The Dodge Journey is yet another vehicle in the Chrysler stable that has glowing reviews on paper but, in reality, has been plagued by a host of recalls affecting various models. Marketed as a mid-sized family crossover SUV with a host of safety features and average repair costs, this vehicle is perfect for family holidays and grocery runs. But can this marketing blurb be believed?
The Dodge Journey has been affected by cruise control failure resulting in over-acceleration and compromised braking. A compromised review mirror and camera failure resulted in the Dodge Journey not meeting the required safety standards. Additionally, there have been powertrain problems with an increased accident risk due to stalling.
This article should interest you if you are in the market for a used mid-sized crossover but want to look deeper than the glossy promotional flyer. So let’s dive into the ten problems that were bad enough to warrant these recalls. Also, read this article if you want to know how many miles a Dodge Journey lasts.
1. Cruise Control Failure
A speed cruise control system is a luxury feature built into a car to maintain highway cruising speeds without attracting the attention of the county sheriff.
So what went wrong? A defect in the vehicle’s wiring harness affected the switching off of the cruise control. This defect, a short circuit in the wiring, was found to have caused the problem and resulted in the driver being unable to switch off cruise control with a typically applied foot on the brake pedal or by the system on-off controls. This defect could also lead to unintentional acceleration. These scary scenarios are certainly not ideal and come with a very high risk of a crash and injury.
In May 2018, the NHTSA issued safety Campaign Number 18V332000 regarding specific models of the 2014 – 2018 Dodge Journey FWD with faulty cruise control systems.
To remedy this, Chrysler notified owners to bring the affected vehicles into dealerships for an inspection and carried out a software update on the engine or powertrain control module.
Chrysler also advised owners to wait to use the cruise control until the dealers updated their vehicle’s software.
2. Backup Camera Failure
The addition of modern technology adds to the overall driving experience, but there is a downside when it does not work!
Specific 2018 Journey FWD models equipped with a rearview camera experienced a loss of the image on the backup display screen in the rearview mirror while in reverse gear.
Besides the potential for a crash or injury to anybody or anything behind the vehicle when reversing, this fault also meant the cars failed to meet the requirements of Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, “Rearview Mirrors.”
In June 2018, NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V398000 was issued, along with an FCA, US voluntary recall issued under U56 for 1837 affected vehicles. Once again, Chrysler notified the owners to have their dealerships replace this offending rearview mirror at no cost to the owner.
3. Obstruction of Rearview Camera
This next problem is close to the abovementioned problem, as it seems that this rearview camera had further issues.
When selecting the reverse gear, the camera image was delayed for two seconds. This delay meant that the full reverse image was not fully visible within a few seconds.
It’s that missing view that caused an increased risk of an accident in the case of the driver not looking around the car and behind to check the surroundings before backing up.
In June 2018, the NHTSA took an interest in this problem under Campaign Number 18V396000, with a potential 1,741 units affected. This fault again meant that the affected vehicles failed to comply with the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 111, namely “Rearview Mirrors.”
Of interest is Chrysler received 99 complaints on the 2018 Journey; of that, 33 were for electrical problems. At the same time, further digging revealed owners had lodged even more complaints under unknown or other. So it seems that this camera and rear view display mirror is problematic.
Once again, Chrysler issued a recall under recall number U58, and owners were notified that Chrysler would replace the faulty rearview cameras at no additional cost.
4. Voltage Regulator Failure
Once again, the electrical gremlin that seems to plague Chrysler’s products has appeared. This time in the form of a faulty voltage regulator chip in specific 2018 FWD models. This faulty regulator chip is situated in the circuit board of the vehicle’s brain – the powertrain control module and this particular gremlin caused the vehicle to stall.
The NHTSA Campaign Number: 18V524000 was issued to address this issue that affected a potential 12,779 vehicles.
So what exactly happens when this electrical part is faulty? As an integral part of the vehicle’s control module, any failure of this chip would result in an engine stalling or simply failing to start.
Stalling in the middle of a busy intersection with oncoming traffic is potentially deadly and pulling into a freeway only to lose power is also a high-risk situation. Alternatively, stranded at night with kids on board, with a vehicle that fails to start, is far from what you hoped for when you bought your new Dodge Journey.
To remedy this electrical gremlin, Chrysler dutifully notified owners under recall number U87 that new power control modules would be installed at no cost.
5. Crankshaft Sensor Failure
Our article now turns its attention to the 2016 Dodge Journey, with the AWD variant having had four recalls to remedy its safety problems. More specifically, a faulty crankshaft sensor.
The NHTSA issued a recall under Campaign Number 16V907000 for 42,231 Chrysler vehicles. Chrysler issued recall no. S89 in respect of this.
