The Dodge Charger combines the looks and performance of a muscle car with the practicality of a large 4-door sedan.
Although the modern Dodge Charger first debuted in 2006, it’s still very popular due to its affordable price and powerful engine options.
In this article, we’ll take a look at some of the common issues and problems Dodge Charger owners have had to deal with over the years.
Table of Contents
1. Hemi Tick
The Hemi tick is probably one of the most talked about problems of the modern Dodge Charger.
It’s normal for Dodge’s modern Hemi V8 to make lots of noises, especially from the fuel injectors. But many owners have also noticed a metallic 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 affect sixth and seventh generation Dodge Chargers with a Hemi V8 from 2006 to the latest model years.
It’s more common in the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 but that’s likely because Dodge sold a lot more of these engines than the larger and more powerful ones.
It also affects other Dodge and Chrysler vehicles with a Hemi V8 like the Ram 1500 and Challenger.
Here’s how a few owners described their engine ticking issues on ChargerForums.com:
“My ‘13 Pursuit has developed the horrible Hemi Tick and at only 112K. It still drives good and strong with no misses or check lights.”
“I had the same thing with my ’14 Charger. Tick tick tick, let it go for six month because I am an idiot. No codes ever thrown or drivability issues. Found an indie shop that knows Dodge. Turns out a single rocker roller was frozen. Destroyed the cam. Replaced that cam and all rockers on each side. Cost about $2600 but that included a few other things.’
“Purchased my Charger summer of 2016 new. Kept up with maintenance it was my daily driver never raced it id say i took good care of her. Didnt know about the Hemi tick until it was too late. Car was idling weird ticking noise and then a solid check engine light came on. So i took it to the dealer the day after thanks giving. Service advisor gave me the news the next day and said they found metal shavings in my oil. The following week they started tearing down the engine and sure enough worn cam lobes and lifters.”
“I had it happen at 101k on my 2013 392. One thousand miles out of warranty. I paid $2,700 just under 3 years ago for the repair and now and am at 151,000 miles without any issues.”
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 needs to be dealt with.
Some owners have had other issues upon hearing the Hemi tick such as:
- 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 Leak
Lots of Hemi powered Dodge Chargers eventually develop an exhaust manifold leak that’s often mistaken for the dreaded Hemi tick.
The Hemi’s exhaust manifold bolts have a history of breaking or becoming loose causing an exhaust leak that creates a ticking or pulsing sound.
This issue can affect all model years of the Dodge Charger equipped with the V8 from 2006 up to the newer models.
The noise usually goes away after the engine has warmed up because the metals have expanded enough to seal up the leak.
In some cases, the leak can be caused by a worn gasket or cracks in the manifold itself.
Many older Chargers also eventually develop leaks in the flex pipe that connects to the catalytic converter or have exhaust valves that rattle.
Exhaust leaks don’t lead to catastrophic engine damage and are quite cheap to fix if you take it to a muffler shop.
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.
3. Timing Chain Failure
Some model years of the sixth and seventh generation Dodge Charger were prone to premature timing chain failures.
Timing chain failures can affect the 2009 to 2013 model years of the Dodge Charger equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
In some cases, owners will hear a loud rattling noise from the engine as the plastic timing chain guide wears out and causes more play in the timing chain.
However, the timing chain can also suddenly break with no previous symptoms and cause major engine damage.
Here’s how some users on ChargerForumz.com described their experience:
“2011 Mopar Edition just lost the timing chain at 54k miles. Caused catastrophic engine damage. Still working with Chrysler on getting the car repaired because of the recall.”
“I also have a mopar 11. Chain recall done at 55k. Chain/tensioner broke and destroyed engine at 98k.”
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 Chargers and Challengers.
4. Dropped Valve Seat
Early years of the sixth generation Dodge Charger with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 have a tendency to suffer from dropped valve seats.
When the valve seats come loose, it can also potentially hit the top of the piston and cause severe engine damage.
Symptoms of a dropped valve seat include:
- Loss of compression
- Rough running
- Engine won’t start
Dropped valve seats are especially common on the 2006 model year of the Dodge Charger, but the 2005 and 2007 model years also have multiple complaints.
Here’s how a few users on ChargerForums.com described their experience:
“Atm took to shop and quoted for new engine. Valve fell out of pistons. 2006 charger 5.7.”
“I just dropped a valve seat in the #4 cylinder in my 2005 Dodge Magnum (Hemi). It has 159,000 miles on it.”
“I have a 2006 Charter R/T and I dropped the valve seat on my number 1 intake cylinder back in May of 2016. The car had roughly 160,000 miles on it. I took it my dealership, they did a compression test to figure out why the car wouldn’t start.”
If the dropped valve seat didn’t damage anything else in the engine, you can get either a new cylinder head for a few hundred dollars or get a machine shop to fix the valve seat problem.
In cases where there’s major engine damage, an engine rebuild can easily cost several thousand dollars. Putting in a used engine will be more cost effective, but there’s also no telling how long it will last.
