The 4 Most Common Dodge Challenger Problems Reported to RepairPal Include Transmission and Fuel Tank Issues
The Dodge Challenger is a popular muscle car, in production since 2008. It’s known for its powerful engine options and timeless good looks. It borrows many of its drivetrains from Ram trucks, making it more reliable than most sports cars. But there are some issues multiple owners have reported to the RepairPal website. The four most reported problems include transmission shift quality issues, difficulties filling the fuel tank, radio damage from disconnecting the battery, and a loud power steering system.
#1 – Rough automatic transmission downshifts
First, let’s take a look at automatic transmission shift quality issues. If you’re a lucky three-pedal Challenger owner, you can just jump to #2.
This problem is usually characterized by a harsh 4th-3rd downshift. But it can also manifest as other shifting issues.
According to RepairPal, 99 people have reported this problem. Transmission issues have been reported on 2009, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 model-year cars. What’s more, the average mileage for vehicles with transmission issues is just 34,878. Yikes.
Thankfully, revised transmission control module (TCM) software has been released to address these concerns. So if you are considering buying an automatic Challenger, call a dealership and share its VIN to find out if it has had a recall for transmission software. If you already own an automatic Challenger, you might want to do the same thing.
#2 – Radio damage from battery disconnects
Another common problem that has been reported is damage to the Dodge Challenger’s radio when you disconnect and reconnect the battery. Obviously, you should be able to disconnect a car’s battery without damaging anything, so this is concerning. But while this problem could be costly, it is less of a safety concern than a transmission failure.
Luckily, only five people have reported this problem to RepairPal. There are only reports of “My Gig” radios installed in 2008 and 2009 Challengers being damaged. This was the predecessor to the current UConnect infotainment system. The average mileage for vehicles with this problem is 50k.
RepairPal suspects that these Challengers suffer an electrical spike when the battery gets reconnected. If you’re a savvy DIYer, you can just pull the radio fuse out of the fuse panel before you reconnect your battery cable, or make sure your mechanic knows about the issue when they are working on your 2008 or 2009 Challenger.
That may sound like a pain. But it’s certainly better than blowing a radio and then blowing $276-$288 on a replacement radio.
#3 – An obnoxiously loud steering system
Next, some Challenger owners report a honk, hiss, or groan noise during low-speed parking lot maneuvers. This issue is caused by the steering system. It is probably worse at low speeds and while parking because cranking the steering wheel all the way to a lock position stresses the steering system
Repair Pal has received thirteen reports of this problem. It can plague 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 Challengers. The average mileage for vehicles with this problem is 34,631. RepairPal’s technicians think replacing the power steering return hose may stop the noise. But If it does not, you might have to replace the steering rack and pinion. That could be very expensive. Like $2,051-$2,149 expensive.
#3 – Awkward fuel ups
Finally, we will discuss fueling difficulties. This problem is more of an annoyance than a dealbreaker. It is characterized by a fuel tank that is hard to fill and/or a fuel fill nozzle that shuts off repeatedly while fueling. This is because a problem with the car triggers the fuel pump’s overfill sensor.
Only five people have reported this problem to RepairPal. The problem only seems to be affecting 2008 and 2009 Dodge Challengers. The average mileage for vehicles with this problem is 65,000.
Several systems could be tripping the overfill sensor: the vapor recirculation tube, fuel fill tube, or EVAP system canister control valve.
The Dodge Challenger suffers relatively few issues
Overall, the most commonly reported problems for the Dodge Challenger are transmission shift quality issues, fuel tank difficulties, radio damage from battery disconnection, and a loud power steering system. It’s good to keep an eye out for all of these issues. But for comparison’s sake, other sports cars with major recalls have logged hundreds of complaints on RepairPal. So while the Dodge Challenger is far from perfect, its old-school drivetrains make it a relatively reliable choice.
Next, read about the cheapest new Challenger with a V8 or find out more about the Dodge Challenger in the video below:
Learn about the history of the Challenger in this final video: