Mitsubishi Eclipse 4th Generation (DK2A/DK4A) 2006-2012 Review

Everything You Need To Know Before Buying A Used Eclipse 4th Gen

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4th Gen Eclipse : What Owners Say

  • The V6 offers satisfying punch, sounds great, and handling is good within the limitations of front-wheel drive
  • Owners find that the Eclipse coupe is a practical two-up tourer with excellent comfort levels up front, surprisingly ample cargo space, a very good audio system, and a pliant ride
  • Despite not being a true driver's car, the Eclipse is appreciated for its relative simplicity, traditional and reliable running gear, and old-school analog driving experience
  • Enthusiasts dismiss the Eclipse for its FWD driving characteristics and 3,500-pound weight and for lacking the thoroughbred handling of RWD rivals
  • Owners find that the powerful V6's plentiful torque steer makes it a bit of hard work when driven with vigor
  • The Eclipse's rear seat is cramped and unsuitable for adults and the Spyder's trunk is tiny

Fourth Generation Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe Facelift

The 4th-gen Eclipse coupe and Spyder received their only facelift for the 2009 model year.

2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Front Changes CarBuzz
2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Front Changes

A new front bumper1 and grille2 make an appearance, with the previous triangular body-color vertical bar with the Mitsubishi logo on it in the middle of the grille disappearing and the logo now just mounted in the center of a continuous black grille opening. The lower valance loses the round foglight housings and these are replaced with squared-off slots3, while the lower bumper gets a subtle full-width lip spoiler on the 2.4. On the GT, the center bumper bar is blacked out, and the dark treatment extends all the way down to just above the lip spoiler, creating the impression of a big black front grille.

2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Rear Changes CarBuzz
2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Rear Changes

The bulbous old monochrome body-color rear bumper is replaced with a more aggressively styled item with a strong horizontal crease below1 the bigger numberplate holder2. A blacked-out lower section is used on the V6, but it remains body color on the four-cylinder3. The 2009 V6 also clearly shows off its new dual exhausts4.

2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Side Changes CarBuzz
2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Side Changes

The new front1 and rear bumpers2 can easily be spotted in profile, along with some new wheel styles3, but otherwise, there are no differences.

2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Interior Changes CarBuzz
2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Facelift Interior Changes

The interior design and layout remain unchanged throughout the Eclipse's lifetime.

Engine, Transmission and Drivetrain

Two engines and four transmissions were offered from the outset with hardly any changes to them throughout the Eclipse's seven-year production run. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 162 hp and does not really do the Eclipse's sports-car aspirations any favors, especially mated to the old-fashioned four-speed automatic transmission. The five-speed manual is better. Mitsubishi tries to make up for it by providing a sequential-shift manual mode to the automatic transmission. The fact that the Eclipse is front-wheel drive precludes it from the company of the proper sports coupes in the eyes of most enthusiasts.

The V6 is a lot more powerful, with at least 263 hp on tap and its transmissions are either a five-speed automatic or six-speed manual. The Spyder gets all the same options initially, but both the manual transmissions are dropped from its roster from the 2010 model year. In 2011, the coupe loses its V6 six-speed manual model, too, and the base 2.4 coupe remains the only model in the range with a (five-speed) manual option.

2.4L Inline-4 Gas 4G69 SOHC
162 hp | 162 lb-ft
162 hp
162 lb-ft
Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic

The naturally aspirated 4G69 2.4-liter inline-four engine has a cast-iron engine block, a cast crankshaft, forged connecting rods, and four valves per cylinder - this is actuated by a single overhead camshaft driven by a rubber timing belt. It is a development of the famous Mitsubishi Sirius engine from the 1970s. The iteration used in the 4th-generation Eclipse is one of the last before it went out of production in 2013, featuring the automaker's MIVEC variable valve-timing system. It is mated to either a five-speed manual or F4A4B four-speed automatic transmission in both coupe and Spyder models, driving the rear wheels. From the 2010 model year, the manual Spyder with this engine was dropped. The engine is reliable but more maintenance-intensive than average due to a lack of hydraulic valve lifters and a timing belt that also runs the balancer shafts and water pump.

