I bought my 99 Sebring JX in Aug,1998, Basically just routine maintenance first 90,000 mi. Oil every 3-4,000, tires every 30-40,000, battery every 5 yrs, replaced top after 13 yrs. alternator,spark plugs, and belts,including timing belt at around 90,000. Was starting to need new paint after 15 yrs,110,000 mi. clearcoat peeling & fading. Then my son had a Ford Excursion back over him, bending front radiator support et all & pinching/twisting front sub frame, so off to the Junkyard. I loved that car, fun to toss around, like a 4 passenger go cart. It's not a Porsche, or a Jaguar, but it doesn't have the Initial buy in or upkeep cost either. Absolutely marvelous for a top down cruise along the coast, just don't forget to rub the sunscreen onto your scalp. I averaged around 26 mpg all around forever, but then I like to take all the ponies out for a romp at every opportunity! I'm currently looking for a replacement. It has to be a 97-2000 Sebring, I havent seen anything else that looks so right, and still seats 4 in comfort, top up or down.
I picked up my Jxi a few months ago for a mere $1400. The engine had 165k miles on it, but I was baffled at how well it was taken care of. This is now a 15 year old car, and I'm amazed at how many looks and compliments you get in it. I drive quite a lot, and have put a good amount of mileage on it already as it's currently @ 176k. Haven't had any major issues with it so far. As others have said, there's odd little electrical problems that pop up, but nothing too serious. The dash lights work when they want to, as do the mirror/dome light. Blower motor works on high speed only (this is an easy fix, though). The trunk lid hydraulic lifters also fail, so watch your head when you open it.
Updated 4-5-2016 (Edmunds sent me an email asking for an update on this review).
I do still have this car, and drive it every so often. I did run into some issues shortly after my initial review. Oil leaks were (and still are) one of my main issues. The valve cover gaskets failed, and it took the distributor/rotor/cam sensor assembly, and camshaft sensor with it. Oil seeped past the gaskets and ruined the components. I can't fault the gaskets for failing, because it can happen; especially on an older car with this many miles. What I can fault is the engineering of the engine itself, and how horrible they made it to work on. The engine bay is very cramped, and there's little room to work with. The craziest thing is having to remove the intake manifold just to access the rear 3 spark plugs. I've never seen such a crazy setup.
Anyway... Getting the aforementioned parts changed out was a major pain in the rear. The valve cover gaskets were caked into the covers, and I spent hours digging them out, and trying my best not to bend the delicate covers (it's a very thin metal, and any warps in it will cause leaks). The distributor, rotor, and cam sensor are in one assembly, and it was very difficult to remove it. Also, since all three of these components are in one big chunk, it's an expensive part, and these engines are very picky about which ones you put in. You take a big risk putting a re-manufactured assembly in, and they have a high fail percentage if you do. Many Chrysler forums recommend you buy an OEM or new one. Same applies for the crankshaft sensor.
Even after repairing the leaks there, I still have odd oil spots on the driveway. These cars are prone to oil leaks, and you can read around about it.
Still, I'm satisfied with purchasing the car. It's been a very fun little car to take out on the weekend with the family.
UPDATED: 10-18-16 (Edmunds sent me yet another email asking for an update)
Currently my sebring is not doing so well. I started noticing a serious transmission fluid puddle under the car. I assumed perhaps the pan gasket was bad, and I had my mechanic friend look at it. He called me back soon after and told me to "come down and take a look at it"... never a good sign. He had it up on a lift and rotated the front wheels back and forth. Both driver and passenger axles were loose and rattling around in the differential casing, and fluid was leaking past them. He didn't fully diagnose it, but told me it was likely serious and possibly required a new transmission. Not being able to afford such a repair, I limped it back home and started tearing apart under the engine. Pulling the inspection cover off, it looked like the differential bearings went bad, caused play in the drive axles, and ruined the seals, causing the leak. I'm still in the process of fixing this, and hope to have it back up before winter. Hopefully I won't have to replace the transmission...
