The Dodge Durango combines muscular and aggressive styling with family SUV features.
It also has loads of engine options ranging from a 295 hp V6 to a 710 hp supercharged V8.
In this article, we’ll examine some of the common issues and problems Dodge Durango owners have encountered over years.
Table of Contents
1. Hemi Tick
Second and third generation Dodge Durangos with a Hemi V8 can develop an abnormal ticking sound that could indicate an issue with the valvetrain and camshaft.
Hemi V8s typically make lots of noise even when everything is working normally, especially from its fuel injectors.
However, many owners eventually discover a noticeable ticking white idling that’s rhythmic and gets faster as you rev the engine.
Mileage doesn’t seem to have an impact since it can happen to Hemis with just a few thousand, or even hundred, miles.
This problem can affect all model years of the second and third gen Durango from 2004 up to the latest ones.
It also affects lots of other Dodge and Chrysler vehicles with the Hemi V8 such as the Challenger, Charger, Ram and Grand Cherokee.
In a lot of cases, the Hemi tick doesn’t really cause any major problems and owners just live with it for tens or even hundreds of thousands of miles without any issues.
However, the ticking noise could also mean the lifters and camshaft are slowly getting damaged.
Here’s how one owner described their experience on the DodgeDurango.net forum:
“I have a 2005 Durango 5.7L. Brought it in to a dealer for that tick 15+yrs ago. They charged me $150 to tell me I had a tick. Went to another mechanic ~5yrs later, he told me engine was failing. Here we are at least 10yrs and probably 60,000 miles after the last time I asked (I’m at 130k now), and it still runs fine on the same engine. I found it happens more when the oil level is low or it needs a change.”
Modern Hemi V8s will tick more if they’ve sat unused for a while as the valvetrain isn’t as well lubricated on a cold start.
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 also 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. Broken Exhaust Manifold Bolts
Many Dodge Durango owners think their trucks have developed the “Hemi tick”, but in a lot of cases, it’s actually just an exhaust manifold leak.
The bolts for the exhaust manifold on the Hemi V8 are notorious for breaking apart after some time, resulting in a leak that produces a ticking noise at idle.
The noise usually goes away after the engine has warmed up and the metals have heated up enough to seal the gaps in the exhaust manifold.
Broken exhaust manifold bolts are very common on all model years with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8, as well as the older 4.7-liter Magnum V8 found in the second gen Durango.
Here is how two owners described their experience on DodgeDurango.net:
“Our 2011 w/ the 5.7L developed a ‘tick’ at startup at around 100,000 miles that turned out to be broken exhaust manifold bolts.”
“After having my 2006 with 4.7 checked out because I thought it had a lifter tick, I was told it’s an exhaust leak at the manifold. “
Replacing the exhaust bolts is very easy to fix and shouldn’t be too expensive.
If the exhaust manifold itself is cracked, a new set of manifolds or aftermarket headers should only cost a few hundred dollars.
3. Hydrolock and Rod Failures
Early years of the second generation Dodge Durango with the 5.7-liter Hemi V8 had lots of reports of hydrolock problems causing connecting rods to blow a hole through the engine block.
This issue usually only affects the 2004 to 2005 model years of the Durango, which is the first few years it got fitted with a Hemi V8.
The hydrolock problem starts with the faulty wiper cowl design which allowed more water to get into the engine bay.
Over time, the intake manifold gaskets also wear out and lose their seal, so water inadvertently enters the engine and causes it to stall when it rains, and then completely seize up.
Failures typically occur at 100,000 to 150,000 miles.
Here’s how a few owners described their experience:
“I am in the process of pulling a Hemi from an 04 Durango that has a broken connecting rod that I had assumed was from the known hydrolock issue that occurs in the 04-05 Hemis. Yesterday it rained for nearly 24 hours, and today when I pulled the intake manifold off it contained probably around a 1/2 gallon of water. When turned upside down it poured out of the throttle body as if you were tipping over a pint glass for several seconds. Pretty much confirmed that it was the hydrolock problem that caused this Hemi to fail.”
