Never Buy a Dodge Journey From This Model Year

Dodge may be best known for its trucks or sports cars, but Dodge offers vehicles in other segments as well. One of these offerings in the SUV market is the Dodge Journey. Before you decide to take a journey in the Journey, though, be sure to avoid this one model year of the Dodge SUV.

The 2009 Dodge Journey

A Dodge vehicle on display at a dealership
A Dodge vehicle at a dealership | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Like many other cars, Dodge’s first try at the Journey resulted in a lot of problems. The 2009 Journey was the first model year, and it was, according to Car Complaints, by far its worst model year. For comparison, since the 2010 model year, Car Complaints has only logged, at most, about 120 complaints on any particular model year of the Journey. The 2009 Journey however, received nearly 1,000 complaints. 

The problems with the 2009 Journey were so bad that Car Complaints gave it the “Avoid Like the Plague” badge. The most common problem with the 2009 Journey had to do with its electronics. While the 2009 Journey’s electrical systems would fail every now and again, the worst offender actually had to do with its ignition system. 

The 2009 Journey would simply not start. The average mileage on this problem with 2009 Journey models wasn’t very high either as it averaged at between 46,000 to 60,000 miles. But they were so common that Car Complaints says that Dodge had to recall over 700,000 vehicles that had this issue. It cost about $600 on average to fix, and unfortunately, Car Complaints says that 11 crashes, 11 fires, and 11 injuries were caused by this issue. 

The 2009 Journey had safety issues too 

Other common problems with the 2009 Journey had to do with its safety systems. For some reason, the brakes on the 2009 Journey wore out sooner than expected. The average mileage on these Journeys was a mere 32,000 miles. On top of that, these worn-out brakes also caused some accidents, according to Car Complaints. 

About four crashes, one fire, and one injury were caused by this issue. One owner on Car Complaints also says that they’ve had to replace the brakes on their 2009 Journey six times in just nine years. Another owner said that they’ve had to replace the brakes after about 5,000 miles of use. These replacements aren’t cheap either. The average repair cost, according to Car Complaints, was $400. 

The 2009 Journey also suffered from a lot of airbag issues. The airbags would, at times, fail to deploy during an accident. Once again, just like the 2009 Journey’s brakes, these issues were appearing on relatively new cars. The average mileage was only 27,000 miles. Unfortunately, 19 injuries were caused by these airbag failures. That said, about 100,000 cars have been recalled due to similar airbag issues.

Is the Dodge Journey a good SUV?

The 2010 model year of the Journey had similar issues as the 2009 Journey did, though to a lesser extent. But, Car Complaints says that the Journey has received minimal complaints since the 2010 model year of the Journey, so that could mean that the latest Journeys are relatively problem-free. This is likely due to an update that Dodge gave to the Journey in 2011. 

However, Consumer Reports says that even after the 2011 update, the Journey still got low ratings from its owners. The average Journey got a one out of five for owner satisfaction, according to Consumer Reports. U.S. News says something similar about the 2019 Journey. U.S. News gave the 2019 Journey a 5.9 out of 10 rating, which makes the Journey the worst SUV in its class in 2019. 

So, while the Journey may be more reliable after its troubled 2009 and 2010 model years, it doesn’t seem like Dodge has fixed its other issues.