5. Water Pump Failure
Premature water pump failures are a fairly common problem for the modern Dodge Charger.
Although water pumps are considered a wear and tear item that eventually need to get replaced, there are many Charger owners who have had to replace theirs at 30,000 to 50,000 miles.
This problem occurs in all model years of the third gen Dodge Charger from 2006 to the newest ones.
It’s also more common in Chargers equipped with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8.
Common symptoms of a faulty water pump include:
- Loud bearing noise
- Play in the water pump shaft
- Coolant leak
Here’s how a few users described their issues on ChargerForums.com:
“My 5.7 sounded like a supercharger when the water pump went. You could pull the belt off and see if there is any play in the WP bearing, there was a little bit in mine.”
“Took mine in today for the rattling noise which was coming from the top of the engine on mine. Turns out, it was the water pump.”
“I had a water pump seizure at about 20k miles on my 2017 Scatpack. It was fixed under warranty.”
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 used 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.
6. Shifter Stuck in Park
Lots of sixth generation Dodge Chargers have had issues with their shift lever getting stuck in Park.
This problem typically only affects the early model years from 2006 to 2008.
Here’s how a few owners on ChargerForum.com described their experience:
“Stuck in park while trying to leave a dodge dealership after looking at Challengers. Service dept told me it would be roughly $250 to replace, said they see this prob a lot and the part was dealer only.”
“When attempting to drive my 2006 charger tonight, I could not shift it out of park. It’s not simply that the car has rolled back after driving it last time and more strength is needed, I cannot get the lever to move.”
“My 2007 charger is stuck in park, after researching and contacting Dodge they said its a known issue but unfortunately my model/VIN is not covered warranty is only for certain models.”
Dodge announced a recall in 2011 to preemptively fix this problem in affected vehicles.
What actually breaks is the pink plastic piece that disengages the shift lock mechanism when you move the lever to the right to get it into gear.
Dealers would add some reinforcement to this plastic piece so that the spring that hooks to it has less chances of getting disconnected.
Aftermarket shifter parts made out of metal cost around $50 and can be replaced by an experienced mechanic in a few minutes. It can also be done at home if you’re mechanically inclined.
You can also temporarily shift out of Park yourself without replacing anything by removing the shifter bezel and pushing the pink plastic piece down and then backwards while moving the shift lever out of Park at the same time.
Many owners also just take out the plastic piece with the broken hook and drill a new hole in it, then use a small “S” hook from the local hardware store to attach the spring.
7. Peeling Door Panel
Many seventh generation Dodge Chargers have had issues with the top trim on the front door panels peeling off.
This can occur in all model years of the seventh gen Dodge Charger, but it seems to be more common in the 2016 and older cars.
The door panel defects typically show up at around 50,000 miles which is extremely early in the car’s life for it to have major interior problems.
Here’s how some owners on ChargerForums.com described their problem:
“I have two 2016’s. SXT Plus & Rallye and the only issue has been with the door panels peeling up at the top, but I fixed one car with Gorilla Glue, the other with a pneumatic stapler. ”
“I have a 2016 SXT with just over 60,000 miles. My problem is both drivers and passenger upper rubber molding just below window has wrapped and pulled away from door panel.”
“I have same problem 2016 Charger. Both door panels coming off. Car is either in carport or garage. $600 to repair and was told it could happen again because all they do is order new panels from Dodge and still uses their glue. Only a matter of time before they come off again. 50,000 miles on my car. Looks ugly.”
“My ’17 started with this problem on the front doors with about 5000 miles on it. Within a month, both back doors were starting too.”
New door panel trim can cost a few hundred dollars plus a little bit more in labor.
However, considering how early these defects show up, lots of Charger owners aren’t too confident about the longevity of the new door panels.
Many Charger owners take their cars to an upholstery shop to get the panels glued back in or just come up with their own solutions at home.
8. Screen Delamination
Certain model years of the seventh generation Dodge Charger have issues with their 8.4-inch Uconnect screen delaminating.
When the screen starts to delaminate, white bubbles will start to appear and the infotainment starts acting erratically.
This is a fairly common issue on the 2017 to 2018 Dodge Charger.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“Noticed recently my 2018 Dodge Charger radio screen is delaminating. Car only has 31k original miles!!! Dodge says I’m out of warranty and since I’m the 2nd owner.”
“I have a 2017 Dodge Charger. My screen started to ghost touch on its own, not letting me normally function the screen or listen to music. It kept touching things on its own.”
Dealers typically charge around $1,400 to get a new screen installed.
A cheaper option would be to get the digitizer replaced by an electronics technician for a few hundred dollars if you can find a replacement screen.
9. Tie Rod Ends Failure
Early models of the sixth generation Dodge Charger tend to wear out both the inner and outer tie rods in the front at very low miles.
It’s not uncommon to hear of an early Dodge Charger needing several tie rod replacements even before reaching 100,000 miles.