“Had this issue with our ’04 Hemi Durango in 2010. It rained the night before and when the wife went out to start it; wouldn’t turn over. I messed around with it for a few minutes and suddenly it started and seemed to be OK. On the way home that evening it slung a rod through the side of the block.”
Dodge eventually updated the wiper cowl on newer model years of the second gen Durango to avoid the hydrolock issues.
Many owners, however, weren’t made aware of the updated part and are still running the older wiper cowl to this day.
Once the engine has seized up, you’ll need to have it rebuilt. If the block is damaged as well, a used engine will be the most cost effective option.
4. Rocker Arm Failure
The 3.6-liter V6 Pentastar in the third generation Dodge Durango has had lots of reports of premature rocker arm failures.
The rocker arm is part of the valvetrain. Once it wears out, it starts hitting the camshaft and produces a ticking noise.
This is a fairly common issue on all model years with the V6 Pentastar from 2011 up to 2017.
It’s also common on lots of other Chrysler, Dodge and Jeep vehicles with the same engine.
Issues and symptoms associated with rocker arm failures include:
- Ticking noise
- Check engine light
- Loss of power
- Damaged camshaft
Here’s how a few owners described their experience on the DodgeDurango.net forum:
“2017 GT with 5k miles i had to have my driver side rocker arms replaced. Loud ticking. Seems to be a widespread issue.”
“I bought my 2014 Durango new in 2014. It now has 112k miles on it and has been ticking at around 105k. The dealership did all oil chances except the last one.”
“I am having the same issue with my 2014. Tick sounds like it is the first rocker arm on the left side. I currently have about 125,000 miles on the vehicle.”
“3.6 engine issue at just 25K miles. Driving the other night fresh after an oil change at the dealer and my service engine light went on. Took it in the next day and it showed a misfire on cylinder #5. After further testing they have decided to replace the lifter and rocker arm.”
Dodge did release a TSB (Technical Service Bulletin) for the rocker arm issue which just recommends replacing the affected components.
However, it seems like Dodge didn’t really significantly improve the rocker arm design until 2018, so a lot of older Pentastar engines can still have problems.
A new set of rocker arms cost around $200. Including labor, the repair will usually cost around $500 to $1,000.
5. Oil Filter Housing Leak
2014 model year Dodge Durangos with the Pentastar V6 have a plastic oil filter housing that is known to break and cause massive oil leaks.
This was the first year of the third gen Durango’s model refresh which added significant exterior, interior and mechanical updates.
Aside from the oil filter housing, the oil cooler can also develop leaks.
The leaks only affect the 2014 models since Dodge eventually revised the part in the next model year.
Two owners on DodgeDurango.net had this to say:
“I have the 2014 Dodge Durango Limited (2WD) 3.6L V6. I am planning to replace my oil filter housing as I am now starting to experience the well known leak issues these have.”
“So I think I have the dreaded oil filter housing leak. Pulled the Durango out of the driveway and saw oil everywhere. When I checked underneath I saw oil from the front to the back of the trans. housing. So I checked the little valley area under the oil filter housing and see a puddle of oil. Dropped it off at the dealer today. They say that they see a lot of this but cant say if it will be covered under the warranty. Service manager called to confirm that the oil filter housing is to blame for the massive leak.”
A new OEM oil filter housing should only cost $100 to $200. It’s not too difficult to replace, but the intake manifolds do need to be taken off.
A lot of Durango owners also choose to go with an aftermarket oil filter housing that’s made out of metal to avoid having to deal with the issue again in the future.
6. Electrical Issues
Early third generation Dodge Durangos have a history of issues with their electrical systems.
The main culprit is the alternator that can start smoking or even catch fire when it fails.
When the alternator starts to fail, it can also take out other components like the TIPM (Total Integrated Power Module) and PCM (Powertrain Control Module).
Common symptoms of a faulty alternator include hard starting and stalling problems.
In addition, the fuel pump relay can also fail and cause stalling issues.
Alternator failures can affect the 2011 to 2014 model years of the third gen Dodge Durango the most.
