The Best & Worst Years Of Dodge Charger

The Dodge Charger has been in production in some form off and on since 1966. The newest generations have been back in production since 2006. Over these years, it’s critical to know the differences between the best and worst years of Dodge Charger models, or you could end up with a dud.

In this guide, we show you the five best Dodge Chargers worthy of your investment. We also have five that are considered the worst Chargers ever made. Beyond that, we show you the top Charger problems and answer your questions. 

Best Dodge Charger Model Years

Based on consumer complaints, recalls and reviews, we’ve determined the 2020 and 2021 Dodge Chargers are the most reliable to drive. We also recommend the 2009, 2019 and 2018 Charger models because of reliability scores. 

We dive deeper into the relevant reviews so you know what to expect from each model. 

1. 2020 Dodge Charger

2020 dodge charger - one of the best model years

It’s possible to find a great deal on the 2020 Dodge Charger. This model is just a few years old and offers plenty of upgraded features to make any driver happy. We love the variety of engines that can be chosen, especially the V8s. 

Inside the cabin, the seats are supportive and comfortable. The Uconnect system also provides a user-friendly experience and flawless response times. 

2. 2021 Dodge Charger 

2021 dodge charger - one of the best model years

One model newer is the 2021 Charger. This model received scores that are nearly as good as the previous one but probably have fewer miles on the odometer. Not only is it fast, but this Dodge is known for having responsive brakes for a sporty drive.

The rear seats are also comfortable, so you can take some friends for a ride. We also can’t ignore that the 797-hp Charger Hellcat Redeye became available this year. 

3. 2009 Dodge Charger

2009 dodge charger - one of the best years

As an older model, the 2009 Dodge Charger can save you a lot of money without disappointment. It has a great look and scores high for reliability. 

This is the first year since its reintroduction when there weren’t major mechanical issues. We recommend the V6 engine that’s plenty potent and provides a smooth driving experience. 

4. 2019 Dodge Charger

Another modern Charger to consider is the 2019 model year. It provides a fast driving experience and upgraded safety features for better protection. It’s also remarkably beautiful and is sure to turn heads.

The only downside to this model is excessive fuel consumption. Some models score low EPA ratings, but that’s not a concern if you want a fast car. 

5. 2018 Dodge Charger

Finishing out our recommended list is the 2018 Dodge Charger. It provides a smooth experience with phenomenal handling.

The only major complaint about this Charger is the stiff seats. Newer models offer more comfortable seating, but for the price of a used one, it’s hard to complain. 

Worst Dodge Charger Model Years

Using the same data to pick the top models, we recommend against driving the 2006 or 2011 Dodge Charger. The 2007, 2008 and 2012 Dodge Charger also receive a lot of complaints and may let you down, so they should be avoided. 

Check out the major malfunctions of these Charger models.

1. 2006 Dodge Charger

2006 dodge charger - one of the worst model years

Of all the newer options, the 2006 is the worst of them all. It was the very first to be released after many years away. With how much of a failure it was, the verdict was unclear if Dodge would continue making the Charger at all.

There are numerous complaints about the engine and suspension. Maybe the most concerning issue is the engine knocking. However, drivers also say the gears can get stuck or the car may not shift out of Park. 

2. 2011 Dodge Charger

When looking at the 2011 Charger, it becomes evident that this model year wasn’t built to last. Between the electrical system issues and the defective fuel system, there’s a lot working against this car.

The alternator fails prematurely and it can be costly to figure out all of the troubles happening with the electrical system. Customers also say that this Charger suffers from a leaking fuel tank, which may create a gas smell in the cabin. 

3. 2007 Dodge Charger

The second model created is nearly as bad as the first. Many of the original issues were never dealt with by Dodge, so customers ended up going through the same hassles.

Gears get stuck and the Reverse may fail prematurely. The engine can also shut off while driving, which puts occupants in danger of an accident. Both engine and transmission repairs can be expensive, and this car simply isn’t worth the time.

4. 2008 Dodge Charger

By the 2008 Charger model, people had hoped that issues were resolved, but they found out that not much had changed. It caused a lot of complaints and made people start thinking about switching brands, even if they had previously been loyal.

Child safety locks malfunctioned and the electrical system had defects. On top of that, the engine still wasn’t reliable and it was prone to failure. 