3.8L V6 Gas 6G75/Cyclone SOHC
263/265 hp | 260/262 lb-ft
263/265 hp
260/262 lb-ft
Six-speed manual or five-speed automatic

Mitsubishi's 6G7 V6 engine was in production from 1986 to 2021, and the 6G75 version used in the 4th-gen Eclipse is a 3.8-liter with single overhead cams and four valves per cylinder. Also called the Cyclone engine, it has a cast-iron engine block, high-pressure cast pistons, and a forged-steel crankshaft and connecting rods. The cams are driven by a rubber timing belt. It drives the rear wheels via a six-speed manual or F4A5B five-speed automatic transmission. In 2010, the manual Spyder with this engine is dropped, and a year later, the manual coupe too. It starts out with 263 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque and is slightly upgraded in 2009 to 265 hp and 262 lb-ft courtesy of a new dual exhaust that also emits a more visceral engine note. In manual guise, the V6 GT can sprint to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. The engine is very durable, and almost all issues can be avoided with frequent oil changes; however, its timing-belt replacements and manually adjusted valve clearances add to the service bill.

2006-2012 Eclipse 4th Generation Real MPG

The old-school, naturally aspirated, large-capacity engines are not as thrifty as modern downsized turbo engines, but this should be seen in context with the engines' relative simplicity and the low purchase price of an old car such as this. In practice, owners seem to improve on the EPA estimates relatively easily, but owners' submissions are only a guideline as to what is possible, as the way these figures are obtained is not controlled by the EPA. The EPA estimates remain the more reliable numbers and, according to them, the manual 2.4 coupe is the most economical of the lot, with a 23-mpg combined figure and 28 mpg possible on the highway. The automatic 3.8 V6 Spyder is the worst with corresponding figures of 19 and 24 mpg. The Eclipse's gas-tank capacity is 17.7 gallons, good for a range of between 336 and 407 miles on the combined cycle.

EPA mpg (city/highway/combined)Real-world combined mpg*
2.4 four-cylinder five-speed manual coupe (2006-2009)20/27/2322.9-25.3
2.4 four-cylinder five-speed manual Spyder (2007-2009)19/26/22N/A
2.4 four-cylinder four-speed automatic coupe (2006-2009)20/28/2321.3-22.1
2.4 four-cylinder four-speed automatic Spyder (2007-2009)20/27/2330.7
3.8 V6 six-speed manual coupe (2006-2009)16/25/1925
3.8 V6 six-speed manual Spyder (2007-2009)16/25/1821.8-24.4
3.8 V6 five-speed automatic coupe (2006-2009)17/25/2021.1
3.8 V6 five-speed automatic Spyder (2007-2009)16/24/1920.6

* Real-world mpg and MPGe figures are provided by the EPA. Once a car has been on sale for a significant period of time, the EPA gets real-world figures directly from the customer base. These figures are then provided on the EPA website. Real-world figures are not available for certain models due to a lack of sales, or not enough people partaking in this after-sales survey.


The 2006 Eclipse comes with all-disc ABS brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, daytime running lights, seatbelt pre-tensioners, six airbags, side-impact door beams, and, on the V6 GT, traction control. Stability control is notably absent, even as an option, on the first three model years. This was addressed in 2008 when the flagship SE-V6 trim received standard stability control; in 2009, the GT also received it as standard. An auto-dimming interior rearview mirror was optional, not standard, so you'll have to check whether this was specified; by 2007, this feature was added as standard to the SE trim and, by extension, it is fitted to the 2008 SE-V6 too. All 2008 models have standard tire-pressure monitoring. By 2010, stability control is finally standardized across the board and a rearview camera becomes optionally available for the first time on the lower trims; it is standard on the GS Sport and GT coupe trims and on all the Spyders for 2010.

The NHTSA never tested the Eclipse, but the IIHS did partial testing of the Spyder only, where it scored "Good" scores for the moderate front-overlap and original side crash tests and "Marginal" for its headrests and seats. General crash safety is about par for the course for a 2006 design.

