Best and worst Dodge Journey years — which to avoid
We explored the best and worst Dodge Journey years, pinpointing the models with the most issues and collecting honest opinions from owners, all to offer you an insightful overview of its historical reliability.
Before the discontinuation, the Dodge Journey was one of the best mid-size SUVs produced for a dozen generations, and Dodge didn’t give up on it due to reliability issues. However, that doesn’t mean you can just go ahead and buy any model as some model years have received quite a few complaints.
Don’t go searching through the market just yet, since our team decided to give you all the important details in one guide. We’ve scanned the NHTSA records on common complaints and recalls to give you a complete picture of best years to buy and worst Dodge Journey years to avoid. On top of that, we’ve gone an extra step as we reached out to real Journey owners for their accounts and experiences, so stay tuned for the details.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
How we rated the best and worst Dodge Journey years
During our evaluation of the Dodge Journey as a model, we’ve gone through the reports on various model years based on several sources. First, we relied on trustworthy organizations like the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and we went through their records including details on recalls and common driver complaints.
After that, we’ve done some more digging on Dodge Journey recalls through reliable platforms like Cars.com, as well as sources of authority like Edmunds and Kelly Blue Book. As mentioned, we wanted to give you honest Dodge Journey reviews and we could only do that by citing some forums with real experiences of previous drivers and Journey owners.
|Dodge Journey Generation
|Best Dodge Journey Years
|Worst Dodge Journey Years
|2005, 2019, 2020
|2009, 2010, 2012
Most common Dodge Journey problems
The Dodge Journey might be a safe and reliable vehicle. However, it is not exempt from faults and flaws. Among the Dodge Journey most common problems you could run upon are brake problems, defective remote keyless entry systems, interior water leaks, or even damaged head gaskets, so we’ll discuss each of those in more detail.
1. Overheating engine
Engine issues are a common issue in faulty Dodge Journey model years. For the Dodge Journey, these problems happened in the 2009-2016 model years, causing overheating once they hit the 78,000-mile mark. This problem is likely caused by coolant flow challenges due to debris locking the cylinder head coolant port at its primary thermostat housing.
At first, the vehicle’s temperature light may turn on, but this worsens over time. Some Journey owners complained that their vehicles experienced engine power loss, leading to overheating. The vehicle may also develop coolant leaks, which become excessive for its overflow reservoir, causing coolant fluid to spill over.
These engine problems are usually expensive and dangerous, depending on where they happen. For a driver, you don’t want to encounter engine issues every day.
2. Brake problems
Brake issues were the most common troubles that plagued the Dodge Journey, especially its 2009-2010 model years. The brakes on these models wear out prematurely, which happens to relatively new Journey vehicles at about 30,000 miles. Some drivers mentioned that this issue has become severe, requiring them to replace their brakes every three months.
The abovementioned issues are among the few brake-related problems you could face if you purchase a problematic Dodge Journey model year. These issues are inconvenient and dangerous, especially for driving at high speeds. You want to avoid a vehicle that struggles with maintaining proper brakes.
3. Defective remote keyless entry system
The Dodge Journey has many cool features, and the remote keyless system is supposed to be one of them. Instead, the keyless system is another Dodge Journey feature that has become problematic for drivers.
Many frustrated owners complain that the system doesn’t work correctly as it gives off either wrong key readings or the annoying “key not detected” message. The system sometimes interferes with the key fob, preventing drivers from locking or unlocking the doors. To fix this issue, owners may need to do a software update.
4. Interior water leaks
Some owners of the 2009-2018 Dodge Journey models have expressed discomfort caused by dampness inside the cabin. The cabin appears vulnerable to water leaks, typically at a low mileage of about 50,000 to 60,000 miles. According to complaints from owners, the driver’s seat floor of the Dodge Journey may become wet when they travel in the rain.
Other drivers complained that they noticed leaks near the side of the Journey, causing wet floors and carpets. Additionally, some drivers reported leaks near windows, headliners, and vents, and you may need a professional to fix the leaks and resolve the issue.
5. Damaged head gasket
This is another notorious Dodge Journey issue among vehicle owners. Drivers note that this problem commonly happens at about 100,000 miles. It might begin with performance issues and graduate to engine failure over time. This may be due to cracked or damaged head gaskets.
