11 Most Common Dodge Challenger Problems (Explained)

The third-generation Dodge Challenger has been around since 2008, but it continues to be one of the most popular muscle cars in the market.

It’s received numerous updates over the years and has loads of powertrain options ranging from 300 hp to almost 900 hp.

In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common problems and issues of the retro-inspired third-generation Dodge Challenger.

1. Hemi Tick

Hemi Tick is probably one of the most widely talked about issues of the V8 powered Dodge Challenger.

The Dodge Challenger’s Hemi V8 normally makes a lot of noises especially from the fuel injectors. But many owners have also noticed a metal ticking sound that doesn’t go away even after the engine has warmed up.

The sound, which is commonly referred to as the Hemi tick, is often caused by the lifter roller in the valvetrain hitting and damaging the camshaft.

This issue can occur in all model years of the Dodge Challenger from 2008 to 2023 equipped with the Hemi V8. 

There are more reports of Hemi tick in the 5.7-liter V8, but the 6.1, 6.2 and 6.4-liter engines are not entirely immune. 

It’s also common in other Dodge vehicles equipped with Hemi V8s like the Ram 1500.

Lifter and camshaft failures are also common in early model years of the Challenger from 2009 to 2016.

Mileage doesn’t seem to have an impact since it can happen to Challengers with just a few hundred miles.

The Hemi tick is more likely to appear if the car has sat unused for a while because there isn’t enough lubrication in the valvetrain at startup.

It’s also more pronounced around the passenger side of the engine.

Here’s how a few Challenger owners described their experience with Hemi tick on  ChallengerTalk.com:

“Mine was loud new, a little better around 4-5,000 miles and then mostly gone by 22,000. Now at 37,000 it’s still a noisy engine, especially when cold, but the tick (or ticks, as it seems there are several sources for the noise) is bearable and often non-existent.”

“My 2016 392 has ticked from the day I bought it new. After 5 years of daily driving, oil changes on schedule, cold starts in -40 degree weather, track use in summer, it still ticks just the same. But it also has all the power it should, sounds amazing when I step on it, and drives great overall.”

Other owners on Hellcat.org had this to say:

“My 2018 T/A 392 went through 2 cam replacements under warranty for this issue.”

“Wiped out a mds lifter at 59k with my 6.4 challenger a few years ago.” 

In a lot of cases, using high quality synthetic oil and frequent oil changes makes the Hemi tick go away.

However, if the tick doesn’t go away and gets louder, there may be an actual problem that need to be dealt with. 

Some owners have had other issues upon hearing the Hemi tick such as:

  • Misfires
  • Rough running
  • Check engine light
  • Metal shavings in oil
  • Lifter damage
  • Camshaft damage

The only way to really verify whether or not you have a real Hemi tick problem is to check the valvetrain for damage.

Fixing the Hemi tick usually requires replacing the lifters and the camshaft. Most dealers charge around $5,000 for this type of repair since it requires tearing apart the cylinder head.

2. Exhaust Manifold Leaks

The Challenger’s Hemi engine is also prone to exhaust leaks which can often be mistaken for the Hemi tick.

Aside from cracks in the exhaust manifold, the bolts are also known to break over time which also cause leaks.

Exhaust manifold leaks can affect all model years of the third gen Challenger equipped with the V8 from 2008 to 2023.

In a lot of cases, the exhaust leak and the noise associated with it disappear as the engine reaches operating temperature because the metal expands to create a good seal.

Here’s how a few owners on ChallengerTalk.com described their experience:

“2009 5.7L Hemi tick / flutter on startup. Recently, at 55k, on start up, (engine hot or cold) I would hear a tick, then transition to flutter, then gone. Went to a muffler shop, had exhaust leaks at every single clamp on the exhaust. Had the clamps removed and pipes welded. Problem persisted. Went back to muffler shop today and it’s clearly an exhaust manifold leak on passenger side. The damn bolt(s) popped right off. Called dealer, covered by lifetime powertrain warranty.” 

“I’ve got a 2016 SRT 392 automatic with 35,000 miles and have been hearing a “ticking” noise when accelerating or going up a hill. Took it to the dealer today and was able to reproduce the problem for the service rep. After examining the car, they’re telling me the exhaust manifold on the left side is cracked.”

Exhaust leaks don’t lead to catastrophic engine damage and are quite cheap to fix. 

People who’d rather not deal with exhaust leaks again usually upgrade to aftermarket headers. These have the added benefit of improving the exhaust sound and increasing engine power.

However, if you live in a state with strict emissions tests, you’ll have to find a CARB compliant header or just stick with the stock exhaust manifold.