4th Generation Mitsubishi Eclipse Trims

The 4th-gen Mitsubishi Eclipse DK2A/DK4A lineup comprises two trims, GS and GT. The GS is the base four-cylinder model, and the GT is the sporty V6 with a higher equipment level. The coupes became available as 2006 models and the Spyder soft-top convertible joined the lineup as a 2007 model, mirroring the coupe's trims, as well as a new SE trim that essentially adds the Sun & Sound package to the normal four-cylinder coupe. For 2008, the SE-V6 trim is added above the GT coupe but it's essentially a GT with the Sun & Sound and Premium Sport packages added. Here are a few notable range-wide annual updates:

  • In 2007, the 4th-gen Eclipse Spyder soft-top convertible joins the lineup.
  • In 2008, satellite radio was added to the optional audio-system upgrade, and tire-pressure monitoring became standard across the board.
  • In 2009, a facelift is applied to the lineup.
  • In 2010, the audio system is expanded to include a standard auxiliary audio jack and an optional Bluetooth and an iPod adapter, while a rearview camera is a newly available option (standard on higher trims), as is remote engine start.
  • From 2011, the GT is no longer offered with manual transmission and all coupes get blacked-out roofs.
2006 - 2012
2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four
Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic

Even the base 2006 GS is fairly comprehensively equipped and comes as standard with 17-inch alloy wheels housing ventilated front and solid rear brake discs, remote keyless entry, power door locks, windows, and mirrors, auto-off headlights, a manually tilting steering column, air-conditioning, cruise control, a 50/50-split and folding rear seat, sports front seats, cloth upholstery, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and shift knob, a height-adjustable driver's seat, illuminated sun visor mirrors, and a radio/CD player with six speakers. The Spyder has a power-operated folding soft top that has a glass rear window with defogger, and the nine-speaker premium Rockford Fosgate audio system with speed-compensating volume adjustment, steering-wheel controls, and six-disc CD changer that is optional on the coupe is fitted as standard. In 2010, the manual-transmission Spyder is dropped, and in 2011, the alloy wheels on the GS trim are upgraded to 18 inches. For the last 2012 model year, the Spyder is no longer offered in GS trim.

2006 - 2012
3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6
Six-speed manual or five-speed automatic

The GT gets everything from the GS and/or GS Sport, but replaces the four-cylinder engine with a V6 and additionally adds larger brakes, ventilated rear brake discs, sportier suspension settings, a front strut-tower bar, traction control, front foglights, and an outside-temperature and compass display. The 2008 GT gets as standard the 18-inch alloy wheels that were previously optional. For the 2009 facelift, the GT gains HID xenon headlights, standard stability control, and a larger rear spoiler, and for 2010, a rearview camera. The 2010 GT Spyder gets the contents of the GT Sun & Sound package as standard, the details of which you can see under the SE trim entry. The manual transmission is dropped from the 2010 model year on the GT Spyder and from 2011 in the coupe.

GS Sport
2010 - 2012
2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four
Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic

The GS Sport arrived in 2010 as a cosmetic upgrade package that combines the mechanicals of the four-cylinder GS with the sporty appearance of the V6 GT. It looks just like the V6 from the outside, with the same wheels, xenon headlights, and spoiler, but it also adds as standard the premium Rockford Fosgate audio system, satellite radio, a sunroof, and a rearview camera with its display mounted in the rearview mirror. In 2011, it also gains heated front seats and an electrically adjustable driver's seat.

2007-2008, 2012
2.4-liter naturally aspirated inline-four
Five-speed manual or four-speed automatic

The SE trim debuted in 2007 in four-cylinder format with either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic transmission in the coupe only. We list it as a trim here, but it's only really a GS with the Sun & Sound package and some cosmetic exterior upgrades. Over the GS, it gains leather upholstery and an auto-dimming interior rearview mirror. It also gets the same premium Rockford Fosgate audio system fitted to the 2007 Spyder and the same outside temperature and compass display and firmer suspension fitted to the GT. This model was only available as a separate trim for 2007 and 2008. For the last 2012 model year, the SE trim returns in both coupe and Spyder, and this time, it gets all the equipment from the 2012 GS Sport, in addition to dark-gray alloy wheels, dark-gray graphics on the rocker panels, and black side mirrors.

2008 - 2008
3.8-liter naturally aspirated V6
Six-speed manual or five-speed automatic

With the highest specification level in the lineup, the top-dog SE-V6 was launched as a 2008 model at a price premium of more than $5,000 over the V6 GT. We list it as a trim here, but it's only really a V6 GT with stability control and the Premium Sport package added, which means everything contained in the SE's Sun & Sound package, as well as leather upholstery, heated front seats, an electrically adjustable driver's seat, aluminum pedals, and automatic climate control. This model was only available as a separate trim for 2008.

