Writing about the Chrysler 300 is almost a weekly ritual on this blog. We’ve written extensively about the features and capabilities of this car. However, we have yet to answer what model year you can best buy on the second-hand market. Let’s start with a quick answer and then dive into more detail:
The 2017 model year of the Chrysler 300 is the best second-hand model you can buy. This model has no transmission or engine problems. Also, they’ve been recalled fewer times than other model years, and their recalls weren’t as severe. Finally, they’re affordable in maintenance, with the 2017 model year costing $519 per year, which is less than average for a full-size car.
However, that certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Below we’ll dive into extensive detail about the 300 and the different model years. We’ll look at what model year has the most and most minor problems, and we’ll do the same for the recalls it has had. Furthermore, we’ll discuss the maintenance cost for each generation so you can get a feeling of how much each model year costs. Read on!
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What Year Has The Least Problems?
NOTE: Before buying a used car, I always like to make sure the vehicle isn´t having any problems that you should be aware of. The easiest way to do this is by buying an OBD2 scanner. These scanners can easily be plugged into any car you’re interested in, and they’ll give you a rundown of potential problems.
Personally, I like this one on Amazon because it has a lot more functions than basic OBD2 scanners. This particular one also runs tests on your emission system and tests if you’re fuel mix is optimal (or if your engine is misfiring), so you have a complete understanding of how the car’s performing.
Infotainment System Freezes
If you are looking at a 2014 or older Chrysler 300, this car likely has an Uconnect infotainment system. This system has been one of the main culprits of the 300 and, even though Chrysler has sent out numerous over-the-air updates, nothing has fixed the problem so far. If you’re in the market for a used Chrysler 300, this seems to be a problem you may have to live with, given that it’s so widespread and there’s no solution.
Active Head Rests Pop Out
The active headrests malfunction from time to time in 2011 – 2018 Chrysler 300’s. This is because of generous cost-cutting by the supplier of Chrysler, Grammar AG. The headrests rapidly slide forward because the car thinks it’s being rear-ended. This system is there to make sure you don’t get whiplash. However, when activated when you’re not rear-ended, it has the exact opposite effect.
All of this is because the safety pins that activate the system are made out of cheap plastic that seem to break under the 75 pounds of internal pressure that’s always present. Therefore, the system starts the striker pins, which then activate the headrests and provide you with a headache. Furthermore, fixing one single headrest costs $800 if it’s deployed. There’s no fix for this problem as of yet.
Warped Door Panels
Second generation Chrysler 300, especially those made between 2014 – 2020, can have their door panels warping. This happens at the point where the door panels meet the windows, especially the one on the drivers’ side door. The downside of this is that airbags may not function as intended and that the resale value of the car is reduced significantly.
Furthermore, Stellantis, the owner of Chrysler, has refused to do anything about it. Also, buying a replacement door is a tedious process because there’s a large backlog of orders.
2005 – 2013 Chrysler 300 have been recalled for problems with the Takata airbags. To be fair, this is not a Chrysler 300 problem. Takata has had to issue this recall for more than 100 million vehicles worldwide, and it should be resolved by now. The problem meant that the airbags could randomly deploy. Make sure that if your vehicle was in the selected years, it was recalled.
e-Shift Transmission Is Dangerous
2012 – 2014 Chrysler 300’s have an electronic shifting system that’s very poorly designed. This caused numerous cases of rollaway because people thought the car was in park when, in reality, it was in neutral. A recall was issued, and more warning features were added. However, we would advise steering clear from these model years. The design was significantly changed for the 2016 and newer models of the 300.
Faulty Electronic Module
The TIPM is the Totally Integrated Power Module, and it’s responsible for many critical electronic tasks in a Chrysler 300. Unfortunately, the 2007 – 2014 model years have widespread issues that resulted in numerous defects. The fuel pump failed, the airbags were not deploying or randomly deploying, the horn was going off randomly, and the power windows were not working, among others. Chrysler issued software updates for this, but they fixed little. It’s wiser to stay aware from these model years.
Which Year Has The Least Recalls?
Besides the actual problems, we also like to look at the number of recalls that have been issued for different model years. This is because it gives us a better understanding of the build quality of a car. Furthermore, it also provides insight into how well newer model years are manufactured. Often, these model years don’t have problems yet, but they can have numerous recalls implying they will have problems in the future.
The first generation of the Chrysler 300 was manufactured between 2005 – 2010. Looking at this generation, we see that the number of recalls is very low. The 2007 model year has none. The 2008 model had some for loosening of the rear axle hub nuts, which would allow the half shaft to disengage from the wheel hub and cause a crash (08V295000). Also, the ignition key may not return to the “ON” position after being rotated to the “START” position instead of sticking between the two positions (14V567000).
