Discover Pre-Owned Dodge Journey Years to Avoid and Main Problems

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

As you’re fully prepared to hit the pre-owned car dealership market to shop for a used mid-size crossover cum a three-row SUV, we believe a used Dodge Journey is one to buy!

However, we’re aware you may get overwhelmed by the different Journey models and need clarification on what model years to avoid versus the most reliable best years to buy.

Don’t worry; this used Autocar publication (and similar reports) is here to help you! You’ll discover the problem-prone years and avoid potential headaches such as brakes and electrical systems, among other concerns.

You’ll be able to identify the best Dodge Journey models with the highest customer ratings, minor repair costs, substantial reliability, higher performance levels, and longevity!

Dodge Journey years to avoid

The Worst Journey Years to Avoid

In this section, we’ll discuss some model years of the Dodge Journey to steer clear of.

2009 Model Year

The 2009 Dodge Journey was the first model introduced, and it came with its fair share of problems. Many consumers reported issues with brakes, engines, and overall build quality. If you’re considering a used Dodge Journey, avoiding the 2009 model year is best.

2010 Model Year

Similar to the 2009 model, the 2010 Dodge Journey faced issues with its brakes and engines. Additionally, these models experienced problems with interior electronic components and transmission, making the 2010 model another year you should avoid.

2011 Model Year

Despite improvements in later years, the 2011 Dodge Journey also had some flaws. As with the previous years, engine and brake issues and reports of electrical problems were prevalent.

It’s wise to avoid the 2011 model year if you’re planning on buying a used Dodge Journey.

2012 Model Year

The 2012 model year continued the trend of earlier models, experiencing engine, brakes, and reliability problems.

Dodge addressed some issues, but it’s still best to avoid the 2012 model year when purchasing a Dodge Journey.

2013 Model Year

Although the 2013 model saw some improvements, it’s still advisable to be cautious when considering a 2013 Dodge Journey.

While issues were less prevalent than in previous years, some reports still mentioned engine and brake problems.

While less crucial to avoid than the 2009-2012 models, it’s worth considering these potential problems when considering a 2013 Dodge Journey.

TIPS: A close brand rival Dodge Nitro car. Here are the worst years to avoid for Nitro!

Common Problems

Let’s explore some common problems with specific Dodge Journey model years. These issues can impact your vehicle’s overall performance, safety, and maintenance costs.

Engine Issues

You might face engine issues with the Dodge Journey, specifically in the 2009-2016 model years. These problems typically arise after reaching the 78,000 miles mark and can result in overheating due to coolant flow challenges.

Debris might block the cylinder head coolant port at its primary thermostat housing, leading to this problem. Be cautious about these model years and their engine problems, as they may increase maintenance costs and safety concerns.

Transmission Issues

While transmission issues are less prominent than engine problems, awareness of potential troubles is still essential.

Some Dodge Journey owners have reported transmission-related issues that could affect performance and longevity.

Monitor any unusual transmission behavior and promptly address concerns to prevent further damage.

Brake Problems

One of the top complaints from Dodge Journey owners, especially with the 2009 model year, is brake problems.

You may encounter worn-out brakes that wear down prematurely and create noise when applied. It can not only reduce safety but also increase maintenance costs.

Electrical Issues

Electrical issues are another concern for some Dodge Journey owners. The 2009 model is known for malfunctioning electrical systems that might prevent the vehicle from starting.

Stay vigilant by checking for signs of electrical malfunctions and addressing them as soon as possible to minimize any safety risks or unexpected inconveniences.

Water Leaks

Interior water leaks have been reported in some Dodge Journey model years. This problem can cause damage to your vehicle’s interior and lead to expensive repairs.

Inspect your Dodge Journey for signs of water leaks regularly, so you can address the issue before it escalates.

Are There Any Recalls?

The Dodge Journey may have had some recalls in the past.

One of the most notable recalls affected the 2009 Dodge Journey, which suffered from faulty wiring. This issue led to multiple recalls that year:

  • In 2008, the recall was due to a wrong wiring harness, which could potentially cause a fire in the vehicle if not fixed immediately.
  • In 2009, another recall was issued for a defective electrical connector, becoming excessively hot and possibly igniting.

Additionally, the 2018 Dodge Journey and some RAM vehicles were recalled. In this case, the main concern was the backup camera experiencing a loss of image display while backing up.

Which are The The Best Used Models to Buy?

Below are the top recommended years for the Dodge Journey, ensuring a quality experience for you and your family.

2013 Model

The 2013 Dodge Journey is a great option, as it marked the end of the first generation, which had several issues.

With this model, you’ll find that many of the problems from the previous years have been addressed and resolved. This model features a reliable engine, a comfortable interior, and improved fuel efficiency.

2015 Model

Another excellent year for the Dodge Journey is 2015. This model saw further improvements in both design and performance.

The 2015 Journey boasts updated infotainment options, a more substantial suspension system, and even more safety features. You can feel confident when driving your family around in this well-rounded and dependable model.

