the bus communication system. Could you get these code/codes to me? Thanks!

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
how do i get the codes?

would you suggest i take the car into a dealership and have it checked diagnostically?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
Your best bet would be taking it to a dealer so they can check ALL the modules for fault codes and let me know what they are. Ask them to write them down for you!
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
will they do it for me? do u know if they charge for a diagnostic test?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
They will charge for this test! You could phone and get a price on how much to check. Then after the check ask the mechanic, not the service advisors what he thinks the problem is and what will be required to fix it.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
thank you so much.... i wont be able to take the car into the dealer until Sunday. I will get back to you with the codes...

thank you =)

Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
You are very welcome, I am sorry I could not do more but with the complexity of the systems these days it is hard to diagnose without using a scanner and testing the circuits. Good luck with the dealer, thanks!
Richard and 6 other Chrysler Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
do u by chance know the average cost of one of these tests from the dealer?
Expert:  Richard replied 7 years ago.
They usually charge 1 hour so it depends on their door rate, thanksSmile