Most 7 Common Problems With Dodge Journey (+Causes and Solution)

The Dodge Journey is an attractive and very affordable SUV produced between 2009 and 2020. Although some drivers have shared their great ride experiences, the vehicle has a fair share of problems.

If you are a first-time car buyer or you are planning to replace your current ride, there are some problems with Dodge Journey that you should be aware of before committing to purchase.

Prior research will help you determine whether it is a bargain, or you are getting into more trouble than it is worth. Take a close look at the reliability and the commonly raised issues as discussed in this article.

Some of the most common problems of Dodge Journey include engine overheating, interior water leaks, transmission issues, electrical system problems, worn-out brakes, malfunctioning remote keyless entry system, and head gasket issues.

Follow for more details about these problems, causes, and solutions.

Is a Dodge Journey a Reliable Car?

The Dodge Journey has been rated from as low as 2.0 to as high as 4.0 out of 5.0. Some models have had serious issues such as transmission and engine failures and the highest number of complaints compared to others.

For example, the models launched between 2009 and 2012 were very problematic and settling for such means you will have to deal with issues daily.

On the other hand, the 2020 model had fewer complaints meaning it is more reliable compared to others. Therefore, the reliability of a Dodge Journey depends on the model you settle for.

The Most Common Problems with Dodge Journey

01. Engine Overheating

Any Dodge Journey manufactured between 2009 and 2018 may have issues with engine overheating at any time during its existence. Journeys from as low as 20,000 miles to over 80,000 miles have experienced this issue.

Debris in the engine causing coolant flow issues

Debris tends to block the cylinder head of the thermostat housing at the coolant port which prevents the right amount of coolant from reaching the engine leading to overheating. When this issue is not fixed on time, it can cause severe damage to the engine.

Coolant Leaks

Most radiators are made up of plastics and metals and the plastic parts can crack and become brittle over time causing a coolant leakage and when the overflow reservoir has held enough, the coolant fluid may spill over.


As a result of these causes, you may experience poor gas mileage and the temperature light, or the engine light may turn on.

To prevent further damage, take your vehicle to a professional mechanic and have the debris removed from the engine or have a thermostat housing or radiator replacement.

02. Interior Water Leaks

Some drivers have had to bear issues with Dodge Journey in their rides from the unexplained dampness due to water leaks at around 50,000 miles.

They have filed complaints such as wet floor under the driver’s seat and leaks near the rear side of their vehicle which may drench the carpet and floor. Mostly, the leaks appear near vents, windows, and headliners. Here is the symptoms and causes are:

Improperly sealed body seams

A Journey with improperly sealed body seams is likely to let in water creating unexplained dampness when exposed to rain.

Leaking water pumps

Water pumps may leak from the water pump gasket, or the shaft seal and the weight of this issue depends on the severity of the leak.


Interior water leaks can be fixed easily. Have the leaking areas properly sealed and the water pumps replaced.

03. Transmission Issues

2014 and 2018 Dodge Journey owners have had a rough experience with the transmission despite the nice exterior features of these models.

Within the first week of owning the vehicle, drivers have raised their concerns citing powertrain issues especially, when steering or accelerating which causes abnormal sounds while shifting.

Causes Includes

Since most Journeys come with a factory warranty, drivers have tried taking their vehicles back to Dodge dealerships but have ended up even more disappointed as the dealers cannot identify the causes of these issues.

However, the powertrain issues can be associated with the Journey’s software which is more likely to be noticed when using cruise control.


Take your vehicle to the nearest Dodge dealership and have the software for the Power Control Module (PCM) updated, it might resolve the problem.

04. Electrical System Problems

All components, from the transmission to power travel to the engine, and other interior parts in all vehicle models rely on the electrical system to function properly and the Dodge Journey is not an exemption. A failure of this system can cause plenty of problems.

At around 60,000 miles, some drivers have complained of their vehicles not starting at all or shutting off in the middle of a journey forcing them to tow their vehicles to the nearest dealership, especially with the 2009 model.

Others have had the radio volume increase while driving, the system shutting down and then restarting and going back to normal all by itself.

Some owners complained of headlights and taillights illuminating on their own and certain warning indicators illuminating randomly and then turning off. Also, the air conditioner turns up on its own and all these occur unpredictably. Some causes are included here.

Faulty key fob or starter motor

A faulty key fob or starter motor can cause ignition issues like the car shutting off or the engine failing to start completely. The vehicle’s doors are also likely to lock and unlock uncontrollably.

Faulty Wiring

A poorly engineered wiring harness can cause multiple connectivity issues such as the electrical system operating on its own.


Replacing the key fob or the starter motor may help in resolving the issue some ignition issues while engaging a professional mechanic for a further diagnosis regarding the connectivity issues may resolve faulty wiring.

05. Brakes Wearing Out Prematurely

Most drivers have complained of premature wear of brakes and rotors, automatic locking of calipers while using them, depressed brake pedals after use, sticking breaks, the ABS light staying on, and noisy breaks, among others.

It is common with Dodge Journeys manufactured in 2009, 2010, and 2018 and these problems occurred at around 30,000 miles. Symptoms and causes are:

Damaged Caliper

Brake discs use pistons to push brake pads into the rotor. Caliper pistons have rubber seals around them and when they are damaged, the piston loses its free movement.

Also, when junks or bad shims get into the caliper slides, the pads may fail to disengage with the rotor. Faulty caliper bolts are likely to cause sticking brakes.

Damaged Brake Line

When the metal or the rubber brake lines are pushed into the chassis, the lines may be crimped reducing the flow of fluid through them or they may begin leaking which reduces overall pressure causing depressed pedals.