Here is how a few owners described their alternator woes on the DodgeDurango.net forum:
“My parents just picked up a 2013 Durango Citadel (5.7L, all the bells and whistles) with only 48k on the clock a few months ago. Now they’re having issues of a TIPM failure, the primary being the hard start issues. One point it was so bad, that they felt a vibration and my dad mentioned he smelled almost a burning electrical smell. “
“My 2011 dodge durango left me stranded on the side of the road in the freezing cold with my kids in the car.. The alternator had gone.. lights flashing, the whole shabang. Had my mechanic do the work for $700.”
“Ours burned up in early 2017, complete with smoke. I changed it out with a new 220A version from RockAuto.com. Chrysler refunded me the parts money, but not the overnight shipping to replace the alternator on a car that was disabled.”
“Had my 2013 R/T hemi just do this too back in September. Started smoking too. Replaced alternator myself to find that it was not charging before searching and finding all of this stuff. Took out the PCM, battery seemed ok for a couple weeks but also had to replace.“
“The first recall was Oct 2014, another recall went out including more repair on 2017. Ive has 2 alternators replaced. Going in for a 3rd.”
Dodge announced a recall for both the alternator and fuel pump relay because these issues could cause safety concerns with stalling while driving.
Unfortunately, newer model years of the third gen Durango that were not included in the recall can also suffer from alternator issues.
Replacing the fuel relay is fairly cheap to fix out of pocket. However, the alternator problem can cost several hundred dollars if it also damages other components.
7. Water Pump
Many early model years of the third generation Dodge Durangos have issues with premature water pump failures.
Water pumps are considered wear items that can go bad after 100,000 miles, but many Durangos have had issues at significantly lower mileages.
This issue typically affects 2013 to 2017 model years of the Durango, but the 2015 to 2016 models seem to be more prone to issues.
Common symptoms of water pump problems include:
- Loud noises at the back of the engine
- Coolant leaks
- Heat issues
Here’s how a few owners on DodgeDurango.net described their experience:
“My ‘15 finally hit just over the 50k mark. Pulling out this am, it sounded weird…. ebrake and hood up, sounded like a baby diesel in there… you could feel the clacking on the upper water hose (Close to the t-stat housing). I immediately thought water pump. Got in just before service closed after work and asked if they had one in stock. They checked and had a single one, thank goodness. Had a tech and the service rep listen, yep, water pump.”
“So my warranty replacement water pump was on the way out….noisy bearing and loose pulley it was installed under warranty at 46,000 miles. It went close to 100K miles..Durango now at 141,000…which sounds good until I compare it to my ’06 Hemi which the water pump lasted 200,000 miles and 14 yrs.”
“2014 R/T 97K third water pump. Crazy. We don’t drive our cars hard.”
Dodge announced an extended 7 year/unlimited mile warranty for the 2013 to 2017 model years of the Durango due to the high possibility of water pump failures.
Replacing the water pump out of warranty should only cost a few hundred dollars since an OEM water pump only costs $100 to $200 online.
8. Screen Delamination
A lot of Dodge Durango 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 Durango which was the first year the 8.4-inch screen was introduced.
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 purchased last year a 2018 Dodge Durango and I just noticed a month ago that my screen has started to peel from the upper left corner.”
“I have a 2018 durango gt with the 8.4 screen. A bubble started under the left corner and now spread across the entire screen. Sometimes the touch screen doesn’t work.”
Dealers typically charge around $1,000 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.
9. Leaking A/C Condenser
Early third gen Dodge Durangos seem to be prone to have leaky A/C condensers.
When the A/C system starts to leak, the system loses refrigerant and eventually stops blowing cold air.
This issue is more common in the 2011 to 2014 model years of the Dodge Durango.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I also have a 2011 3.6L Crew AWD. That and my alternator both went at 65,373 miles on 6/17/16. Replaced “Cooler-Condenser and Trans Cooler”.”
“I just took mine in and they diagnosed the same issue. It was not shifting properly, stuttering into 2nd gear, sometimes slipping gears, etc…. and I was not happy. Replacement of trans cooler & ac unit with recharge and new fluid was quoted at $1,050 at the dealership.”
“I also just noticed we have a leaking trans cooler at 67,000 miles on my 13. My wife drives it mostly and she never noticed it leaking. I’ve been gone 2 weeks and I can see exactly all the different spots she has parked since it started leaking.”