This has turned into a massive review, but it's the culmination of two requested updates, and me wanting others to know what you might be getting into. One last thing I'm going to mention: This engine is an "interference engine" design. If you're unfamiliar with what that is, basically it means if the timing belt breaks, the engine is completely ruined. I did not know this until after I purchased the car, and I want others to know this beforehand. Every car has a timing belt, or chain. Chains are more reliable and rarely break or cause issue. Belts however, go bad and need to be changed after so many miles/years. It's another bad design, and expensive to service.
Breaking it down to pros/cons:
PROS: - It's a convertible... -Still a nice looking car 17 years later -If you find a loaded Sebring with the Infinity radio system, it's really good -Very spacious seating -No seriously, it's back seat leg room is more than my Buick sedan... how is that possible?? -Pretty sharp handling for a larger sized vehicle -The Auto-stick feature is fun, and gives you more control of the gears
I purchased this car 6 months ago for only $900. I have driven this car daily since the purchase. 2 weeks after purchasing it, the transmission went into limp mode. I spent $300 purchasing a used transmission and another 300 to have it put in. I have not had any problems since then. There are other mechanical things that I need to fix, but these are things that were wrong with the car when I first purchased it. This car is amazing. I have not had a car that has been as economical, fun to drive, and reliable as this has been. The two mechanical problems that I spoke of earlier are the lower control arms for both driver and passenger side. There are no other problems with this car.
The top, the sound system, and the compliments that you get when you drive this car.
For a car that has 150,000 miles, faded paint job, and being 15 years old, that says a lot!!!
Absolutely nothing. I cannot wait to fully restore this car and put it back to brand new.
I bought a JXI in 2008 and it has run beautifully in all sorts of weather. No snow, I live in the Sunbelt. Can cruise at better than 75 mph and still get over 30 mpg. For those that have problems with their dash lights, gauges, etc. I solved it easily by waiting for to warning bells to go off before cranking the starter. A few extra seconds and never had the problem again. Yes, I had to replace the trunk lift shocks, rear window motor, struts & bushings but for a 15 yr. old car I shouldn't complain. The car has beautiful styling and the original paint is as NEW!
Feels the road well and steering is tight and responsive.
Stereo amp under front passenger seat a poor choice for location.
Compared to the other cars that you could get for the same price with a convertible top and all the features this car comes with, its almost unbeatable...almost. Unless you can do your own work or have a second car to drive while your Chrysler Sebring is in the shop, I would recommend looking around before you buy this car. This is an unreliable car and will need serviced more then you may like. The good side of that is replacement parts are cheap and easy to find. For the people that do their own work, you may need to try a few times to be able to get to where you need to be. Considering the front wheel drive, the engine compartment is very cramped. I still enjoyed my Sebring.
We'll start at the optional features. For a 1999, this car is very nicely loaded. Much better, in fact, then my mothers 2005 Chevrolet Equinox. But that's a different segment. The JXI comes with the 2.5L V6 that makes about 168 horsepower and about 170 ft-lbs or torque. Not too bad, but when it has to haul around 3300 lbs, your left wishing Chrysler would have made the whole car out of fiberglass, not just the trunk and hood. It also has a very clunky 4-speed automatic transmission with overdrive, that seems to find the right gear, most of the time. The features like the convertible top and Infinity sound system make the drive as fun as it can get in this car.
For as heavy as this car is, it needs more power to compete with the other cars in its price range. The biggest problem is, well, the problems. So far on mine, I have replaced the thermostat and the radiator cap to solve an overheating problem, the battery temperature sensor to fix the service engine and battery lights, I had to replace the muffler, and my ABS doesn't work, which I haven't been able to solve yet. The brakes do work well, but the brake pedal is quite spongy and almost goes to the floor without routinely bleeding the brakes. Maybe the biggest problem was when the engine mounts broke. The engine fell and broke my CV joint. It was a hard to diagnose and costly fix.