Is The Dodge Durango Reliable? A 12-Point Breakdown
Over the years, the Dodge Durango has had some mixed reviews when it comes to reliability. So, you may
wonder, then is the Dodge Durango Reliable? The newer models of the Dodge Durango are known for their sleek muscle-car-looking body and powerful v6 and Hemi V8 engines. People also appreciate the towing capacity that comes with their Durango as it allows them to easily take their boat to the lake for the weekend or pull behind a travel trailer for a family camping trip. However, when it comes to reliability, how does the Dodge Durango rank when compared to other SUVs in the same class with similar towing capabilities?
Table of Contents
- Is The Dodge Durango Reliable?
- Common problems Dodge Durango owners encounter
Is The Dodge Durango Reliable?
Overall, the Dodge Durango ranks average or below average when it comes to its dependability compared to other SUVs in the same class. According to Consumer Reports, the 2020 Dodge Durango is ranked in the top 10 least reliable vehicles a driver could purchase.
That being said, the Dodge Durango still had some years where its dependability rating was average, and when properly maintained, the SUV could easily last 200,000 or even 250,000 miles. Even with the issues in the 2013, 2018, and 2020 models of the Dodge Durango, once the problems were taken care of, the vehicle still had many good years of service to provide.
So, what are the most common problems that Dodge Durango owners encounter and how are they handled? What makes 2013, 2018, and 2020 Dodge Durangos so unreliable? How did Consumer Reports come to this conclusion about the vehicle’s reliability? We will take a closer look at these questions and discuss what it takes to maintain a Dodge Durango to maximize its lifespan and how much an owner may expect to pay through the years for maintenance and repairs.
To answer these questions, first, we are going to review all of the Consumer Reports findings of the Dodge Durango to identify what problems are the most common and why these issues contributed to such a low-reliability ranking.
Also, when it comes to addressing these issues and keeping up with the regular maintenance schedule, we have consulted Dodge as well as some national auto repair shops to see what kind of maintenance schedule a Dodge Durango requires, what they recommended to be done about some of the more common issues encountered with this SUV, and how much each of these things may cost.
Common problems Dodge Durango owners encounter
Some of the most common issues that Dodge Durango owners reported included problems with the in-vehicle electronics, body hardware, and HVAC, as well as some minor transmission and other issues. Here are some more details concerning these common problems.
When it comes to the in-vehicle electronics of the Dodge Durango, one of the most common problems reported is water leaking into headlights, taillights, and race lights. The water gets into these light fixtures and causes the lights to burn out as well as creates electrical shorts throughout that can cause problems for other parts of the vehicle.
Other problems like making the radio inoperable and causing the entire vehicle control system to short. The problem stems from a faulty seal system in the light fixtures that cannot be serviced.
Instead, the entire light assembly needs to be replaced at a cost of $1,200 to $1,500. Also, just because you have the issue in one light and fix it, it does not mean that it will not happen again to a different light once it rains or when the vehicle is taken in for a car wash. Some owners have reported this happening multiple times to the same vehicle.
Other electrical issues concerning the Dodge Durango include alternator and battery issues causing the vehicle to simply turn off while the owner is driving and the report of some Dodge Durangos starting to smoke and eventually catching on fire. Once the fire had been put out by emergency services, the cause of the fire was almost always listed as electrical.
Overall, many Dodge Durango owners reported some type of electrical issue with their vehicle including problems with the wiring, instrument panel, ignition, battery, and starter.
The main concern about these in-vehicle electrical problems is that not only can they be annoying and expensive to repair, but they can also simply be dangerous. Having your taillights short out because of collected rainwater could lead to rear-end collisions.
A vehicle that shuts off without any notice when driving 65 mph down the freeway could lead to serious accidents. An SUV that can have an electrical system that starts to smoke and then catch fire could lead to serious injuries and even death.
When it comes to body integrity including seals, hardware, and assembly, Dodge Durango owners have reported a few issues, The most common issues are poor seals that allow water to enter spaces with electrical components and weak hardware that can crack or fall out. When it comes to cracked hardware, the most common place this occurs is on the exhaust manifold.
Due to the heat cycle, the exhaust manifold bolts will become brittle and crack. There have been also a few minor issues concerning the assembly of the Dodge Durango’s body, however, those issues typically are cheap to address and only require the installation of new hardware.
