Dodge tried a best-of-all-worlds approach when building the Journey. Instead, they ended up with the weight of an SUV being stopped by brakes more suited for a sedan. The end result is brakes that are woefully inadequate and wear out way too fast.
The problem is worst on the earliest Journey model years. It’s not uncommon to hear about a 2009 or 2010 needing new pads and rotors at 12,000 miles (19,310 km) or under.
Dodge has been made aware of the defect from countless owner complaints and overflowing dealer records. On CarComplaints.com there are over 350 reported brake problems and counting on the 2009 model year alone.
Center For Auto Safety Concerns
The problem has become so bad that the Center for Auto Safety (CAS) released a statement saying Chrysler should: 1. Redesign the brakes on the Journey 2. Recall the vehicles and replace the brakes with the redesigned ones and 3. Extend the warranty to 4 years/48,000 miles on the original brakes with complete reimbursement to consumers who had to replace their pads and rotors already.
A Brakes Class-Action Lawsuit
In August of 2010 a class-action lawsuit was filed against Chrysler for the “defective design and false advertising of the 2009 and 2010 Dodge Journey”. The lawsuit describes how the braking system is inadequate for the size and weight of the vehicle:
The 2009 Journeys have a curb weight of nearly 2 tons (3,801 lbs. when completely empty) and far exceed 2 tons when loaded with people and cargo. The Brake System suffers from a fundamental design defect. The pads are too small, creating a “swept” area that fails prematurely and fails to operate the vehicle properly over a longer period of time. When compared to vehicles of similar size, weight, and function, the Journey’s swept area is insufficient.
What is Chrysler Doing to Fix the Problem?
Chrysler has yet to issue a recall, however there is good news. Two technical service bulletins (TSBs) have been released for the 2010 Journey and one for the 2009 Journey which extend the warranty on all brakes for those model years to 3 years/36,000 miles. It’s a small step, but a welcome one.
There is a deductible depending upon your mileage. It ranges from $0 for under 12k, $50 for under 24k, and $100 for under 36k miles. It’s annoying Chrysler implemented this extra cost, but that’s a small price to pay compared to the full cost of replacing these horrible brakes.