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:
- 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
-Timing belt on an interference engine...why...seriously....
-Odd electrical bugs here and there
-Cheap plastic on the doors rattle with the radio turned up
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.
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 bought a '99 Jxi in '02 with the idea of parking it in the winter. By Feb '03, my "winter" car crapped out so I started driving the Jxi year-round and 8 years later I still haven't stopped. I bought winter tires for it. They go on in November and off in March. So far, it has been running great. I put the top down as much as possible living in Edmonton, Canada and that adds up to maybe 100 times a year (May to September is great weather-warm and dry). 285,000km (178,000 miles). In 9 years, I've changed the timing belt, a few sensors, couple of headlights, a windshield and a ball-joint once. It has always handled great. I average about 9 litres/100km (26 mpg u.s.) but I'm a speed demon.
My first Sebring was the convertible Custom.
Loved that car.
bought it with only 20,000 miles on it.
My husband and I took long trips with it and I can honestly say that when my husband left me for my best friend;
I wasn't thinking too9 clearly.
I totaled it.
That car SAVED my life.
When it came time to get another car I immediately went in search for another one.
I found one that had been maintained.
It has 157,000 miles on it and many of the things that were someone else s were already done.
It gets 35 mpg on the highway and mid twenties city.
It does have electrical problems, but there tolerable.
Trunk can decapitate you, and I need new struts.
She does leak fluids at times.