Early Brake Problems for Journey Owners
This vehicle was Dodge's first attempt at building what is now popularly being called a "cross-over vehicle". In it's advertising campaign the Journey is said to have the convenience of a mini-van, the ruggedness of a SUV and the handling of a sedan. What the ad fails to mention, however, is that the braking system is woefully inadequate for the size and the weight of the vehicle.
It is believed that the standard brake pads and rotors are simply too thin for such a large vehicle with the result being drastic brake wear even on brand new vehicles. It's not uncommon to hear about 2009-2010 Dodge Journey's needing new pads and rotors at 12,000 miles (19,310 km) or under.
What is Chrysler Doing to Fix the Problem?
Dodge, which is a registered trademark of Chrysler Group LLC, has been made aware of the defect from countless owner complaints and overflowing dealer records. On CarComplaints.com there are over 130 reported brake problems and counting on the 2009 model year alone.
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
Despite this knowledge, they have done nothing to remedy the problem or notify the owners and lessees of the Journey.
No Recall Yet, But Chrysler Issues TSBs for Brake Issues
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.
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.”
Actions You Can Take
This step is crucial, don't just complain on forums! The sites below will actively manage your complaints and turn them into useful statistics. Both CarComplaints.com and the CAS will report dangerous trends to the authorities and are often called upon by law firms for help with Class Action lawsuits. Make sure to file your complaint on all three sites, we can't stress that enough.
Step 1: File Your Complaint at CarComplaints.com
CarComplaints.com is a free site dedicated to uncovering problem trends and informing owners about potential issues with their cars. Major class action law firms use this data when researching cases. Add a Complaint
Step 2: Notify the Center for Auto Safety
The Center for Auto Safety (CAS) is a pro-consumer organization that researches auto safety issues & often compels the US government to do the right thing through lobbying & lawsuits. Notify the CAS
Step 3: Report a Safety Concern to NHTSA
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is the US agency with the authority to conduct vehicle defect investigations & force recalls. Their focus is on safety-related issues. Report to NHTSA
You can also try calling Chrysler at 1-800-465-2001 (Canada and US).