Related: Dodge Challenger Beeping? (17 Main Causes)

3. Timing Chain Failure

Early model years of the Challenger with the 5.7-liter V8 have had many reports of timing chain failures.

These timing chain problems were often caused by the plastic timing chain guides wearing out and causing slack in the chain. 

This was a fairly common problem for the 2009 to 2013 model years.

Other vehicles with the same engine like the Dodge Charger and Chrysler 300 also had similar issues.

Here is how a few owners described their experience on ChallengerTalk.com: 

“My mom has a 2010 Challenger with the 5.7 Hemi. She has had the timing chain break once prior to the recall which was covered under warranty. Then had the recall completed. She just last week had it break on her again. She is at about 280,000 km on the car.” 

“My 2010 R/T had the T/C break at 55,326 miles.”

“Add another 2013 5.7 auto to the list. mine went at just under 82000 miles.” 

“My TC failed at 42k, currently at 101k and still running strong.”

The weak timing chain components were eventually updated after the 2013 model year with stronger aluminum parts.

Dodge also announced a recall in 2014 to update the timing chain components in older Challengers.

When the timing chain breaks, it can also cause major engine damage, so it’s best to check whether your car has had the recall done and has the updated timing chain components.

4. Cylinder Head Problems

The first few model years of the Dodge Challenger’s 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar engine had a manufacturing defect that would eventually cause drivability issues.

The V6 Pentastar was first used in the Challenger for the 2011 model year. 

This cylinder head issues can affect the 2011 to early 2013 models.

Common symptoms of cylinder head issues include:

  • Rough idle
  • Misfires
  • Check engine light
  • P0304 trouble code

In some cases, the left cylinder head can also crack. 

Here’s how a few owners on ChallengerTalk.com described their experience: 

“Just had a head replaced at the dealer. 35k on the odometer, mostly highway. 2012 SXT model. Wife babies the car. The check engine light came on and she asked me what to do. I started the car and it idled rougher than my 1972 Bronco. I told her to take it to the dealer. They told me they would have to replace the cylinder head.”

“Ticking sound and P0304 Cylinder Misfire 4= Cylinder Head replacement on drivers side bank. This morning my check engine light came on and I scanned vehicle and got OBDII code P0304 Cylinder 4 misfire, took it to my local Dodge dealer and the worst was confirmed. I noticed several months ago a slight tick and a little rough idle but paid no attention to it. 2012 Dodge Challenger 3.6L V6 Pentastar.”

Chrysler eventually updated the V6 engine’s cylinder heads to make them stronger and less prone to issues.

The only way to fix this issue is to replace the defective cylinder head which will cost a few thousand dollars in parts and labor.

Fortunately, Chrysler and Dodge also extended the warranty for the left cylinder head on affected model years to 10 years or 150,000 miles.

5. Worn Rocker Arm Assembly

Older V6 Challengers equipped with the 3.5-liter engine can suffer from bad rocker arm assemblies.

The rocker assemblies of the valvetrain are made out of aluminum and can wear out over time and eventually start making loud ticking noises.

This is a common issue on V6 Challengers from 2009 to 2010, especially as they approach 100,000 miles.

Here’s how a few owners described their issues on ChallengerTalk.com:

“My 09 3.5 has had this same problem on and off for a while now but last week I started it up after sitting for several days and it knocked like an old diesel.” 

“3.5L V6. I have just over 36K miles on it. I just moved down to Georgia and the temperature has skyrocketed and now she is ticking a lot, noticeably as I drive. Went to the dealership today. They said it’s most likely the rocker arm and it is still covered under powertrain warranty. They said it’s a common defect in the 3.5s.”

Fortunately, new rocker arm assemblies aren’t all that expensive at around $250 per side.

These can be easily replaced by an experienced mechanic in about 1 to 2 hours so the total repair cost shouldn’t be more than $1,000.

6. Water Pump Failure

Premature water pump failures are a fairly common problem for the third gen Challenger.

Although water pumps are considered a wear and tear item that eventually need to get replaced, there are many Challenger owners who have had to replace theirs at 30,000 to 50,000 miles.

This is a common problem in all model years of the third gen Dodge Challenger from 2008 to 2023.

Common symptoms of a faulty water pump include:

  • Lound bearing noise
  • Play in the water pump shaft
  • Coolant leak
  • Overheating

Here is how a few owners described their experience on ChallengerTalk.com: 

“My 2010 5.7L water pump shaft bearing seized around 55k miles – luckily I caught the rising coolant temps before roasting the motor.”

“I had to replace my water pump , Scat Pack 2015, 20k miles, there was a strange noise.” 

