2009 Dodge Journey SE Plus (top) and 2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD. Click image to enlarge
Through its first four years on the market, the Journey’s major components (engines and transmissions) seem to be holding up reasonably well, in spite of a “much worse than average” used vehicle rating from Consumer Reports (CR). That poor outlook is tied to a healthy list of less serious, but still frustrating, problems.
One of the Journey’s most common trouble spots, according to both CR and TrueDelta.com, is quick-wearing brake components. Pads wear out prematurely, brake rotors warp and calipers stick, causing brake to overheat.
Neither CR nor TrueDelta.com show much evidence of serious mechanical flaws, but this AutoWeek.com article suggests a number of early Pentastar-powered Journeys might be subject to a cylinder head problem.
This thread at DodgeJourneyForum.com discusses leaking “power transfer units, (or PTU),” otherwise known as the set of gears that routes power to the rear wheels.A simple Internet search also brings up a number of discussions about leaking rear differentials, too.
2012 Dodge Journey R/T AWD. Click image to enlarge
The Journey seems to be infamous for weird electric glitches. Here’s an interesting discussion about a software problem that causes the stereo volume to increase suddenly after the car is started. Another seemingly common electrical glitch is one that causes the gauges to fall to zero, illuminates every warning light and turns the wipers on.
Have a look at this section at DodgeJourneyForum.com to see what else Dodge Journey owners are talking about.
By this point, it might be clear how Dodge is able to attach such an attractive pricetag to the Journey. It often is true that you get what you pay for, but there’s no denying it can be hard to resist a capable vehicle with a low price. I’d suggest you won’t find a cheaper way than this to get into a used late model crossover. I wouldn’t call any Journey a poster child for long-term durability, but a front-wheel drive model would be the best bet for avoiding big, nasty repair bills once the warranty has expired. And, as always, look for a used car that comes with detailed service records, and have any vehicle checked by a trusted mechanic before buying.