4th Gen Mitsubishi Eclipse Features

Auxiliary Audio InputSSSSN/A
Back-Up CameraSN/ASSN/A
Bluetooth ConnectionSN/ASSN/A
Climate ControlN/AN/AON/AN/A
Cruise ControlSSSSN/A
Driver Air BagSSSSN/A
Front Head Air BagSSSSN/A
Front Side Air BagSSSSN/A
Heated Front Seat(s)SN/AOSN/A
Keyless EntrySSSSN/A
Passenger Air BagSSSSN/A
Power Driver SeatSN/AOSN/A
Power Mirror(s)SSSSN/A
Premium Sound SystemSOOSN/A
Rear Head Air BagSSSSN/A
Remote Engine StartOOON/AN/A
Remote Trunk ReleaseSSSSN/A
Satellite RadioSOOSN/A
Stability ControlSSSSN/A
Steering Wheel Audio ControlsSOOSN/A
Tire Pressure MonitorSSSSN/A
Traction ControlSSSSN/A

Interior, Trim And Practicality

Mitsubishi Eclipse Coupe 4th Gen Interior Overview Mitsubishi
2009-2012 Eclipse DK2A/DK4A Interior View

The 4th-generation Eclipse's interior is far from a class act, but it's better than expected and has a few tricks up its sleeve. While the styling and material quality won't blow you away, it is inoffensive enough, with a few imaginative flourishes such as the blue instrument lighting and the interesting design of the door releases. The front seats are surprisingly comfortable and offer lots of space with nearly 43 inches of legroom available, but the rear seats are a token gesture and best occupied by small children or luggage - it's a boon that you can fold them flat and access a commendably large luggage area. Even with them in place, the coupe offers 15.7 cu.ft back there. Take note that the Spyder offers a very limited 5.2 cu.ft in the trunk, so you'll definitely be stowing luggage on the back seat if you want to go touring two-up.

Bucket SeatsSSSSN/A
Cloth SeatsSSON/AN/A
Leather SeatsSN/AOSN/A
Leather Steering WheelSSSSN/A
Premium Synthetic SeatsN/AN/AON/AN/A
Vinyl SeatsN/AN/AON/AN/A
Dark Charcoal Sport Cloth Seat TrimN/ASSN/AN/A
Medium Gray Sport Cloth Seat TrimN/ASSN/AN/A
Sun & Sound Dark Charcoal Sport Cloth Seat TrimN/ASSN/AN/A
Sun & Sound Medium Gray Sport Cloth Seat TrimN/ASSN/AN/A
Dark Charcoal, Sport cloth seat trimSSN/AN/AN/A
Medium Gray, Sport cloth seat trimSSN/AN/AN/A
Dark Charcoal Leather Seat TrimN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Medium Gray Leather Seat TrimN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Terra Cotta Leather Seat TrimN/AN/ASN/AN/A
Dark Charcoal, Leather seat trimSN/ASSN/A
Medium Gray, Leather seat trimSN/ASSN/A
Terra Cotta, Leather seat trimSN/ASSN/A
Special Edition Medium Gray LeatherN/AN/AN/ASN/A
Special Edition Dark Charcoal LeatherN/AN/AN/ASN/A
Medium Gray Leater Seat TrimN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A

2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse 4th Generation Maintenance and Cost

The basic lube service should be performed every 3,750-7,500 miles, depending on driving conditions, as described in the next section. Every 15,000 miles, the cabin air filter must also be replaced, and this service typically costs $500 at a Mitsubishi dealer and around $275 at an independent shop for both engines. Keep in mind that neither engine has hydraulic valve lifters, so along with all the aforementioned items, valve clearances must be adjusted at 30,000-mile intervals, along with an air filter replacement; the bill for this service at Mitsubishi usually comes to around $770 or $500 elsewhere for the four-cylinder and $1,290 or $930 respectively for the V6. The 60,000-mile mark calls for all of these items and a change of engine coolant; thereafter, the coolant must be changed every 30,000 miles. The 60,000-mile service is a big one, and Mitsubishi normally charges around $1,140 for it on the four-cylinder or $1,600 on the V6; an independent shop would charge around $790 or $1,160, respectively.