5. 2012 Dodge Charger

2012 dodge charger - one of the worst model years

While it ranks towards the end of our list, don’t be deceived into thinking that this model offers reliability. It suffers from electrical issues and the alternator can fail without any warning.

There are also engine problems that have caused accidents. If the engine goes out while driving, it could cost you more than a replacement. 

Most Common Dodge Charger Problems

Of the models reviewed, the same problems seemed to occur. Dodge Chargers suffer from engine failure, stuck gears, electrical system issues, faulty suspension components, and brake troubles, all of which can lead to expensive repairs.

Here are some more details about the problems so you know what to look for while car shopping.

Engine Failure

engine rebuild cost

Of all the Dodge Charger complaints, none seem to be as prevalent as engine failure. Earlier years seem to struggle with this the most. Maybe it has something to do with the excessive amount of power and an unreliable build.

Sadly, the majority of engine repairs are expensive. If the engine needs to be replaced or rebuilt, you could spend more than the vehicle is worth. For this reason, many Chargers end up in the junkyard for scrap parts.

Sticking Gears

transmission valve body

Transmission issues are also commonly complained about. Shifting gears becomes difficult, with the shifter stuck at times. It can get stuck in Park or lose the ability to go into Reverse at all. 

The majority of the issues seem to do with the automatic transmission, so that’s something to think about. If you plan to buy a Charger, you may want one when a manual transmission is offered. 

Electrical System Issues

fuse box electrical

There are electrical system problems that are considered to be a nuisance and others that lead to danger. The Dodge Charger has its fair share of nuisances, with infotainment concerns and battery troubles.

However, it’s the ignition problems that are most concerning. Sometimes, owners can’t get the engine to turn over because of a faulty ignition. This problem has left numerous people stranded while waiting for roadside assistance. 

Faulty Suspension Components

new car suspension

The suspension of the Dodge Charger isn’t built for all of the power it puts out. Because of the excessive speeds it can travel, customers endure premature failure of the suspension parts. 

Most commonly, the stabilizer pin and tie rods wear out. There are also reports of trouble with the front ball joints. If you can’t fix these problems yourself, you are looking at hefty repair bills. Plus, damaged suspension parts can lead to premature tire wear, which only adds to the cost.

Brake Trouble

New Brakes Squeak

While the majority of Dodge Chargers aren’t dealing with brake problems, there have been some, so it’s worth mentioning. Some people have reported erratic braking patterns, where it stops quickly one time but not the next. This issue creates unreliability and causes the driver to feel uncertain about how much pressure to put on the pedal.

There are also concerns about how the rear brake pads and rotors fit. Some people find the OEM brakes don’t operate as they should and have moved on to aftermarket replacements. Thankfully, this is an easier fix than some of the other problems we’ve outlined. 

What year is the most sought-after Charger?

The older Dodge Charger models have been more popular than newer ones. Ask any enthusiast and they will likely tell you that the 1968 or 1970 Dodge Charger is among the best overall. However, if you want a reliable Charger from the recent models, consider the 2009 or 2018-2021 years.

What is the best Dodge Charger?

As far as power, the newest Charger SRT is going to take the cake with its 807-horsepower configuration. In terms of reliability, the 2009 or 2018-2021 Dodge Chargers have the best reviews and show the fewest problems, so they should last longer on the road.

Are used Dodge Chargers reliable?

The Dodge Charger only earns a RepairPal reliability rating of 3.5 out of 5.0. That ranking puts the Charger in 10th place of the 12 full-size cars that were evaluated. Therefore, most models aren’t considered reliable, although some perform better than others.

What is the average lifespan of a Dodge Charger?

It’s difficult to estimate longevity because it depends on what model is chosen and how well it was maintained. If the Charger is reliable and well cared for, it could last more than 200,000 miles. The majority of newer Dodge Charger models last less than this, making them less reliable than some other brands, such as Honda or Toyota.

With the powerful engines and sleek design, we understand why you may want a used Dodge Charger to drive around town, but not all models should be considered. Before you start your shopping, make sure you research which model years are reliable and which ones to avoid.

It’s also wise to have a mechanic look at the vehicle before purchasing it. If the seller has service records, those are helpful too, so you can see if it was maintained on time. 


Categories: General

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