RIP My Chrysler Sebring Convertible

Drove it off the lot: September 22nd 1998
Drove it to the junk yard: April 20th 2012

Aged 13 years, 6 months, 30 days. 135,840 miles.

Man, I loved that car!

The day D and I brought the car home, September 22nd, 1998!

As part of the CAP program, the state of California bought the car for $1,500. I think the program exists because the state “feels bad” that their emissions standards are so high that they’ll buy cars that run OK but don’t pass smog test. Actually they have money for two related programs, one where they’ll take any car, and one where the car fails smog. This year (like most years) the “regular” program ran out of money but the “fails smog” program still had money.

At Burning Man 2005

The Check Engine light on my car kept coming on, giving a code of “random misfire”. 2 mechanics and $1,400 couldn’t fix it, and I really needed to sell the car since I’m tightening my belt and going back to school. So…

1998 CHRYSLER SEBRING JX Convertible, bright red
VIN: 3C3EL45H9WT315270
V6 2.5 liter
AC, power windows, power locks, cruise control, power steering, tilt wheel steering, powered driver’s seat, nice aftermarket Pioneer DEH-P6700MP stereo & Premium Sound System, powered soft top convertible roof

Other extras

Just before the drive to the junk yard, parked at Megan's in Kensington.

alloy wheels, dual air bags, automatic transmission, double wishbone independent suspension, full size spare tire, intermittent wipers, tachometer, reading lights, vanity mirror & light, anti-lock brakes, keyless entry, powered side mirrors, original owner, no accidents, complete maintenance records

Parked just down the hill from the continental divide, moving to California. At this peak, water rolls west the the Pacific and east to the Atlantic.

Issues with the car:
* Check engine light
* Fuel gauge doesn’t register properly below 1/4 tank
* fan only works on high or off
* due for a new timing belt soon
* Oil pressure light sometimes comes on, revving engine slightly fixes. One guess is the Oil Pressure Sending Unit
* cloth top is worn
* when filling gas tank, fuel stops before tank is full. A new gas tank vapor check valve is needed
* some scratches in the paint
* electric rear window defroster not functioning
* needs alignment
* brake rotors are worn
* wheels need balancing
* previous owner loves it very much

Single owner. I’ve got all the repair and oil change receipts.

What a convertible is made for! Cruising Yosemite, winter 2011-12.


  1. U still have(had) that?

  2. lee says:

    That car was a part of my life for a long while! It’s been to the Jersey shore several times, Vermont, big trips, little trips. I loved the sound of it, the feel, it’s quirks, everything. Americans might have a love affair with the car, but I had a love affair with that car.

  3. Sadness. I loved that car, too!

  4. Jesse says:

    Mr. Sanko, I thought you lived in Union New Jersey.

  5. marnia says:

    sorry Lee

  6. lee says:

    Thanks Marnia!

    Charlotte, let’s cry a virtual tear together!

    And Jesse… umm… nope.

  7. jesse says:

    I have had several of these cars and loved them all. The best one was a 98 JXI, burgundy like yours, with black leather and top. It had 205k miles on it and drove like a dream. Smoothest car I have ever drove. Black leather was hotter than @#$/! I carried a couple of towels around to sit on it was so bad. The only way to cool it down was to put the top down. I have a white 98 JXI now, 88k miles, looks like new, 4 cylinder, 28 mpg. Runs great but not as good as the V6 models. Wonderful cars, it’s a shame you had to retire it.

  8. lee says:

    Ya know, it was probably playa dust that killed her. Playa dust is well known to slowly eat electronics and it was the failing electrical system that did her in.

Leave a Comment

Do not write "http://" or "https://" in your comment, it will be blocked. It may take a few days for me to manually approve your first comment.