It is especially common in the 2006 model year of the Dodge Charger.
Symptoms of a worn tie rod include:
- Clunking noises
- Vibration in steering wheel
- Poor alignment
- Uneven tire wear
If the tie rods break off completely, you’ll have trouble steering the car.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“’06 Charger R/T. I’ve been reading around the forums about everyone else’s crappy luck with tie rod ends. I’m in the same boat, as I’m just over 65,000 miles and on my third set of tie rod ends, getting ready for a fourth.”
“The tie rods are a weak point; I had mine replaced twice under my extended warranty and I just turned 45,000 miles this week.”
New tie rods aren’t very expensive at all at around $20 to $30 a piece, and can be easily installed by any mechanic.
After replacing the tie rods, you’ll also need to add an alignment to the total repair bill.
If you’ve already replaced the tie rods several times, you can look for aftermarket solutions that will last longer.
10. Engine Stalling Problems
Many owners of early sixth generation Dodge Chargers have struggled with engine stalling problems.
In a lot of cases, the engine just shuts down out of nowhere with no prior warning.
No check engine lights or trouble codes will appear so it can be very hard to troubleshoot.
Here’s how some owners described their experience:
“My son bought a 2006 RT Daytona, experienced the stall after fill-up the week after he bought it.”
“My 2006 charger started stalling when I start up from a stop. It has happened four times between 75 and 100 miles between each stall, entering traffic.”
In 2014, Dodge announced a recall for the 2006 Dodge Charger with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 due to a faulty gas tank that can cause the fuel supply to get shut down and cause the engine to stall.
Although the fuel tank replacement does get rid of the stalling problems, some owners eventually encounter the same issues after a few years.
Fortunately, Dodge also offered a lifetime warranty for the fuel tank so dealers will just replace them free of charge every time they go out.
Other possible causes of stalling problems include a faulty TIPM, wiring issues, or fuel pump problems.
11. Alternator Failures
Early model years of the seventh generation Dodge Charger had lots of reports of premature alternator failures.
In many cases, the faulty alternators would also cause engine stalling problems.
Aside from electrical and stalling issues, the faulty alternators can also start smoking and possibly cause a fire.
Charger owners also report seeing a battery light or a “Battery Saver Mode” message on the instrument cluster.
Alternator issues are common in the V6 models from 2011 to 2012, but it can also affect V8 cars, as well as Chargers made up to 2014.
Here’s one owner’s experience on CarComplaints.com:
“So my alternator burns out on my not quite 3 year old Dodge Charger that I purchased brand new. My car is very well taken care so when my alternator started an electrical fire, I was lucky enough to have an extinguisher and not burn up.”
“My 2012 Dodge Charger’s alternator went out when I was driving over 70mph and became hard to control. I have never had a vehicle that had less than 100k miles with this issue.”
Dodge announced a recall for the faulty alternators found in the 2011 to 2014 model years of the Charger.
The alternator problems typically only affect the 160-amp alternators fitted in certain Dodge Charger models.
Many owners who have cars that aren’t included in the recall simply upgrade their alternators to the 180 or 220-amp ones which don’t suffer from the same issues.
Dodge Charger Pros & Cons
- Straight line performance
- Comfortable ride
- Muscle car looks
- Sedan practicality
- Reliable engines and transmissions
- Plenty of high powered engine options
- Available all-wheel drive
- Some build quality issues
- Huge blind spots in the rear
- V8 fuel economy
What Do The Reviews Say?
“Dodge’s Charger is the last of the iconic muscle cars, and the current version has been with us for more than 10 years now. A number of major refreshes and the addition of Hellcats, Redeyes, Scat Packs and Widebodies have managed to keep the big sedan relevant and engaging, but flared fenders and superchargers can only sustain the aging Charger for so long.”
“This is a big and heavy car that gets going in a hurry, at least with one of the V8 engines installed. Our Scat Pack test car covered 0-60 mph in just 4.6 seconds. Braking performance is also excellent.”
“Through high-speed corners, the Charger stays surprisingly flat. Unfortunately, it’s not a very engaging experience since you don’t feel connected to the car. Notably, midcorner bumps can degrade stability and cause a lot of movement at the rear of the car. The overly sensitive gas pedal is also a problem. Flex your big toe and the Charger bolts off the line.”
“The Charger’s front seats provide plenty of bolstering and lumbar support. They’ll keep you comfortable on a long road trip and keep you in place when the road gets twisty. The rear seats are also well contoured with similarly supportive padding.”
“The Charger is spacious on the inside, especially in the front. The back seat fits adults well too. There’s enough head-, hiproom and shoulder room for at least two adults and one kid in the back. It’s much roomier than a two-door muscle car.”
“Most of Dodge’s development budget went toward what’s under the hood of this car. Build quality is good but not great. Nothing was rattling or squeaking in our test car. But lots of the plastic interior surfaces feel a bit cheap for the price point.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Dodge Charger?
Here’s a quick look at the base Dodge Charger SXT’s used pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.