2016 Model

The 2016 Dodge Journey should also be on your list when searching for the perfect used vehicle. With this model, you’ll find an upgraded suspension system, providing smoother rides and increased comfort.

Additionally, the 2016 Journey offers a variety of advanced safety features like rear parking sensors and a rearview camera that will help you quickly navigate crowded parking lots.

Safety and Features

The first-generation Journey, which includes the years 2009-2012, is known to have issues with safety and other features.

As a mid-size SUV, you would expect the Dodge Journey to have a powerful engine. While some models are indeed equipped with a V6 engine, there have been reported issues with the engine performance in the years mentioned above.

Researching the V6 engine’s efficiency in the specific year you’re considering is essential to ensure you receive the power and performance you desire.

Regarding safety features, the Dodge Journey has always provided several standard options, such as airbags, ABS, stability, and traction control.

However, in the model years to avoid, there might be problems with the brakes and malfunctioning remote keyless entry, which can affect the vehicle’s overall safety.

Electrical issues have also been a notable concern for these problematic years. When purchasing a pre-owned Dodge Journey, it’s essential to verify whether any electrical problems are known and if they have been resolved.

Electrical issues could affect your vehicle’s safety and reliability, so it’s crucial to remain informed of any existing problems.

Interior accessories and comfort are often vital for any vehicle, especially an SUV designed for families.

Unfortunately, some Dodge Journey model years have shown interior accessories issues, such as malfunctions or water leaks.

Ensuring these concerns are addressed and resolved in the model you’re considering will make your ownership experience far more enjoyable.

Different model years have offered various wheel configurations and tire options, which could be particularly important for those planning on using the SUV for off-road adventures or in areas with challenging terrain or weather conditions.

Fuel Economy and Performance

The 2020 Dodge Journey has an annual fuel cost of $2,600, with a price to drive 25 miles at $4.36. Considering these costs would help when deciding on a specific model year.

Regarding acceleration, some Dodge Journey models offer a decent performance considering their size and weight.

Remember that how you drive can significantly impact your vehicle’s fuel efficiency. Maintaining a smooth and steady driving style is advised to maximize your Journey’s MPG.

To help yourself make an informed decision, it’s essential to:

  • Research Dodge Journey’s reported issues
  • Compare mpg ratings
  • Test-drive different models to assess the acceleration

Interior and Cabin

In some years, the build quality and materials used for the interior differ from what you would expect from a reliable SUV.

Here, we’ll focus on specific issues you may encounter, particularly Dodge Journey models’ interior and cabin areas.

The first issue you might notice in some Dodge Journey models is the vents.

The vents may not function correctly in specific years, leading to compromised airflow throughout the cabin.

Depending on the weather, this can cause discomfort for you and your passengers during long drives or provide inadequate heating and cooling.

Now let’s consider the windows. In some Dodge Journey models, the power window regulators might fail, making it difficult or impossible to raise and lower the windows.

It’s essential to have functional windows, especially in emergencies when you need to escape the vehicle.

Another potential issue to look out for in the Dodge Journey is the headliner.

Headliners have been known to sag or detach from the vehicle’s roof in specific years. A sagging headliner can be bothersome and even dangerous if it obstructs your driving view.

In summary:

  • Check the vents for proper function and airflow
  • Ensure the windows operate smoothly and without issues
  • Inspect the headliner for sagging or detachment

Buying and Maintenance Advice

Remember that the Dodge Journey was discontinued after the 2020 model year.

The 2009 Dodge Journey is widely regarded as the worst year for this model. Common problems include brake issues, engine troubles, and interior water leaks.

If durability is your top priority and you’re considering a used Dodge Journey, it’s best to avoid it this year.

In terms of maintenance, regular service will help you keep your Dodge Journey running smoothly and extend its lifespan up to 200,000 miles. Some key steps include:

  • Regular oil changes
  • Checking coolant levels
  • Inspecting brake pads and replacing them when needed
  • Ensuring proper tire pressure and alignment
  • Replacing air filters

Do evaluate each vehicle’s maintenance history and current condition. Take the time to test drive and inspect potential purchases.

If you need more clarification, consult a trusted mechanic to assess the vehicle before committing to buying it.

References and Sources

One place to look for crucial information is CarComplaints. They collect data from vehicle owners to highlight common problems and help you understand potential issues you might face with specific model years.

Some Dodge Journey models have suffered from a defective remote keyless entry system. You can find user experiences discussing this problem and how to address it at various automotive forums and websites.

To better understand the overall ratings and expert reviews of different Dodge Journey years, check out U.S. News.

They provide comprehensive information for each year, including reliability scores and pros and cons that can help guide your decision.

When reading up on car complaints and reliability issues, remember to consider the overall context of each case. It’s essential to balance these concerns and the model’s other features that might genuinely appeal to you.

Finally, it’s always a good idea to consult multiple sources before deciding which Dodge Journey model to purchase.


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