When shopping for a used car, you might come across the Dodge Caliber. Introduced as a replacement for the Dodge Neon, this four-door hatchback features a raised seating position similar to a small hatchback.
However, you should be aware of some common problems that plague the Dodge Caliber before making a purchase decision.
The Caliber has been saddled with a less-than-stellar reputation due in part to faulty front ball joints, control arms, and transmission issues.
While its low resale value and depreciation rate might attract your attention, be sure to ask the seller about the vehicle’s repair and maintenance history.
Keep in mind that purchasing a used Dodge Caliber could be somewhat of a gamble, with numerous known issues potentially affecting your experience as an owner.
- 1 Common Problems and Complaints
- 2 Engine and Transmission Issues
- 3 Suspension and Steering Problems
- 4 Brakes and Electrical System Concerns
- 5 2007 Dodge Caliber Specific Issues
- 6 CVT Transmission in Dodge Caliber
- 7 Fuel Economy and Reliability
- 8 Fuel Economy
- 9 Reliability Issues
- 10 Comparing Dodge Caliber to Other Models
- 11 Dodge Caliber Competitors
- 12 Ford Focus
- 13 Honda Fit
- 14 Toyota Matrix
- 15 Nissan Versa
- 16 Share this post:
Common Problems and Complaints
Engine and Transmission Issues
Your Dodge Caliber may experience engine and transmission problems. One of the prevalent issues is the no start or no crank issue due to the theft system’s wireless control module.
Furthermore, some owners have reported the need for simultaneous updates to the engine and transmission control modules.
Suspension and Steering Problems
In the suspension and steering department, you might encounter faulty front ball joints and control arms that could cost around $800 to fix.
These problems can affect the vehicle’s stability, making it difficult to maneuver and increase the risk of accidents.
Additionally, some Caliber owners have reported issues with blown struts, which can cause poor ride quality and lead to suspension failure.
Brakes and Electrical System Concerns
While specific complaints on this matter are less frequent, it’s essential to keep an eye on these aspects to ensure a safe and comfortable driving experience.
Regular maintenance and checks will help you avoid potential problems in the long run.
2007 Dodge Caliber Specific Issues
One common issue with the 2007 Dodge Caliber is transmission failure.
You might experience transmission hesitation, a loss of acceleration, and—worst of all—complete transmission failure. If you notice any of these signs, it’s crucial to seek professional help immediately.
Another problem reported by numerous 2007 Dodge Caliber owners is leaking water from the sunroof drain tubes.
These tubes are meant to drain water away from the vehicle, but when they become clogged, water ends up leaking into the car’s interior. To avoid this issue, make sure to regularly clean and maintain the sunroof drain tubes.
Additionally, the front ball joints and control arms seem to wear out prematurely, causing steering and suspension problems. Usually, this happens around 57,000 miles, and replacing these parts can cost about $800.
Here are some other common issues with the 2007 Dodge Caliber:
- No start or no crank due to theft system wireless control module
- Blown struts
- Updates needed for engine and transmission control modules
CVT Transmission in Dodge Caliber
When driving your Dodge Caliber, you may experience some issues with the CVT (Continuously Variable Transmission).
This type of transmission is designed to improve fuel efficiency and acceleration, but it has been known to cause some problems in the Caliber.
One common issue with the CVT transmission in your Dodge Caliber is hesitation. It may jerk or hesitate when accelerating, which can be disconcerting and potentially dangerous.
This problem often occurs around 48,900 miles average, so be prepared to address this before it becomes more severe.
Another symptom you might notice is grinding sounds coming from your transmission. This may indicate that the CVT is experiencing internal wear or damage.
Don’t ignore these noises; it’s essential to consult a professional mechanic to inspect and diagnose the problem further.
Transmission failure is an unfortunate, yet fairly common issue for Dodge Calibers with a CVT. It can happen suddenly, often at a stop, causing the transmission to get stuck in low ratio. This limits your acceleration ability and can make your car difficult to drive.