“My water pump failed on my 2010 R/T at 65,000 miles. It sounded horrible, the bearings were just chewing themselves up. I checked the pulleys and I could move the water pump pulley quite a bit. I had it fixed before it failed, probably didn’t have much longer to go.”

“My 2015 SP Shaker 6.4 water pumpjust died today with just over 32k on the odometer. A couple days ago it started making “bearing” noises in the morning at cold startup but would quite down in a couple minutes. This morning the noise wouldn’t stop. You guessed it…. water pump died. Antifreeze squirting our from pulley.” 

Replacing the water pump isn’t too difficult and can be done by any experienced mechanic in an hour or so.

A new OEM water pump costs around $200 online, but many enthusiasts go with aftermarket units from Gates which costs half the price and have larger bearings and a metal impeller instead of the plastic ones in the OEM units.

If the engine is allowed to overheat repeatedly, the cylinder head and the valve seats can get damaged, requiring a more expensive rebuild.

Related: 16 Best & Worst Dodge Challenger Years (Pictures & Stats)

7. Supercharger Issues

Early model years of the Challenger Hellcat had lots of reports of premature supercharger bearing issues.

The bearing is known to make a loud metal grinding or whining noise even when the car is just idling. Over time, it can get louder. The noise can also appear at very low miles.

This is a common issue in the 2015 to 2016 model years, but newer model years, as well as the supercharged SRT Demon, can also have similar issues.

Here is how a few owners on Hellcat.org described their experience:

“My 2015 is at 4,998. Parked it for 3 months, did a few mods, and when we fired it back up, the bearings are very loud. Sounds like an old ford power steering pump.”

“Got my 6/2016 build Hellcat today. 11,200 miles on it and SC has distinct whining and ticking sound at idle (heard through cabin).”

My early 2015 Cat supercharger started making a “whining” noise with 16K miles, took it to my small town dealer and got it replaced within the week! 

A good way to tell if it’s the supercharger bearing that’s making noise is if you rev the engine then turn it and still hear the noise as the supercharger spins down.

Lots of superchargers were replaced under warranty, but if you’re already out of warranty you can’t just replace the bearing itself.

At the very least, you’ll probably have to replace the front snout of the supercharger which costs around $2,000. Meanwhile, a new OEM supercharger costs around $7,000 online.

A bad supercharger bearing doesn’t necessarily mean the supercharger will fail soon. Some owners just live with the noise for thousands of miles without any issues.  

8. Paint and Body Issues

Many Challenger owners have noticed paint and body panel issues even when their cars were just a few weeks old.

Some of the common complaints include:

  • Soft paint
  • Overspray
  • Bubbling paint
  • Ripples or dents in body panels
  • Rust issues
  • Cracked rocker panels

Paint and rust issues seem to plague all model years of the third gen Dodge Challenger from 2008 up to the latest ones.

The rocker panels and rear wheel wells are also notorious for having rust problems over time.

The ripples or mysterious dents that appear after a few months of ownership, as well as the cracked rocker panels, seem to have become less of an issue after the 2015 model year. 

Here is how a few owners described their issues on ChallengerTalk.com:

“My 2020 SPWB has developed a paint issue around the hood air intake. Small spots of paint wearing off on both sides. Car has 2300 miles.”

“We have a couple of 2015’s in our club. 2 of them in B5 Blue, both of which have a “drip” at the back of the rear wheel well, and the front of the front wheel well, right where they line up with the fascias.” 

“My 2014 has “mystery dents” if you look at it from the right angle. I looked at 2 other 2013 and 2014 Challengers on our lot and sure enough they had small dents or “waves” on the front fenders as well, but it’s only visible from a certain angle.”

“My 2015 SRT had none of these ripples at purchase time. Now I have almost identical vertical ripples directly over the front wheels on each fender. You have to look hard to see them, but once you do, they really stand out.”

“I own a 2011 Dodge Challenger SRT8. I bought the car in June 2011 and in July I noticed a dent above the driver door and further back on the roof there was a spot where the primer was showing through.”

There’s not much that can be done about the paint issues apart from getting the affected areas resprayed.

You can install PPF (Paint Protection Film) or apply ceramic coating but this will only help prevent future paint issues.

The dents can be corrected by a PDR (Paintless Dent Repair) but you’ll have to pay for it yourself.

9. Screen Delamination

A lot of Dodge Challenger owners have had issues with their Uconnect screen failing prematurely.

This is a very common problem for the 2017 to 2018 model years of the Dodge Challenger with the 8.4-inch screen.

These screens have been known to have issues within 1 to 2 years from new.

