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Dodge Challenger Reliability

The modern classic reborn anew: Is it a smart purchase?

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BY The Drive Staff / LAST UPDATED ON January 12, 2022

Dodge Challenger
Toni Scott

Since its debut in 1970, at the height of the muscle car wars, the Dodge Challenger has been an icon of American iron. When Dodge introduced the third generation in 2008, its throwback styling paired with modern performance received a warm welcome from car enthusiasts of all sorts.

There are dozens upon dozens of versions of the Challenger produced since its rebirth, ranging from V-6 economy-minded base variants to the legendary nine-second-quarter-mile Demon package with a 6.2-liter supercharged V-8.

Today, the Challenger remains popular as a relatively affordable and well-supported modern muscle coupe. And the range of engine choices allows for tradeoffs to be made for fuel mileage or initial cost vs. all-out performance. Dodge continues to offer new versions of the Challenger straight from the dealership but is the retro-styled icon something you can truly rely on for more than a few short blasts down the quarter-mile?

The Drive and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links. Read more.

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Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

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Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

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Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

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What Makes a Reliable Brand? 

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability over all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability? 

The short answer is you. The longer answer is a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule, your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance such as regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean will increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life. Keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will also keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis happy for far longer than pretending every trip to the grocery store is the Indy 500. 

Toni Scott

Dodge Challenger Hellcat

Dodge Challenger Specs

Vehicle Type: Coupe
Doors: 2
Engine: 3.5L SOHC V6, 3.6L DOHC V6, 5.7L Hemi V-8, 6.1L Hemi V-8, 6.2L supercharged V-8 (Hellcat or Demon versions), 6.4L Hemi V-8
Transmission: Four-, five-, or eight-speed automatic, or six-speed Tremec manual
Curb weight: 3,834 to 4,254 pounds  

Common Dodge Challenger Problems and Repair Costs

We have assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information on reliability as possible. What follows are common issues, as told by comments listed in the Challenger's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

Alternator Issues

Customer complaints: 

2012 model: “I purchased the 2012 Dodge and loved it, but the repairs are a pain. The car shut down on me in the middle of the intersection, everything just shut down. I was so scared, but luckily a police cruiser pulled up behind me and stayed there until the tow truck showed up. I have never heard of an alternator costing $500, and that was not including the cost of labor. I was devastated. How can a new car like this be having these problems? ... I was out of my vehicle for about two and a half weeks.” 

2012 model: “Alternator just went completely out while running errands in town. It was raining, and I couldn't roll the windows up. I pay to have extended warranty, but it's still unfair to pay the extra for the warranty and $100 deductible for a defective car part. Just another issue that I've had.” 

Repair costs: $700, according to CarComplaints.com

TIPM Failure

Customer complaints:

2013 model: "Over the past 12 months, I've noticed my Challenger RT (60,000 miles) failing to start when the ignition button is pressed. At times, the engine cranks but won’t start. Have to cycle through the ignition (accessory and so on) to get the car to start.” 

2013 model: “Had the car back for only a few days, and it failed to start for the second time at my home. Attempted to start the car several times but did not start. Had the car towed back to the dealer, and they replaced the TIPM and repaired some wiring (noticed some corrosion).”

Repair costs: $940, according to CarComplaints.com

NHTSA Recalls

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the Challenger’s issues throughout the years.

2020

Recall 1: Inadequate windshield bonding 

Complaints: 8

2019

Recall 1: Rearview display failure

Recall 2: Front tire damage 

Recall 3: Driver warnings in the instrument cluster do not illuminate

Complaints: 20

2018

Recall 1: Voltage regulator failure

Recall 2: Cruise control cancelation not functioning 

Recall 3: Incorrect transmission park lock rods installed

Complaints: 37

2017

Recall 1: Transmission pop-out of park

Recall 2: Cruise control cancelation not functioning 

Recall 3: Oil leak from EOC line

Complaints: 23

2016

Recall 1: Cruise control cancelation not functioning 

Complaints: 49

2015

Recall 1: Radio software vulnerabilities.

Recall 2: Cruise control cancelation not functioning 

Recall 3: Driver’s curtain airbag missing bolt

Recall 4: Damaged fuel rail

Complaints: 98

2014

Recall 1: Passenger airbag detonation

Recall 2: Cruise control cancelation not functioning 

Recall 3: Failing alternator issues

Complaints: 123

2013

Recall 1: Passenger airbag detonation

Recall 2: Cruise control cancelation not functioning 

Recall 3: Starter short circuit

Complaints: 158

2012

Recall 1: Passenger airbag detonation

Recall 2: Failing alternator issues

Complaints: 237

2011

Recall 1: Passenger airbag detonation

Recall 2: Failing alternator issues

Complaints: 178

2010

Recall 1: Passenger airbag detonation

Recall 2: Driver airbag rupture

Recall 3: Power steering leak

Complaints: 284

2009

Recall 1: Passenger airbag detonation

Recall 2: Driver airbag rupture

Recall 3: Fire extinguisher clogging

Recall 4: Front wheel spindle failure

Complaints: 122

JD Power Consumer Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score “measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.”

2021: 85/100

2020: 85/100

2019: 82/100

2018: 82/100

2017: 81/100

2016: 84/100

2015: 87/100

2014: 83/100

2013: 83/100

2012: 81/100

2011: 91/100

2010: 85/100

2009: 87/100

Video 

Enjoy John Davis at Motorweek sharing the full lineup of 2019 Challenger variants. 

FAQs About Dodge Challengers 

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

Q. Is the Dodge Challenger still sold?

A. Yes, it is, with the 2021 model starting at $28,295.

Q. What is the most powerful Dodge Challenger sold?

A. The 2018 SRT Demon produced 840 horsepower on 100-octane race fuel. 

Q. Is the Dodge Challenger available with all-wheel drive?

A. Yes, the Challenger GT trim is an AWD variant.

More Information 

Here are a few more resources you can use:

  1. Guide to bad alternator diagnosis.
  2. Exhaust guide for the Dodge Challenger.
EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Endurance

Save $350 on an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Get a Free Quote

Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Carchex

Nationwide coverage for cars new and old

CARCHEX has something for everyone. Have an old car? No problem. Live in California? Not an issue. CARCHEX 's plethora of warranty plans includes options for cars up to twenty years old with up to 250,000 miles, regardless of any existing or expired warranties. Click below or call 1-877-207-3304 for a free quote.

Get a Free Quote