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Unreliable Cars to Avoid: Chrysler 200

BY: Larry Witherspoon Jr.
A man had a car breakdown and calling roadside assistance

Car ownership is a significant investment and reliability should be a cornerstone when considering purchasing a vehicle. After all, when your car becomes a permanent fixture at a repair shop, it transforms from a symbol of freedom on the road to a financial burden and source of stress.

No vehicle manufacturer is perfect, and over the years, a number of vehicles have become notable for their flaws and unreliability. The Chrysler 200 midsize sedan, in particular, has had a string of issues across model years that should make any driver think twice before purchasing.

4 Factors That Influence Vehicle Reliability

Before diving into some of the specific details of why the Chrysler 200 has become known as a relatively unreliable vehicle, let’s look briefly at the general factors that can influence a vehicle’s reliability. These bad factors are most often:

  1. Manufacturer Reputation: There’s a reason the largest names in the automotive world have been around for as long as they have. Cars manufactured by Jeep, Dodge, Ford, Toyota, Honda, Ram, and other large brands are typically built stronger and better than others.
  2. Model Year and Generation: Every generation of vehicles, as well as model years to a smaller degree, utilize different technology and parts under the hood. If there’s an underlying issue with the manufacturing of a generation of vehicles, it may be a couple of years before the ratings begin to improve.
  3. Proper Maintenance (or lack thereof): Regular servicing and preventative maintenance go a long way in preventing problems under the hood, but you also don’t want to need to spend all your time in a shop. The right balance of necessary maintenance is crucial to a reliability rating.
  4. Consumer Reports: Finally, reports stemming from organizations such as Consumer Reports are invaluable. These sources aggregate information across different vehicle makes and models in order to come up with fair descriptions and ratings based on the reviews of your peers.

Chrysler Recall History and Consumer Feedback

While Chrysler may be a well-known brand among others, such as Nissan and Hyundai, they unfortunately have a less than stellar rating. Consumer Reports routinely ranked them below average compared to other manufacturers. Other sites, such as RepairPal, give them a rating of around 3.5 stars out of 5, which is below industry standard.

This lackluster performance is reflected in numerous vehicle complaints lodged specifically for the Chrysler 200 AWD, generally for certain model years. Any quick Internet search will reveal a litany of frustrations, suggesting potential trouble for unsuspecting buyers.

Chrysler 200 Mechanical Issues and Recalls

Understanding why Chrysler has received less than stellar ratings in the past, specifically with the Chrysler 200, involves looking at the specific issues that have been reported historically:

  • Transmission Issues: Unfortunately for drivers on the road, the 9-speed automatic transmission in some Chrysler 200 models has been a major source of complaints over the years. Owners have reported a wide variety of transmission problems ranging from rough shifting, hesitation during acceleration, and even complete transmission failure. While there have been some recalls issued for some models addressing these issues, problems still persist for others.
  • Engine Concerns: Excessive oil consumption is a well-documented issue with certain Chrysler 200 engines. Most notably, the 2.4L Tigershark engine used in the 2015 and 2016 models has been a source of complaints. This means that you will be forced to top up on oil more frequently than usual, or it can cause stalling, which can add an extra layer of maintenance and lead to engine damage.
  • Electrical Problems: One of the other most common problems under the hood of a Chrysler 200 is with the electrical system. Malfunctioning instrument panels like false warning lights, caused by electrical issues, have been reported and can leave you with unclear information on vital components such as fuel or speed.

In addition to all of the above general problems, there have been six major recalls of the Chrysler 200, covering model years from 2011 to 2015.

The Role of Extended Warranties in Managing Reliable Vehicle Concerns

Extended warranties, also called vehicle service contracts, can offer some peace of mind to you when considering the reliability record of a vehicle such as the Chrysler 200. After all, the biggest potential drawback of purchasing such a car is the possibility of being in and out of repair shops for the entire length of time you have the vehicle. While this can eat up a lot of your time on a daily basis, it can also leave a gaping hole in your wallet where money used to be.