Owners have reported problems such as:

  • Bubbles in the screen
  • Ghost touches
  • Infotainment glitches

Here’s how a few owners described their experience: 

“I have some bubbles forming at the top of my 8.4 screen, like a separation or something. My car is a 2017 less than 2 years old.”

“I have this exact problem with my 2017 with the bubble line and severe ghost touches.” 

“I’m having the same delamination issue with my uconnect 8.4 touchscreen. It acts like I touch different parts of the screen randomly. I have a 2018 Challenger R/T with 56K miles.”

Dealers typically charge around $1,400 to get a new screen installed. 

You can get the digitizer replaced by an electronics technician for a few hundred dollars if you can find a replacement screen. 

10. Sagging Headliner

Early model years of the Challenger had issues where the headliner would detach and sag.

It usually starts sagging around the rear edge of the sunroof opening and near the driver’s side window.

Headliner problems are more common in the early model years of the Dodge Challenger from 2008 to 2012.

Here is how a few owners described their experience:

“My 2011 had to get the headliner replaced a week after I got it. They had to remove the windshield.”

“I just purchased a 2014 Challenger R/T with the same driver side headliner separation issue.”

“I just noticed my headliner hanging down behind the sunroof. I can push it back up so it’s held in by the rubber weatherstripping but that’s the only thing holding it in.”

Dodge did release a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) which recommends adding new fasteners and glue to the headliner. 

Despite the TSB, some dealers were only able to fix the problem by installing a new headliner.

Many owners have also just resorted to using different workarounds using different adhesives. 

11. Stuck Sunroof

Lots of older third gen Dodge Challengers have had issues where the sunroof gets stuck in the vent position.

Once it’s stuck, the sunroof buttons seem to become completely unresponsive.

This is only a common issue in the early model years from 2008 to 2010.

Here’s how a few owners described their experience: 

“I pushed the button to open the sunroof, but instead of opening, it vented a little bit. So I pushed the close button but it wouldn’t close. I pushed the vent button and it vented all the way up, but no matter how much I pushed the close button, it wouldn’t budge.”

“My sunroof did this last summer. I went to open it, it opened a little and was stuck that way. No matter what I did it would not close. I took it to the dealership and they were able to get it to close and it worked after that. They found that it threw a fault code so they ordered a new motor saying that if it through a fault code it probably will die soon.”

The first thing you can try if your Dodge’s sunroof gets stuck is to hold down the close button for 10 seconds.

This will reset the system and it will then close normally with just one touch.

If holding down the close button doesn’t work, go to the fusebox in the trunk and pull out the number 44 fuse, wait a minute or two, then reinstall it.

Other owners simply waited overnight and their sunroof started working again. 

Related: Where Are Dodge Challengers Made? (Solved & Explained)

Dodge Challenger Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Straight line performance
  • Comfortable ride 
  • Classic muscle car looks
  • Decent handling for its size and weight
  • Reliable engines and transmissions
  • Plenty of high powered engine options
  • Available all-wheel drive

Cons

  • Not as nimble handling as rivals
  • Some build quality issues
  • Huge blind spots in the rear
  • V8 fuel economy

What Do The Reviews Say?

“The Challenger is always a hoot to drive. With the 6.4-liter V8, power is readily available in any gear at almost any speed. We tested the R/T Scat Pack Widebody with the manual transmission. Zero to 60 mph took just 4.9 seconds at the Edmunds test track. It’s properly quick but slower than other modern muscle cars by a few tenths.”

“The Dodge’s beefy size makes in-town maneuvering a bit tough, but it’s a champ out on the open road. The Challenger is pretty capable on curvy roads too. Well, as long as you don’t try driving it like a nimble sports car.”

“The Challenger is a king among the muscle coupes in passenger and cargo space. It’s far more practical than its crosstown competition and has the roomiest cabin in the segment. The rear seat isn’t quite fit for all sizes, but it’s far bigger than competitors’ back seats and offers three seats versus two.”

“Apple CarPlay and Android Auto accompany the Challenger’s already user-friendly Uconnect system. It’s very easy to use with multiple solutions for the same commands. But the interface looks a bit dated compared to those in the rest of the class.”

2023 Dodge Challenger | Edmunds

What’s the Resale Value of a Dodge Challenger?

Here’s a quick look at the base Dodge Challenger SXT’s used pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.

YearMileagePrice
202216,425$28,995
202131,796$25,997
202041,495$24,490
201951,849$23,590
201856,273$22,998
201765,178$20,998
201675,404$19,995
201586,656$17,888
2014100,896$14,940
2013115,620$12,577

Related: 10 Most Common Dodge Viper Problems (Explained)

Author:

  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...

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