The 2009 model was only recalled for the airbags, and most of the recalls for the 2010 models are also for the airbags. However, the 2010 model was also recalled for separation of the power steering hose, which allowed power steering fluid to leak and cause a fire (10V475000), and a recall for the being built with a wireless ignition node module which meant the key was able to get out of the solenoid latch during driving or parking (10V200000).
Below the table, we’ll discuss the second generation of the Chrysler 300 made between 2011 – Present.
The second generation of the Chrysler 300 started more unreliable than the previous generation. The 2011-2014 model years had two recalls for a failing alternator (14V634000 / 17V435000). The 2011-2012 model also had an overheating power distribution center that made you lose the ABS/ESC system (12V197000). The 2011 model year also had a compromised frontal impact safety system because of the built quality of the steering column (11V315000).
2012 – 2014 models were recalled for the faulty e-Shift design system, which meant the car could roll away when the driver had exited the vehicle (16V240000). The 2012 model also had a recall for failing safety regulations regarding the tire pressure monitoring system (12V004000). 2013 model years had a recall for the 8HP45 transmissions, which may fracture during use (13V610000).
The 2014-2018 model years were also recalled for a failing Powertrain Control Module, which would prevent the cruise control from disengaging (18E053000), and faulty wiring that caused the same problem (18V332000). 2014 – 2017 model years were recalled because of front driveshaft bolts in the AWD version of the car, which may loosen and allow the front driveshaft to disconnect, increasing the risk of a crash (17V097000).
2015 Chrysler 300 were recalled for software vulnerabilities that allow third-party access to specific networked vehicle control systems (15V461000).
The 2018 model was also recalled for the powertrain control module, which was equipped with a voltage regulator chip in the circuit board that could fail, causing a stall or a no-start condition (18V524000), and an incorrect transmission park lock rod which prevented the car from going into park (18V280000).
The 2019 model was recalled because the instrument cluster may not properly illuminate driver warnings (19V203000). The 2020-2021 model was recalled for a windshield that hadn’t adequately bonded to the vehicle, allowing it to detach in case of a crash (21V516000).
Which Year Costs The Least In Maintenance?
Besides the number of problems and recalls, we also feel it’s essential to see how these affect the maintenance cost of a specific model year of Chrysler on an annual basis. Using data from Repairpal, we see that the Chrysler 300 costs an average of $631 per year. This is an average number for a full-size car. The car needs to go to the garage for unscheduled repairs around 0.25 times per year (lower than average), and there’s a 13% chance of severe problems (slightly higher than average).
In the table below, we see that the 2018 – 2020 Chrysler 300’s have low maintenance cost. This is logical because many still fall under warranty and, because they’re newer, they haven’t yet had time to develop severe problems. Furthermore, we see that the 2011 – 2014 models have higher than average maintenance costs, which align with the research we’ve done. These are the problem models.
Older models have fewer problems and, since they’re older, their maintenance costs are also lower. However, the sweet spot seems to be the 2017 model year which has one of the lowest maintenance costs.
|Year Of Manufacturing||Chrysler 300 Maintenance Cost|
Also read: The Complete Cost Of Maintaining A Chrysler
What To Expect From A Used Chrysler 300 In Terms Of Price?
After all our research, we feel it’s safe to say that a 2017 Chrysler 300 is probably the best choice. This is because this model year is not as problematic as the 2011 – 2014 model years. Furthermore, it also doesn’t have the terribly designed e-Shifter, and maintenance costs are generally very affordable. It had a few recalls here and there, and you’ll definitely need to check for warped door panels, but generally, this seems to be the generation that holds up the best.
However, what can you expect from this car if you buy it on the second-hand market today? Looking at data from Caredge.com, we see that a 5-year old Chrysler 300 has depreciated around 56%. This is a pretty steep depreciation, and for the Chrysler 300, it’s safe to say that this can be attributed to the fact that the 300-name doesn’t radiate confidence.
Let’s say a 5-year old Chrysler 300 has 62,500 miles on the odometer (12,500 miles per year) and that it’s capable of reaching a maximum mileage of 200,000 miles over its lifetime (not a strange assumption for a full-size car). In that case, the Chrysler 300 still has 11 years left. In other words, for 44% of the price of a new 300, you’ll get almost 70% of the remaining lifespan of the car. We think this option provides the most bang for your buck.
Hi! My name is Stefan, I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, although I mainly focus on research-heavy articles. For the technical stuff, I find writers that have experience as a mechanic or have studied mechanical engineering.
Read more about our fantastic team on our about page!