An extended car warranty is essentially a financial safeguard for your vehicle that you can purchase either in conjunction with the manufacturer’s warranty or after that warranty expires. Extended warranties are offered by third-party organizations, such as Endurance, and occasionally dealerships that provide coverage for manufacturer defects that lead to mechanical breakdowns. These warranty plans will vary in their coverage, with some only protecting the most crucial components, whereas others are near bumper-to-bumper coverage.

You pay for the plan on a monthly or yearly basis, depending on the contract terms, and any applicable mechanical defect will be partially or fully covered by your contract. To ensure you get the most out of an extended warranty contract, though, use the following tips when looking at your options:

  1. Read the Fine Print: An extended warranty contract will outline key terms in the contract, including what is and isn’t covered. It’s important to review this contract so that you don’t accidentally think something on your Chrysler 200 is covered only to find out that it is not. Review the terms and conditions ahead of purchasing an extended warranty contract.
  2. Weigh the Cost vs. Benefit: Car insurance is mandatory in most states across the country, but an extended warranty is not. This means you need to weigh the cost of each contact option you’re considering, as well as the benefits that offset that cost, before making your purchase decision.

How to Research and Avoid Potentially Unreliable Vehicles

Even for those who have peace of mind on the road by utilizing an extended warranty, one thing the contract can’t solve is the time commitment of needing to take your vehicle to be fixed. This is why drivers with even the best warranty contracts should still take the time to learn how to research and avoid known unreliable vehicles. The first step in figuring out whether or not a vehicle is reliable is to look at resources such as Consumer Reports, J.D. Power, Kelley Blue Book, and more.

The resources above compile and analyze reliability data on your behalf across different car models and manufacturers, making them a powerful resource for you. Additionally, check the National High Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) website for any recent recalls. Be sure to look for patterns, such as multiple recalls for the same vehicle or a specific brand.

Another quick tip that can be helpful when considering purchasing a vehicle is requesting a vehicle history report. This will reveal a wealth of information about any used car’s past, including accident history, odometer rollbacks, any major repairs, and the ownership history. On that same line of thinking, it’s worth considering looking at certified pre-owned vehicles when shopping for used cars. These can offer peace of mind given that they typically command a premium as compared to standard used cars.

Finally, schedule a pre-inspection for any vehicle you are considering purchasing. This can allow you to identify any problems with the vehicle before you actually purchase it. Additionally, if you take the vehicle for a test drive (which you always should), it could reveal issues with the engine, transmission, suspension, or other components.

Exploring Your Options with Endurance

While the Chrysler 200 may seem like an attractive option for a potential buyer due to its features or price point, its reliability record should give you pause. Rather than making a risky choice, opt to prioritize reliability by conducting thorough research on the vehicle you’re looking at and considering all the factors involved. By doing this, you can make an informed decision that puts you behind the wheel of a dependable car that will serve you well for years to come.

If you are already driving a Chrysler 200 or if you own another vehicle that is simply giving you a headache monetarily due to repairs, consider an extended warranty. A vehicle service contract from Endurance, in particular, can give you peace of mind on the road while also protecting you from costly repair bills. For example, our Supreme auto protection plan is the most comprehensive coverage available and offers near-manufacture-level protection for components such as the engine, transmission, fuel system, electronics, and more.

In addition, all Endurance contracts come with 24/7 roadside assistance (with towing, fuel delivery, and lockout services), rental car coverage, and trip interruption reimbursement. For a small activation fee, you can also take advantage of our Elite Benefits package, which offers added perks such as reimbursements for up to four tires per year due to road hazards, up to $500 in collision discount coverage, key fob replacement, and more.

Give our award-winning customer service team a call at (800) 253-8203 as soon as possible to request a FREE quote, or shop online to see your price right away.

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