Iridium-tipped spark plugs should last 105,000 miles and typically cost around $20 each. Mitsubishi reckons the automatic transmission's fluid needs changing every 30,000 miles under severe operating conditions. Still, even under normal conditions, we would not extend this interval to more than 60,000 miles in the interest of transmission longevity. Mitsubishi shouldn't charge much more than $300 for a transmission-oil change. Cambelts should be good for 105,000 miles, but prudent owners tend to change them along with the transmission fluid at 60,000 miles, especially in cold states, because cold weather typically reduces a belt's service life and a snapped belt leads to extensive engine damage. An independent shop would charge you around $900-$920 to replace the cambelt on either engine. Consider replacing the water pump too, while they're in there, to save on labor.

Fourth Gen Mitsubishi Eclipse Basic Service

We usually recommend that the basic lube service should be performed every 5,000 miles if a vehicle is operated under severe conditions such as on dusty roads, in sub-zero temperatures, or if it is allowed to idle for extended periods. However, Mitsubishi recommends even shorter intervals of 3,750 miles under such conditions for changing the oil and oil filter. Under normal conditions, the manufacturer recommends 7,500-mile intervals for the lube service, which should cost around $300 at Mitsubishi and around $155 at an independent service center. If you want to do a DIY job, you'll pay around $63 for five quarts of fully synthetic oil of the 5W-20 oil type and a filter. Both the four-cylinder and V6 have the same oil capacity of 4.5 quarts. An air filter should cost around $20 on either engine. For more information on the wiper-blade or tire size on your Eclipse, your local Mitsubishi dealer or spares shop will be able to assist.

4th Generation Eclipse Coupe Tires

Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
17" x 7.5"
Spare Tire:
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
18" x 8"
Spare Tire:
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
18" x 8"
Spare Tire:
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
18" x 8"
Spare Tire:
GS Sport
Tire Size:
Wheel Size:
18" x 8"
Spare Tire:

Check Before You Buy

The list of 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse recalls is not long:

  • There were several brake recalls. Almost 75,000 2006-2009 Eclipses were recalled to inspect and flush the ABS hydraulic brake unit and to replace it, if necessary, because corrosion inside the unit may cause internal valves to fail and lead to a loss of braking force. Another 3,760 and 1,151 2006 Eclipses were recalled to replace a brake master cylinder with a defective internal seal that may impair braking performance and to replace a brake-booster body that may fail and lead to total brake failure, respectively.
  • 2006 and 2007 Eclipses were recalled to repair or replace a fuel-tank support bracket that may split and fail, potentially causing the tank to drop and be punctured in an accident.
  • 1,772 2007 Eclipses were recalled to replace an ignition-interlock cable that was manufactured incorrectly, allowing the key to be removed from the ignition without the transmission having to be in Park, and causing the vehicle to roll away if the parking brake is not applied.
  • 1,516 2007 models were recalled to replace an improperly manufactured front cross member that may fracture, allowing the passenger-side lower control arm to separate, leading to a loss of steering control.

Here are a few of the most common OBD-II error codes you may encounter on your Eclipse if you have an OBD reader:

  • If there is something amiss with one of the oxygen sensors or an anomalous reading from one of them on a 2006-2012 Eclipse, P0031, P0037, P0051, P0136, P0141, P0171, P0420, P0421, P0430, P0431, and P0433 are some of the possible error codes. The P0401 error code is usually associated with a problem with the exhaust-gas recirculation (EGR) system. P0441, P0442, P0446, P0450, P0452, and P0455 are error codes associated with the evaporative emissions (EVAP) control system.
  • P0108 is a manifold absolute pressure (MAP) sensor error code.
  • On a 2006-2012 Eclipse, P0113 is an intake air temperature (IAT) sensor error code.
  • On any 2006-2012 Eclipse, P0128 is a coolant-temperature error code.
  • P0183 is a fuel-tank temperature-sensor error.
  • On a 2006 Eclipse, P0720 and P0751 are automatic-transmission error codes. P0720 is an output-speed sensor error, and P0751 is a shift-solenoid error.