Some drivers have reported having leaky or blown head gaskets, causing severe damage to the engine. Experts recommend a compression test to verify if your Journey has faulty head gaskets. If they are defective, you may replace them yourself if you are a DIYer or have a professional do the job.
Worst Dodge Journey years to avoid
The Dodge Journey has had several great models; however, there are also some model years you should avoid if you intend to purchase a Dodge Journey. Below is a list of Journey model years to avoid:
Naturally, our team will get you through all these model years and their issues so you can have an easier time picking the most reliable Journey model.
First-generation Journey (2009-2012 model years)
The 2009 Dodge Journey was the first model of this generation, and it was associated with numerous problems and complaints from drivers. Its prevalent issue was with the brakes, and many drivers complained of frequent brake replacements within a short timeframe. These drivers point out that the vehicle is too heavy for the brake pads and rotors.
Other drivers reported that regardless of how gentle you are with the vehicle, it doesn’t stop the brakes from wearing out at 30,000 miles or earlier. Additionally, the braking power isn’t sufficient for the size of the vehicle and can lead to disastrous accidents in the worst cases.
Another issue of the 2009 model year was with its transmission, which caused rough gear shifting. Some drivers complained that shifting the vehicle out of the first gear was difficult, especially during cold weather. Also, several drivers report that their transmission fails at around 60,000 miles, causing them to abandon the vehicle.
The 2009 and 2010 models were also plagued by electrical faults that prevented the engine from turning over, which may be caused by the neutral safety switch losing communication with the shifter. Most drivers had to put their vehicles in neutral to get the engine to start up. Some drivers also complained that they experience these issues on other components like the horn, windows, radios, etc.
2011 Dodge model year also had issues with the brakes, but unlike the 2009-2010 models, which had brakes that required premature replacements, the 2011 model had brakes that made grinding and squealing sounds. In addition to the noises, drivers complain that their 2011 Journey shakes the steering wheel while braking.
Best Dodge Journey years
The Dodge Journey has several years, which drivers have confirmed to be reliable while offering remarkable performance. So, are you still wondering what are the best Dodge Journey years to buy? The best Dodge Journey years are 2005, 2017, and 2020. Still, there’s a full list of best-rated models:
These Dodge Journey models are some of the best years to date and provide excellent performance. If you are searching for the best Journey years to buy, these years are great choices, and they would give little to no problems without any cause for expensive repairs.
2005 Dodge Journey
Based on all the available NHTSA records and reliability reports, the 2005 Dodge Journey is the best model to date. It only received a few complaints including some engine cooling difficulties, but none of those reports were sufficient to place the model on a list of problematic years.
With a clean reliability record, the model scored a decent overall rating of 4 out of 5 based on reliable automotive agencies.
2017 Dodge Journey
As for the later model years, the 2017 Dodge Journey made it to the list as one of the most reliable options. It received model-specific concerns with some of the main complaints being related to A/C heater faults and electrical malfunctions.
2020 Dodge Journey
Finally, we can’t leave out the 2020 Journey model which also proved to be pretty reliable with just under 10 reliability concerns. Among those, drivers have mostly reported problems with seat belts and brakes, while the model received an overall rating of 4.2 out of 5 on Cars.com and similar sources.
Is the Dodge Journey worth buying?
The Dodge Journey is an excellent SUV with remarkable performance. However, it doesn’t have a reasonable edge over its rivals, as consumers complain that the vehicle is made from cheap interior materials and lacks a host of safety features that can be found in most competitors.
What is the most common problem with the Dodge Journey?
The remote keyless entry system is Dodge Journey’s most reported issue. According to drivers, the system gives off the wrong readings or the u0022key not detectedu0022 message.
Is a Dodge Journey a reliable car?
The Dodge Journey is reliable as long as you keep away from its worst model years.
How many miles can you expect from a Dodge Journey?
The Dodge Journey can last up to 200,00 miles under ideal maintenance conditions.
Should I buy a Dodge Journey?
Yes, you can buy a Dodge Journey; however, you want to avoid buying its worst years. Also, it would be best if you considered its interior before making a purchase.