Many cars are recalled each year, but this doesn’t mean you should necessarily avoid the affected models. Instead, these recalls should actually be seen as a good thing: it’s the automaker taking responsibility and rectifying safety concerns. When an automaker doesn’t address a widespread issue, that’s when you should start to worry. Dodge is no stranger to recalls, with one issued last year affecting over one million models. Currently, the automaker is also under fire from a class-action lawsuit concerning the door panels on certain models.
Dodge’s door panel issue
According to many Dodge Charger drivers, the door panels have a severe warping problem. The panels apparently peel away from the front door frame, rising up toward the windows. It seems to be more common with the front door panels, but the rear door panels can also experience this problem.
Some drivers have even seen peeling panels on the center console. They believe that the issue is likely caused by a combination of poor materials and increased sun exposure. Owners also claim that the issue is so widespread that some have to wait months for replacement parts.
In addition to detracting from the car’s appearance, owners claim that the warped door panels are a potential safety concern. They could hinder the side airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. Drivers are also concerned that the panels could block the air vents and door locks. One plaintiff involved with the case said that the peeling door panels cause exterior hot air to permeate the interior.
Details about the lawsuit
Dodge owners are suing FCA for breach of warranty and fraud by concealment. According to the plaintiffs in this case, FCA knew about the issue and intentionally sent the affected vehicles to dealerships anyway. They also believe that the extended wait for replacement parts is also a ploy from FCA to get more money, according to Car Complaints.
Drivers also claim that even the replacement parts will experience the peeling defect over time. Due to this, the lawsuit demands that FCA pays for any repair fees related to this problem. Although the issue would be covered by a standard warranty, the lawsuit says the issue occurs after the warranty is expired.
Several of the plaintiffs have also recounted stories of the issues caused by the defective panels. One driver saw her door panel so severely warped that she believed the car had been vandalized. Even after the panels were replaced, they started peeling again two weeks later.
Which Dodge cars are affected?
These defective door panels are most common on Dodge Chargers and Chrysler 300 vehicles from model years 2014-2021. Owners of Dodge Charger Daytonas, a limited-edition version of the car, have also been affected.
Since the Chrysler 300 is considered a luxury vehicle, owners justifiably claim that peeling door panels are unacceptable. It’s also an issue for both Dodge Charger models, which may be used for recreational track racing. Obviously, it would be a big safety hazard to have your door panels peeling while driving at high speeds.
Is FCA doing anything about it?
FCA has reportedly been very uncooperative with owners about this issue. Plaintiffs say that the company refuses to compensate drivers for any repairs if the vehicle is out of warranty. Some were able to get free one-time replacement panels through their insurance provider only to have the problem reoccur.
The automaker’s response is a little alarming considering that the warped door panels are so common. It’s a frequently discussed topic on Dodge Charger forums, where some users have published step-by-step DIY repair guides. However, these repairs don’t look perfect and could even decrease the car’s resale value.