2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Common Problems

4G69 2.4-liter Four-Cylinder Engine Problems

The Sirius engine has a sound reputation for reliability, and while the 2.4-liter 4G69 is durable, it is more maintenance-intensive than most, because it requires a cambelt change every 105,000 miles and valve-clearance adjustment every 30,000 miles. Frequent oil changes on these engines are very important because the engine uses balancer shafts which are driven by the cambelt; poor lubrication can bring on failure of the balancer-shaft bearings, causing them to seize and snapping the cambelt with major resultant engine damage due to the pistons contacting the valves. Failing balancer-shaft bearings will start to vibrate, hastening belt failure. Some owners fit an aftermarket balancer-shaft delete kit, but keep in mind that a large-displacement four-pot like the 4G69 will run rather roughly without its balancer shafts. On top of it all, the water pump is also driven by this belt, introducing another potential point of failure. Although it's reliable, we'd replace the belt and water pump every 60,000 miles and change the oil every 5,000 miles to ensure the long-term reliability of the system.

Long-term carbon buildup in the engine and on the piston rings is only really a problem if oil services are deferred, and if this happens, some owners add oil detergents to clear up the deposits. This is not recommended, as these detergents can accelerate the wear rate of the balancer-shaft bearings. Coked-up oil-scraper rings will result in excessive oil consumption.

A dirty throttle body and fouled spark plugs pop up from time to time and rough running is usually the result. On any 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse, fuel pump and idle problems typically go hand in hand, but that doesn't mean the fuel pump has failed - it might just be blocked. Excessive engine vibration is often caused by nothing more than worn motor mounts or perhaps the incorrect alignment of the balancer shafts after a cambelt change. Camshaft- and/or crankshaft-position sensors occasionally fail, leading to a no-spark and no-start situation. On a 2006-2012 Eclipse, the P0340 or P0341 error codes are usually displayed in such a case. Failed ignition coils will cause similar symptoms, in addition to misfiring. By and large, a very reliable engine, and to avoid 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse 4G69 engine problems, oil-change intervals must be strictly adhered to - and insist on proof of it on a used one. Looked after this way, a 4G69 can easily exceed 250,000 miles.

Mileage: Most failures related to the balancer-shaft bearings and carbon deposits are due to lax maintenance, not necessarily due to high mileages. Set valve clearances every 30,000 miles and replace both the timing belt and water pump every 60,000 miles.

Cost: The timing belt and water pump kit, including tensioners, rarely cost more than $120 in parts, and the entire job should come to about $1,100 at an independent workshop.

How to spot: The most important consideration is to check that the oil is clean and topped up and that there is proof in the service manual that it was replaced frequently. Ring problems lead to excessive oil consumption, which results in rough running due to fouled-up spark plugs, a low oil level, and exhaust smoke. Failing balancer-shaft bearings will lead to increased engine vibration, rough running, and ticking noises from the rear of the engine.

6G75/Cyclone 3.8-liter V6 Engine Problems

Mitsubishi has refined its 6G7 V6 engine over many years, and it is a reliable unit as long as you keep up with maintenance. Just like the 4G6, frequent oil changes with fully synthetic oil avert the vast majority of potential problems, and we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to find one that's been looked after well and to continue doing so. These engines have been known to continue running for well beyond 250,000 miles. Some of the more common complaints seem to be all the typical ones for high-mileage engines, but it bears repeating that you should keep an eye on the oil level to quickly catch problems that might cause the engine's oil to disappear. Oil consumption might be down to something as simple as a positive crankcase ventilation (PCV) valve that has become stuck, and oil can also be lost via leaks, often the rear main crank seal. Look for puddles on the floor and a low dipstick reading, and walk away from a car with low or dirty oil, as this points to neglect.

Another important consideration is that the engine runs a timing belt. Although this part is reliable, it should be replaced every 60,000 miles to be on the safe side, as a belt failure can ruin the engine via piston-to-valve contact. Unlike a rattling chain, a belt often gives no prior warning before failing, and cold temperatures can shorten the life of the belt and tensioners. We would replace the water pump at the same time to save on labor. Last of all, remember that the SOHC 6G75 in the Eclipse does not feature hydraulic valve-lash adjustment, so you have to make sure the valve clearances are set every 30,000 miles.

Mileage: Stick to 5,000-mile oil changes, 30,000-mile valve-clearance adjustments, and 60,000-mile intervals for the replacement of the timing belt and water pump.

Cost: A good-quality timing-belt kit, including all the tensioners and the water pump, will cost between $100 and $180, depending on the brand you buy, before labor.