Many owners of the Dodge Durango have reported that they have experienced poor HVAC performance due to refrigerant leaks in the AC condenser. The only way to fix this issue is to replace the AC condenser which can cost upwards of $150 not including the labor charges for installation.
Minor transmission issues
The Dodge Durango has had quite a few issues reported about its transmission. The most common transmission issues include shifting delays, transmission slipping, gear grinding, gear jumping during acceleration, vehicle shaking, burning odor, and high-pitched whistling sounds.
If any of these transmission issues become apparent, then the vehicle will need to be serviced immediately to prevent any permanent damage to the transmission. Also, all Dodge Durango owners need to be diligent when it comes to changing their differential and transmission fluids at the regular intervals recommended by Dodge.
Another issue that stems from faulty seals on the body of the Dodge Durango has to do with the automatic door locks. When water enters certain spaces, the automatic locks may begin to lock and unlock intermittently and without cause. They simply will just start to lock and unlock freely.
To fix this issue, vehicle owners were required to replace the door and liftgate lock cylinder switches. A single lock cylinder switch replacement can cost anywhere from $15 to $15 before factoring in the cost of labor.
Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM)
The Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) is the electronic power relay. When it is not working properly it can cause warning lights to turn on and off, cause parts of the dashboard to not work properly, and even prevent someone from starting their vehicle.
To address this issue, Dodge did implement a recall of the 2011 Dodge Durango to replace the TIPM. This did resolve the issue for the 2011 model, but if the problem occurs in any of the other years or models of the Dodge Durango, the owner is stuck with the bill for replacing the TIPM.
The exhaust gas recirculation tube, or the EGR tube, has been known to become easily clogged on the Dodge Durango. When the EGR tube becomes clogged, it can cause the engine to stall and run extremely rough. To fix this problem, the EGR tube can be cleaned or a new one can be installed. A new EGR tube typically can cost up to $120 before labor is factored in.
The cowl screen of the Dodge Durango has been known to easily wear out. When the cowl screen fails, water can enter the vehicle causing various engine problems and turning on the check engine light. The MSRP of a cowl top panel for a Dodge Durango can cost as much as $351 not including labor.
Some Dodge Durangos, specifically the 2004 model, had serious engine problems developed with no prior warning. Some owners stated that their entire engine blow-out even though had been keeping up with all the required routine maintenance.
If the vehicle wasn’t under warranty, they were left with the decision to either scrap the vehicle or rebuild or replace the entire engine. A complete rebuild of a Dodge Durango engine can cost between $2,500 and $4,000 whereas an engine replacement can cost between $5,600 and $13,000 depending on the engine being put in.
Camshaft position sensor
A failed camshaft position sensor can cause the engine of a Dodge Durango to stall randomly as well as make it difficult for the engine to start up and turn over. The good news is that a new camshaft position sensor should cost no more than $50, however, labor costs will also need to be factored into the final cost.
Oil sludge buildup
The buildup of oil sludge in the engine can cause abrupt oil pressure drops in a Dodge Durango. These oil sludge buildups did not go away even after a proper oil and oil filter change.
To fix the problem, the entire engine had to be rebuilt or replaced, which is a very expensive process.
Considering all the problems that many Dodge Durango owners have reported, it can be said that the best Dodge Durangos to buy used are the 2015 and 2018 Dodge Durango RT Plus.
What routine maintenance does a Dodge Durango require?
The average Dodge Durango can cost about $10,360 to maintain through the first 10-years of ownership. That is approximately $1,480 more than the industry average for similar SUV models in the same class as the Dodge Durango. Additionally, it is estimated that a Dodge Durango may have a 30.99% chance of needing a major repair within its first 10-years.
That 30.99% chance is 9.49% more than other SUVs in the same class.
However, if properly maintained and any issues are resolved as soon as possible, a Dodge Durango can last between 200,000 and 250,000 miles. Here is a breakdown of some of the regular maintenance this vehicle requires.
- Every 10,000 miles, a Dodge Durango requires an oil change and a tire rotation.
- Every 20,000 miles, you should replace the cabin air filter and have the parking brake adjusted.
- Every 30,000 miles, the air intake filter will need to be replaced.
- Every 100,000 miles, the spark plugs and spark plug wires should be replaced.
- When a Dodge Durango reaches 120,000, the transmission and case transfer fluid should be exchanged and the transmission should be completely flushed. After these two procedures have been done at 120,000 miles, they should be done once a year from then on.
- When a Dodge Durango reaches 150,000 miles, a coolant flush is highly recommended.