“I have the 13 Crew AWD, bought it used with 15K miles on it. I had the trans-cooler / cooler-condenser replaced under extended warranty at around 65K.”
Replacing the A/C condenser isn’t very difficult but it will cost you a few hundred dollars.
You’ll also have to recharge the refrigerant to get the A/C to blow cold air again.
10. Moisture in Headlight and Tail Light
A number of third gen Dodge Durango owners have had bad experiences with excessive moisture getting into either the headlights or tail lights.
Condensation inside the tail lights that cause the lights to fail prematurely is more common, but many have also complained about moisture forming inside the headlights.
Here is how a few owners described their experience:
“I’m on my 3rd racetrack taillight (2016 model). The 3rd was just installed a couple of months ago. I figured the leaking problems had been solved since, you know, we’re now in 2020, and there were mentions of a “new design” on the forums. I went to jump in the Durango last night and saw THERE IS WATER INSIDE THE TAIL LIGHT AGAIN!!!!”
“I have had and still have this issue on my Durango. My Dealer has replaced the headlight assemblies 3 times and they all do this.”
New OEM light fixtures can cost at least $400 so it’s a pretty big deal when they start to fail.
Many Durango owners also continue to have issues with condensation even after getting their light fixtures replaced under warranty.
A common workaround for this problem is to simply apply a bead of silicone or a similar similar sealant around the light assembly to prevent water from getting inside.
11. Suspension Noise
Many third generation Dodge Durangos have issues with the front or rear suspension making a loud creaking or squeaking noise when going over bumps.
Here’s how a few owners described their issues:
“Every time I go over a speedbump anything over 5 mph I can hear an obvious “creaking” noise seeming to come from the driver’s side. I just recently had the passenger side balljoint, control arm, and control arm bushing replaced, and the previous owner had both ball joints done probably a year ago. Its obviously a suspension problem.”
“Had to replace sway bar bushings twice for the same creaking. It works for a while but always comes back, especially when the weather is dry.”
“In my new to me ’14 RT I notice a clunking sound coming from the rear suspension when I go over speedbumps or other large imperfections in the road.”
The noise is usually caused by faulty sway bar bushings which can be hard to track down if you don’t know what you’re looking for.
In trucks equipped with rear load leveling suspension, the noise is usually caused by faulty shocks which cost around $800 a pair.
Many owners who want to save on repairs and future maintenance just swap out these specialty shocks for regular ones.
Dodge Durango Pros & Cons
- Aggressive styling
- Powerful engine options
- Straight line performance
- Off-road capabilities with low-range
- Third-row seats
- Same towing capacity as full-size trucks
- Lack of space
- Fuel economy
- Less standard driver tech
What Do The Reviews Say?
“The Durango SRT, which is what we tested, is a testament to Dodge’s commitment to performance. The engine is powerful, accelerating this 5,500-pound behemoth effortlessly to 60 mph in 4.9 seconds. Yet the Durango is also well mannered in everyday driving. Braking performance is strong and smooth.”
“The Durango SRT’s ride, on the other hand, leaves a bit to be desired. While tolerable, it’s not going to lull you to sleep on road trips. Road noise is omnipresent and so is the engine but that could be a welcome thing. The exhaust note is intoxicating.”
“The Uconnect 4C interface on the 8.4-inch screen, while feeling a bit dated, is user-friendly and syncs up well with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration systems. If you can get the new 10.1-inch screen, which has Chrysler/Dodge’s latest infotainment software and features. There are plenty of USB and 12-volt charging options for passengers in all positions.”
“Here’s a formula for you: SRT = bad mpg. That’s just the way it goes. The Durango SRT is rated to get an EPA-estimated 15 mpg in combined driving (13 city/19 highway). On our 120-mile evaluation route, we were able to get 15.5 mpg, indicating that the EPA’s estimates are at least realistic. The best fuel economy you can get is a rear-wheel-drive Durango with the V6, which gets 21 mpg combined. That’s a lot better but still a tad below rival V6-equipped SUVs.”
What’s the Resale Value of a Dodge Durango?
Here’s a quick look at the base Dodge Durango SXT’s used pricing on Edmunds at the time of writing.