How to spot: Excessive oil consumption will manifest in a low oil level, rough running due to fouled-up spark plugs, increased engine temperatures, and exhaust smoke. Skipped valve-clearance adjustment will lead to ticking noises from the cylinder head while the engine is running.

Transmission Problems

Quite a lot of owners have experienced difficulty shifting gears on the manual transmission and this can be down to binding between the gear surface and the synchronizer ring. You can add a special friction modifier to the transmission fluid to avoid the problem, but we'd suggest avoiding one that changes gears with difficulty, as problems may persist even with the modifier added - and then you're in for a new synchronizer kit, which requires stripping the transmission. Most common on 2007 and 2009 Mitsubishi Eclipses, these manual-transmission shifter problems may also affect other years, and, although there were early failures, the average failure mileage is around 140,000 miles. Besides binding synchronizers, there are, unfortunately, also quite a few 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse clutch problems, notably the clutch-disc springs that can fail, also at around 140,000 miles. They will emit a rattle from the clutch when idling in Neutral, and the noise will go away when the clutch pedal is depressed. The only remedy is a clutch replacement. Premature clutch failure has also been reported more frequently than is normal, and one clutch failed at 4,000 miles - but this is the exception and not the rule.

That said, there are hardly any 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse automatic transmission problems and, if you replace the transmission fluid at least every 60,000 miles, they should remain trouble-free. The F4A4B four-speed automatic in the four-cylinder Eclipse is a very common transmission also used in many old Hyundai Tucsons and Kia Sportages, so it's a known quantity, and spares are available. The odd solenoid and clutch failure pops up, but can usually be avoided through frequent maintenance and oil changes and rarely requires a rebuild or replacement. The F4A5B should be similarly reliable if properly cared for.

Mileage: Manual transmissions shifting with difficulty seem to develop this problem at an average of about 135,000-140,000 miles, although some problems start a lot earlier. Failing clutch-disc springs manifest at around the same mileage. Clutch failure at between 107,000 and 120,000 miles is relatively common.

Cost: A clutch replacement costs around $1,200-$1,400.

How to spot: Binding synchronizers will lead to an increased effort shifting gears. Failing clutch-disc springs will cause a clutch rattle at idle in Neutral that goes away when the pedal is depressed.

Electrical Problems

The electrics are generally reliable, but one of the few 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse electrical problems leading to stater/starting issues noted is a charging system that stops charging the battery and results in a flat battery. Some owners have gone to considerable expense to replace charging-system components; however, in the majority of cases, this merely turned out to be the fault of a failing 80-amp fuse in the charging system, so always check this item first. This problem mostly affects 2006, 2007, and 2011 models.

Mileage: The fusible link tends to fail at an average of around 140,000 miles, although some have failed as early as 75,000 miles.

Cost: The 80A fusible link costs $16 before fitment.

How to spot: A battery that won't charge and runs down until flat.

Brake Problems

There were several brake recalls and we detail them under Check Before You Buy, but judging by the number of owners complaining about these problems on their cars, more model years may have been affected besides the recalled ones. Make sure the recall work was done and test the braking system properly on your test drive. Brake pedal response must be crisp and immediate, and no brake warning lights should be glowing on the dashboard.

With a curb weight in the 3,300-3,700-pound vicinity, the Eclipse is no lightweight and the enthusiastic driving that its sporty persona might invite can lead to overheated and warped brake rotors, announced by shudders and vibrations when braking normally. This seems to mostly affect 2006-2008 model years, and the only fix is to replace the rotors and pads. Resurfacing the rotors will not be a permanent fix, and the problem will just return later.

Mileage: Warping brake rotors can become a problem as early as 15,000 miles.

Cost: A set of front discs and pads should cost around $70 and the rear set, $140, before labor for fitment.

How to spot: Warped rotors cause shudders and vibration when applying the brakes normally.

