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I am seriously considering to purchase a 2001-04 PTC. For reasonable assurance of down-the-road reliability, what should I look for when buying the car? Thanks.
 

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Lower control arm bushings, front wheel bearings, and timing belt.
 
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Welcome to Allpar. Lower control arm bushings have been common, like every 35K-40K miles? Some climates and driving conditions have worse luck than others.
Wheel bearings may once or twice in a lifetime. If a car is eating wheel bearings consistently, there may be a missing or broken ground strap from the body to the front struts.
Timing belt/water pump/idler pulley is every 100K maintenance.
The Watt's link in the rear can wear ~ every 40K-50K also.
Like any used (10 year old) car, you will need to put some maintenance into the vehicle. Drive it for unusual noises or sensations. Follow the recommended maintenance schedules in the owners manual. When faced with a vehicle with an unknown past, change all fluids and go over it with a fine, tooth comb. They generally hold up well and are useful, practical, comfortable, fairly economical every day vehicles.
 

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Thank you for your advice. I will make a note of them. I have done numerous repairs on my cars over the years. Never owned a Mopar product though. GM & Ford. The timing belt replacement...what is the level of difficulty?
 

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I can't speaki to the timing belt issue, but you can solve the control arm bushing problem once and for all by using urethane bushings which last but may make the ride a little harsher than the soft rubber used by the factory. Same also likely applies to the soft rubber motor mounts, urethane lasts longer but may transmit more engine vibrations.
 

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My suggesttion is to thourghly check each and every electrical item in the car. Including the battery cables which can even produce very erratic service codes. Check the service codes-turn ignition on & off quickly.

You might relate what the mileage is for further suggestions.
 
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