During manufacturing, specific Dodge vehicles received faulty crankshaft sensors and camshaft sensor electrical connector terminals. The crankshaft sensor sends signals to the car’s ECU or control unit to control the ignition timing; this is vital to the correct running of the engine. This sensor’s faulty or intermittent signal would cause the engine to stall. The potential failure of the sensor and subsequent stalling of the engine in any on-the-road driving situation may prove fatal in the event of a crash.
Again Chrysler notified owners that Chrysler dealerships would replace the faulty crankshaft or camshaft sensor at no charge. These continued recalls with the Chrysler brand are becoming red flags that potential owners should be taking note of by now.
6. Power Steering Return Hose
We are continuing to talk about the 2016 Chrysler Journey, and our next featured problem is with the power steering return hose rupturing during cold weather. Have you ever tried to turn the steering wheel without the motor running? It isn’t easy and seemingly requires the strength of The Incredible Hulk.
The power steering return hoses in the 2016 Journey were affected by exposure to cold temperatures and ruptured when the driver started the motor. Any possible rupture or damage caused in these circumstances increased the risk of losing steering assistance and control, especially at slow speeds. This sudden loss of steering certainly increased the accident risk while driving.
Based on this, in May 2016, a recall was issued under NHTSA safety Campaign Number 16V273000, while Chrysler issued a recall under number S08 to the owners of 8,569 vehicles.
By now, we know the drill. Chrysler then committed to replacing the power steering return hoses, the oil, and the steel tubes at no added costs.
7. Loss of Power from Transmission Pump Failure
The problem lay in the transmission pump; the hydraulic pump failed, causing the transmission to seize, which resulted in the loss of driving power. The unexpected seizure of the pump and subsequent loss of fluid pressure resulted in the driver being stranded without any power from the engine going to the wheels. A stationary vehicle in the traffic would have left the driver in a sticky and dangerous situation.
Chrysler notified owners in August 2016 under recall no. S44 that they would replace the transmission pump in the 26,298 affected vehicles at no added costs. By now, it should be evident to potential owners to run the VIN before considering this vehicle.
8. Inadvertent Air Bag Deployment
Vehicles manufactured in 2011 – 2015 were the subject of six recalls due to the failure of various components, with airbags being one of them.
We all want the safety-critical components in a vehicle to keep us safe during travel, and airbags are one of these. Due to an airbag failure, Chrysler recalled 363,480 vehicles under the NHTSA Campaign Number 17V432000. This is a pretty large recall.
The steering wheel wire harness was trapped between a tab on the plastic back cover on the steering wheel and the edge of the horn plate. This caused the wire insulation to become chaffed and exposed, creating a short circuit. The short circuit then caused the driver’s airbag to deploy without warning resulting in an increased accident risk and injury.
To resolve this critical safety issue, Chrysler issued a recall under number T47 and inspected all affected vehicles. Protective metal sleeves were fitted on the steering wheel wire harness to prevent wire chaffing, and removed the offending tab.
9. Water In The ABS Module
Effective braking and being able to bring your vehicle to a stop safely are critical safety issues. Water was found to have leaked into the ABS or ESC module, which caused the system to malfunction and become disabled.
This resulted in a loss of the anti-skid braking feature and, more importantly, the loss of an important safety feature; the ESC – electronic stability control. The ESC is one of those driver aids that saves your bacon when you overstep the mark and lose control of the vehicle in a corner or slippery conditions. I don’t need to expand further on this emergency’s severe consequences.
After NHTSA issued a recall under Campaign Number 15V675000, Chrysler recalled 275,187 vehicles. Chrysler notified owners to have their vehicles inspected and, where necessary, for the ABS modules to be replaced and the wiring harness sealed at no charge to the owner.
10. Engine Cover Detachment
This leads us to look at a problem that increases the risk of an engine fire, which is never a good thing for a vehicle owner.
Like most modern vehicles, the 2011 – 2015 Dodge Journey has plastic shrouds that cover the mechanical bits and generally neaten up the ambiance of the engine bay to keep everyone happy and the essential bits dry.
The problem is when this cover detaches itself and becomes lodged against the hot exhaust manifold. We must ask ourselves what happens when plastic comes into contact with heat. At the least, melted plastic everywhere and, more importantly, the increased risk of an engine fire. Any fire under the hood with petrol and oils is a high fire risk, potentially resulting in a crash and loss of life.
In 2015 Chrysler issued a recall under number R32, along with the NHTSA Campaign Number 15V431000, to install a more effective mounting system on 145,379 affected vehicles. But, if you are in the market for a 2011 – 2015 Dodge Journey, please do ensure the vehicle is equipped with an adequately working fire extinguisher, as you may need it.
Any potential vehicle owner should take a deep dive beyond the glossy marketing flyer and advertising campaign and investigate the reasons behind the recalls that plague Dodge Journey models. You may very well be in for a surprise.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!