Visit your nearest dealership to have the entire brake system inspected which includes calipers, brake discs, brake lines, master cylinder, pad, and rotors, to determine the actual underlying issue before it escalates.

06. Malfunctioning Remote Keyless Entry System

A remote keyless entry system malfunction is one of the issues with 2017 Dodge Journey associated with 2009 to 2017 models and occurs at around 60,000 miles. Drivers have experienced intermittent issues when trying to lock, unlock, or use the remote start.

Malfunctioning Wireless Ignition Node Software

The remote keyless entry system may work intermittently due to an issue with the component’s software.


Performing a software update may resolve this issue but if the problem continues, you can try changing your key fob or contact a professional mechanic for further diagnosis.

07. Head Gasket Issues

Head gasket issues begin with performance issues and as they progress, they can cause severe engine damage. Drivers with 2014 Dodge Journeys have mostly complained of cracked heads gaskets which happen at around 70,000 miles.


The most common causes of a blown head gasket include head gasket failure, bad thermostats, low engine coolant, and poor coolant flow. These causes are mostly related to the cooling system, and they can result in engine overheating.


Perform a compression test to identify whether the head gaskets are damaged. You may replace those that are damaged or have a professional mechanic do it for you.

What Is The Dodge Journey Worst Years?

If you are thinking of investing in a Dodge Journey used model, beware of these models:

2009 Dodge Journey

Despite being the first ever model, it has also been the worst model with the highest number of complaints. Electrical issues, premature brake wear, battery failure, and a problematic remote keyless entry system are some of the most common problems associated with it.

Dodge Journey Model 2010

There were no notable improvements and it had similar issues to the first model. It had a ton of engine issues, and the vehicle would vibrate a lot when applying brakes. Drivers also complained that the battery drained so quickly.

2011 Year Dodge Journey

There were fewer electrical complaints filed, unlike the previous models. However, it had brake issues that would cause the steering wheel to shake when applying them and interior accessories issues like the radio switching off or increasing volume on its own.

2012 Dodge Journey

Despite being the fourth model in the production line, it could not be relied on. Brakes would wear out easily and the electrical system was also an issue. The air conditioning system has been a nuisance, especially to people living in areas with extreme temperatures.

Model Year 2013 Dodge Journey

Brake and electrical problems had finally been fixed with this fifth model. However, other problems still emerged. Some drivers reported transmission slip and failure while the air conditioning would fail or turn on by itself.

2015 Dodge Journey

Most issues with the previous models were recycled to this one too. Some drivers had to bear transmission and engine issues which would lead to a frequent failure of both. Some engines would shut down while driving.

What Is The Dodge Journey Best Years?

Despite a bad record of  some issues with Dodge Journey, there are better options to choose from and still place a value on your money. Here is a list of the best Dodge Journey to date.

2015 Dodge Journey

Many drivers have enjoyed a good ride with this model, and it is rated 3.5 out of 5.0. It had a great interior design, safety features, and a better fuel economy compared to previous models.

2016 Dodge Journey

Although the vehicle lacks better fuel economy and safety features, the three-row SUV remains outstanding with an excellent driving experience. The V6 is highly recommended over the four-cylinder counterpart.

2017 Dodge Journey

It comes with two engine options, the four-cylinder, and the V6 engines although they both have a slow transmission when driving. The cabin is designed to offer maximum space and the cargo space is up to 68 cubic feet.

2018 Dodge Journey

The 2018 Dodge Journey model is proof of reliability and capabilities. With an option of a V6 engine, it gives you better acceleration and a worthwhile driving experience. Handling and steering surpass other models by far.

2019 Dodge Journey

If you are looking for an SUV with more power, the 2019 Dodge Journey will serve you exactly that. Though it lacks Dodge’s Uconnect infotainment system, it remains a better option compared with some previous models.

2020 Dodge Journey

Unlike all other models, this model stands out in reliability. If you are looking for a decent ride for your family on a low budget, you got it here. It is designed with a spacious and comfortable interior.

How Many Miles Can My Dodge Journey Last?

With a regular maintenance schedule, the Dodge Journey can last up to 150,000 miles to 200, 000 miles with no apparent issues. If you drive at an average rate of 15,000 miles per year, your Dodge Journey can serve you for up to 10 years and above.

How Long Does a Dodge Journey Transmission Last?

The Dodge Journey transmissions have a lifespan of around 130,000 miles to 200,000 miles if well maintained. Once you hit 100,000 miles you should start preparing your pockets for a transmission replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why were Dodge Journeys Discontinued?

2020 marked the end of the road for Dodge Journeys to revitalize and update Dodge’s lineup and focus on those vehicles with iconic performances. Despite the Dodge Journey truck issues, Dodge manufacturers have the best muscle car lineup in the world.

Is Dodge Journey expensive to maintain?

A Dodge Journey repairs and maintenance cost about $10,000 or more during the first decade which is by far more than the industry’s average repair costs for iconic SUV models. There is a higher probability of increased maintenance costs given the unending issues aired by Dodge drivers.

Is the Dodge Journey fast?

Despite coming in options of four-speed and six-speed automatic transmissions, the Journey has a slow acceleration which limits driving at high speeds, especially on highways. It requires a downshift to accelerate at freeways.

Final Thoughts

Having discussed the most common problems with 2009 to 2020 Dodge Journey, the best and the worst model years, you stand on better ground to choose your next Dodge Journey model. When you understand what to expect, you know well how to prepare and manage any problem that may arise.