The Dodge Stratus was a very impressive mid-sized 4-door sedan that came out in 1995. It almost immediately made an impression by placing on Car and Driver's "Ten Best" list in the two years after its release. Looks and performance-wise, it was well received by critics and consumers alike. In a way, one could confidently say that America had finally come up with a car that could at least stand up to the dominance of Japanese-made counterparts. Over its nearly decade-long run, the Stratus sold well, and truly pleased lucky owners all over the country. Every car-however great-is rarely ever perfect, and the Dodge Stratus is no exception. These are the most common problems that drivers have encountered with the Stratus over the years-it pays to be informed:
Leaks are not too rare an occurrence when it comes to cars-there's bound to be one or a few across the lifetime of your ride. The 1996 Dodge Stratus takes it one further with a leak that begins almost as immediately as it comes out-giving drivers an old-car feel with what's supposed to be a brand new release. Worse, in some instances, this leak from the engine has ignited and caused a fire within the engine compartment.
A recall order was issued for over 40,000 units of the Dodge Stratus in the same year that it was released. Drivers are advised to check if their unit is affected by the recall order as the problem is very serious. Failing that, it would be wise to have the dealer check out the leak, its source, and do a replacement before something more serious or life-threatening happens.
This problem was observed in the 2002 model of the Dodge Stratus. It normally begins with an irritatingly loud noise-particularly when the car is in gear. When left unattended, it reaches a point where the gears absolutely refuse to engage, stranding drivers wherever the failure occurs-normally along the road. Commonly, the problem is tied to the transmission pump failing. So far, no accidents have been caused by the failure.
No recall orders were issued. Once drivers start to notice the loud noise coming from the transmission box, they should immediately bring it to the dealer or a repair shop to have it checked out before the entire transmission simply fails altogether.
While the general trend in most international automobile manufacturing sees vehicles sourced out to Asia, the Dodge Stratus is one of the few that is sourced out to Russia. The production facilities-located in Nizhny Novgorod-are owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska. If you went to Russia, you'd have a hard time finding a "Stratus", though-they're rebranded as the "Siber".
The Dodge Stratus is one among three of the so-called "cloud cars". These were automobiles bearing the name of different cloud formations. The name choice isn't purely accidental or coincidental. Dodge purposely chose the name because stratus clouds are very consistent and uniform in appearance-there's a bit of fun in there too. Stratus clouds are clouds that promise rain-harkening at the car's great potential.
If you go to Europe, you'll find another Stratus being driven about-but this one is made by Chrysler. Now, before you cry foul, that's because Dodge has long been a subsidiary of Chrysler. What's the reason for the different names? The answer is brand recognition. Dodge is simply more widely accepted in the American market; Chrysler in the European market.
If you're a big fan of police procedurals, then the Dodge Stratus is for you. In the first few seasons of NCIS the Dodge Stratus was Gibb's ride of choice up until it was replaced by the Charger, also from Dodge. The Stratus figured in a little goof where it "magically" morphs into a Charger in between shots-clearly, the producers simply reused some old footage!
The Dodge Stratus was the last in the line of Dodge-branded cars to sell a coupe version. When it's successor-the mid-sized Dodge Avenger-was announced and released in 2005, it no longer carried a coupe-version. This trend would continue on into Dodge's future-the focus ultimately shifting to sedans.
A quick way to differentiate later-model Dodge Stratuses was to look at the doors. The 2002 models and up ultimately dropped the "Dodge" badge that used to prominently feature on the doors. While on the topic of badges, the R/T versions of the Stratus carried a prominent "Turbo" badge in the rear.