To help avoid these problems, be vigilant with your regular maintenance and pay close attention to your Caliber’s transmission behavior. If you notice any of the symptoms mentioned above, it is essential to seek professional help quickly.
In some cases, a simple reset of the TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module) can resolve transmission problems.
To perform this reset, simply remove the ignition key from your Dodge Caliber. However, if the problems persist, consult a mechanic to ensure the longevity and safety of your vehicle.
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Fuel Economy and Reliability
Even though RepairPal has given the Dodge Caliber a high reliability rating of 4 out of 5, there have been reports of a few problems worth noting.
Several factors can affect its performance in this aspect. For instance, low tire pressure can significantly impact your car’s fuel consumption.
If your tires are underinflated, they might cause an increase in rolling resistance, leading to lower fuel efficiency. To improve your car’s fuel economy, regularly check your tire pressure and ensure it matches the recommended level.
Another factor that can cause bad fuel mileage is a misfiring engine. Your car’s engine relies on a precise combination of fuel, air, and spark to ignite properly.
If the engine misfires, it could lead to a noticeable drop in miles per gallon (MPG). Even if there’s no check engine light on, it’s wise to examine your Caliber’s spark plugs to guarantee their optimum functioning.
Many owners have reported issues with the transmission system, engine problems, faulty suspension components, and water leaks. As such, the resale value of the Dodge Caliber can experience a significant decrease over time.
When it comes to your Dodge Caliber, being informed about its fuel economy and reliability issues can help you understand and address the problems.
Comparing Dodge Caliber to Other Models
One of the models that the Caliber directly replaced was the Dodge Neon. The Neon was quite popular and had better sales than the Caliber in its initial years.
According to Good Car Bad Car, the Neon sold better than the Caliber in the first three years after its launch.
In terms of longevity, a Dodge Caliber tends to last between 180,000 – 200,000 miles. You can expect to visit the garage for unscheduled repairs about 0.24 times per year with an 11% chance of experiencing a severe problem.
Compared to other makes and models, this places the Caliber somewhere in the middle of the spectrum.
Here’s how the Caliber compares to other models, in terms of resale prices due to depreciation:
- 2009 Dodge Caliber: 100,000 miles; $1,048 – $8,033
- 2008 Other Vehicles: 100,000 miles; (insert range here)
As part of the broader Chrysler lineup, the Dodge Caliber also shares similarities with other vehicles from the brand.
The company has faced criticisms regarding its build quality and reliability across various models. When considering a Dodge Caliber, it’s essential to take note of the issues mentioned and research further to ensure it’s the right vehicle for your needs.
Dodge Caliber Competitors
We’ll cover the Ford Focus, Honda Fit, Toyota Matrix, and Nissan Versa. Comparing these vehicles to the Dodge Caliber will help you make a more informed decision about your next car purchase.
The Ford Focus is a popular compact car with a sporty design, offering a smooth ride and agile handling. Pros of the Ford Focus include its powerful engine options and upscale interior.
However, some Ford Focus drawbacks include a cramped rear seat and, in some older models, issues with the automatic transmission.
The Honda Fit is a practical subcompact car with a reputation for reliability, fuel efficiency, and versatility. With its ample cargo space and a variety of seating configurations, the Fit caters to your day-to-day needs.
The main downside to the Fit is its underpowered engine, which might not be suitable if you’re looking for a more performance-oriented vehicle.
The Toyota Matrix is a versatile compact hatchback known for its reliability and fuel efficiency.
Its main advantages include a comfortable ride, ample cargo space, and excellent safety ratings. Some criticisms of the Matrix include a noisy cabin and an underpowered base engine.
The Nissan Versa is an economical subcompact car that provides a comfortable ride and roomy cabin. Key benefits of the Versa include its low starting price and fuel efficiency.
However, the Versa lags behind its competitors in terms of performance, handling, and interior quality.