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When buying a used car, it’s essential to keep the model year in mind. Maintenance issues tend to plague certain model years more than others. This same concept applies to the Dodge Durango.

While some models, like the 2009 and 2016 Dodge Durango, received very few complaints, others received hundreds. Some of these included hazardous issues like engine failure and fires. Here’s a look at the Dodge Durango models you should avoid at all costs. 

1. 1999 Dodge Durango

The 1999 Dodge Durango had the most complaints, with over 600 reports on CarComplaints. This high score indicates poor reliability.

The most reported problem category was engine issues. Of these, the most common issue drivers had was that their cars would shut down while driving. The average cost to fix this issue is $800, and the average mileage this problem occurred at was 134,000 miles. 

Other common issues included not shifting correctly and ABS and brake lights turning on. CarComplaints says the worst problems besides cars shutting down were defective ball joints and engine failure. Engine failure is the most expensive repair, costing $2,300 on average.

2. 2000 Dodge Durango 

A red 2000 Dodge Durango 4x4 Sport midsize SUV model
2000 Dodge Durango 4×4 Sport | FCA

The 2000 Dodge Durango is similar to the 1999 Durango regarding the problems drivers typically complain about. The most commonly reported type of issue on CarComplaints was engine problems, though at a lower rate than the 1999 model year. 

Oil sludge in engines was the most common issue, followed by the engine stalling/shutting down while driving. The average cost to fix the oil sludge in the engine is $3,800. On average, this fix is required when the car reaches 96,000 miles. Meanwhile, for stalls/shutdowns, the average cost is $300, and the average mileage is 130,000 miles. 

3. 2004 Dodge Durango 

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CarComplaints listed the 2004 Dodge Durango as the worst Dodge Durango model. This didn’t have to do with the total number of complaints since the 1999 model surpassed it. Instead, it had to do with the most common issues being very expensive. 

There are currently over 400 total complaints for the 2004 Durango. Once again, most of the issues were with the engine. The most severe problem, according to CarComplaints, was engine failure. The average cost to fix this was $5,000, and the average mileage was 115,000. 

The next most serious problem was an oil sludge in the engine, causing engine failure. This costs about $4,900 and usually occurs once the vehicle reaches 87,000 miles. Finally, another serious issue 2004 Durango drivers faced was instrument panel fires, which cost $18,000 to fix with an average mileage of 43,000 miles. 

Of the three, this is the most expensive issue, which is concerning considering that the average mileage is much lower than the other problems. 

Which Dodge Durango should I buy?

After all these terrible Dodge Durango models, you might wonder, “Which ones are the best?” Based on CarComplaints data, there are many different model years to consider.

All models from the 2016-2021 model years had few compared to the others. However, this could be because the models are relatively new, with problems not occurring until later in the vehicle’s lifespan.

If you’re looking for a reliable older Durango model, the 2009 model year may be your best pick. It has less than 10 complaints, compared to nearly 300 in one of its close successors, the 2011 Durango.