Since its debut in 1966, the Dodge Charger has been a favorite among muscle car fans. Now reaching its seventh generation, the Charger certainly stands out as a bastion of American automotive manufacturing. Many owners swear by their Chargers, even claiming they can last over half a lifetime with the proper maintenance. But is running a Charger for so long such a good idea?
Running a Dodge Charger above 100k miles is not bad at all. Some owners claim their Chargers run for twice that amount, if not more. And their secret isn’t so secret: Chargers can reach over 100,000 miles with the proper routine maintenance and auto care.
How’s that possible? It boils down to how well you treat your Charger. Automobiles may be just a bunch of parts put together, but there’s plenty of TLC involved in reaching 100k miles. Keep reading below and learn how to pass 100k in your own Charger.
Is it bad to break 100k miles on a Charger?
Let’s make something clear: It’s never wrong to reach over 100k miles on a car. Many car models are incredibly dependable vehicles that last close to a quarter-century (some even more!). Here are a few that come to mind—
However, performance cars are less likely to do the same because of how hard drivers push them.
But just because the Charger is a performance car doesn’t mean breaking 100k is a bad thing. Instead, any time a car can do well over 100k miles is grounds for praise or even celebration. We should treat Chargers topping 100k as an accomplishment for the owners and Dodge’s production team.
We call it an accomplishment because that 100k doesn’t come easy. Although we mention TLC playing a role in reaching the high mileage club, we owe some gratitude to Dodge as well. But cheap Chargers aren’t known for reliability; they are barely above average compared to their competitors.
However, there must be some quality parts in there. Over 100k miles wouldn’t be possible otherwise. And that’s what we tried to find out exactly: which parts fair the worst, which parts last longest, and everything else in between.
How to Care for Your Charger
Caring for any car involves essential maintenance: oil changes, tire swaps, wheel rotations, fluid checks, and other regular services are standard. You’ll need to follow a maintenance schedule, which generally comes from the dealership, but might be unavailable when buying secondhand. You should ask for or keep service records when buying or selling a Charger nearing or over 100,000+ miles.
Charger service plans differ for each year. For example, newer generations will require less maintenance, though they tend to be well below 100k miles. Therefore, we used plans from older Chargers (’06 -’10) which are likely to break 100k miles to create this schedule.
Dodge Charger General Maintenance Schedule
|Oil Change||6,000 miles|
|Tire Rotation||6,000 miles|
|Replace Cabin Air Filter||12,000 miles|
|Replace Air Filter||30,000 miles|
|Adjust Parking Brake||30,000 miles|
|Replace Spark Plugs||102,000 miles|
|Flush and Replace Engine Coolant||102,000 miles|
|Replace Timing Belt||102,000 miles|
|Change Transmission Fluid||120,000 miles|
|Replace Transmission Filter||120,000 miles|
Each service is continuous and should be repeated every “X” number of miles listed.
Maintenance schedules are necessary but don’t include all the parts that will need servicing. Chargers have flaws like any other car, so snuffing them out before they’re a problem will help you reach 100k. Read below to learn about the least reliable parts and what they cost to replace.
Frequently Replaced Parts
Chargers may not be as reliable as a Toyota but aren’t as bad as a Ford. Therefore, focusing on which parts have the most problems is wiser than figuring out which parts last longest.
Here’s a list of the most frequently replaced parts on a Dodge Charger, with repair costs estimated:
- PCM/TCM/ECM Software Updates ($150-$200) – Software updates only require removing the module, so labor costs are all you really pay.
- Window Regulator and Motor Replacement ($681-$731) – This involves two different components of the power window system. You may not need to replace both, but you should prepare for the worst.
- Engine Thermostat Replacement ($138-$158) – We include Engine parts and labor in the estimated cost.
- HVAC Evaporator Cleaner/Disinfectant ($16-$76) – Some Charger model years suffer from a musty smelling A/C which requires cleaning the evaporator with a disinfectant. Depending on how bad the smell is, you may need to replace your cabin air filter prematurely.
- Rear Differential Leak Repair ($200–$400) – A leak in your rear differential is relatively cheap to repair compared to a full-on gear change. Tend to problems like this with urgency to lower your overall annual repairs costs.
- General Diagnosis ($88-$111) – In this case, a “general diagnosis” can be for a few different issues. From fuel tank issues to steering column squeaking, we can’t determine ourselves which part will fail. But we do know that you’ll need to run a general diagnosis eventually.
These repairs are cheaper than most muscle cars, which makes the Charger have great value. Don’t also forget these other small factors as well—
Your annual maintenance and repair costs won’t be anywhere near or over $1,000. In other words, reaching 100k won’t cost an arm and leg.
How Long Do Chargers Last?
With plenty of Chargers out there lasting for more than 100k miles, it’s hard to tell how long they last. There’s the occasional anomaly, running 300,000+ miles, yet some Chargers die out before ever reaching 100k miles.
It’s hard to say how long Chargers last because every owner is different. If we had to give our best estimate, the Charger lasts anywhere from 150,000-250,000 miles with proper maintenance. Don’t expect any more than 100k miles with less than average maintenance.
We note that some model years are more challenging to maintain than others. We’ve already mentioned common issues amongst Chargers, but we haven’t mentioned which model years suffer from issues the most. Continue reading to learn which model years were the least successful.
The Worst Charger Years
Even though Chargers can break 300k miles with oil changes and maintenance alone, owning one can sometimes be a hassle. These model years are the worst Chargers made since 2006 and come with complementary headaches and bank account pain.
2006 Dodge Charger
The worst of the worst. These model years can reach over 300k miles but somehow suffered from the most problems overall. Out of 185 total issues, 104 were solely engine-related.
2011 Dodge Charger
This model year came with many new changes, but a whole lot more problems than the previous year. Out of 129 total problems, 53 were related to the electrical systems.
2008 Dodge Charger
While this model year has significantly fewer problems than its predecessor, Dodge was still working on getting things right. With 87 problems, 25 being engine issues, the 2008 Charger does only slightly worse than the 2012 model year (83).
Do Dodge Chargers Rust?
Now that you’re planning on running a Charger well beyond 100k miles, you’re probably worried about rust. You’ve heard the stories about the Challenger’s major design flaw, causing it to rust from the inside. And Dodge makes both cars—so, is there a chance Chargers suffer from the same issue?
Not quite. Although Dodge fills Chargers with the same rear fender foam, it doesn’t affect the Charger as much as the Challenger. Even 2006 Chargers, which are older than the oldest Challengers, rust very rarely.
If you’re pushing 99,000 miles, and you’re afraid your car will fall apart soon, then take a deep breath. There’s absolutely no reason why you should be scared of a Charger with 100,000 miles. Some owners might even envy you and gush over what a great job you’ve done maintaining your Charger.
The Charger name is legendary for a reason. Drive your 100,000 milers with pride and shoot for 100,000 miles more.
And speaking of older cars with legacy and vintage swag, you may also be interested in the following car models as well—