Less Common Problems And Problem-Free Areas

Rust and corrosion do not seem to be common, but the fuel filler's door is more prone to rust than most other parts at an average mileage of around 50,000 miles, necessitating its replacement. Eclipses equipped with the electrically adjustable driver's seat may suffer drive-cable failures, which will result in a noise when operating the seat adjuster or a refusal to adjust if the cable has failed, so properly test the power seat for prompt, quiet, and smooth adjustment. Rather many bent alloy wheels are reported and although this could be down to usage patterns, the fact that the Eclipse experiences more failures may point to more fragile wheels. Check for visible damage and look out for wobbles while driving that may point to bent, out-of-round wheels. They bend more easily on the inside where there aren't any wheel spokes supporting the rim. Besides the transmission interlock issue that prompted a recall, ignition switch and key problems on the Mitsubishi Eclipse are not common, but a few owners have complained of failed remote keyfobs, so test it properly, as this item costs around $500 to replace.

Despite there never being a recall for it, quite a few 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse airbag problems were reported, whether this is a warning light on the dash or a passenger-side airbag cover that comes adrift. Several owners of 2007 and 2008 Eclipses equipped with electric sunroofs have complained that the sunroof starts to have difficulty moving and may need a manual push to move forward and backward. The sunroof guides usually have to be replaced, but this has not solved the problem in all cases, because it tends to return. Sunroofs tend to become stuck at an average of around 120,000 miles, although this can happen as early as 40,000 miles.

While a few things may go wrong, a lot seems to go right:

  • The soft top does not quite offer the noise and temperature insulation of the hard-top coupe, but the mechanism seems sound and very few 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder convertible problems are reported.
  • Besides the blown fuse mentioned earlier that can cause a flat battery, there are few issues with the electrics, and problems with the 2006-2012 Eclipse's window regulators, CD player, left and right blinkers, headlights, and instrument cluster are rare.
  • Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioner/AC problems on the 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse hardly register on the list of common complaints at all.
  • Exterior build quality is good and with the exception of the gas cap that seems prone to corrosion, there are hardly any problems with the Mitsubishi Eclipse's liftgate, doors, or paintwork to report. Of course, liftgate gas struts may give out with age, but that happens to all cars.
  • The fueling and emissions after-treatment systems are generally very reliable and although the odd catalytic converter gives up the ghost, there was no 2006-2012 Mitsubishi Eclipse catalytic converter recall, because it's not a safety-critical item. Except for the odd duff cat, there aren't actually many problems with the Mitsubishi Eclipse's exhaust, oxygen sensors, or evaporative emissions (EVAP) system to report at all.

Which One To Avoid

The lame duck in the range is the four-speed automatic 2.4 four-cylinder drivetrain. The transmission is old-fashioned and short of gear ratios and the engine struggles under the car's weight, doing its sporty pretensions no favors. The five-speed manual is a little better, but the four-cylinder is generally uninspiring and the performance on offer is adequate for a sedan, not for a sporty coupe or convertible. Earlier years suffered more problems as well and were thin on safety features, so we'd avoid the 2006-2008 pre-facelift Eclipses entirely for these reasons. Keep in mind that for the 2009 model year, even the facelifted four-cylinders still made do without stability control, an indispensable safety feature in our eyes.

Which One To Buy

It appears that a 2010 or newer V6 with the automatic five-speed transmission may just be the sweet spot in the 4th-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse lineup. Both stability control and a rearview camera are standard, it was subject to no recalls whatsoever, complaints and problems are at an all-time low, and the punchy V6 is a pleasure to use. Enthusiasts will enjoy the six-speed manual transmission more, but check it out carefully, as both the transmission and clutch are prone to a few issues, as outlined above, and are more prone to abuse and harsh launches. The Eclipse 4th gen is not a genuine sports car anyway - its portliness and front-wheel drive conspire against its ambitions - so the relaxed automatic V6 is a more natural fit and subdues the torque steer a little better.

4th Gen Mitsubishi Eclipse (DK2A/DK4A) Verdict

The 4th-generation Mitsubishi Eclipse has earned a few black marks on its report card, the main ones being a weak four-cylinder engine, high weight, and an FWD PS platform derived from the Galant sedan and Endeavor SUV that doesn't quite hold a candle to sportier RWD rivals. The manual transmission is also prone to a few more issues than we'd like in a sporty car that attracts enthusiasts. But if you want to go that way, opt for a Mustang instead. The Eclipse's strengths lie in the coupe's excellent comfort, large luggage area, well-judged suspension, and strong V6 that makes two-up touring a pleasure - and it still handles well enough for the odd backroad blast, even if that's not the main reason you'd buy it.

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