2009 Dodge Journey Short Brake Pad Life

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Autohouse
Brake pad replacement is a normal occurrence in all motor vehicles- brakes wear out. When it happens too often, it becomes expensive and reduces the value of the vehicle. This article explains why this happens on the 2009 Dodge Journey.

Submitted: May 21, 2016

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Submitted: May 21, 2016

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Questions about the life of brake pads can sometimes take on the same tone as a query about the meaning of life. For the owners of 2009 Dodge Journeys this is not the case. Their brake pads are wearing out at a rapid rate. In fact, so many of the crossovers are having their front brake pads wear out prematurely that a class action complaint has been initiated and Chrysler has sent out letters to owners offering coverage for brake pad and rotor replacement.

In the summer of 2010, a class action complaint and demand for a jury trial was filed in the United States District Court, District of New Jersey on behalf of two complainants, one from New Jersey and one from California. The complaint alleges that Chrysler built the Dodge Journeys in question with brake pads that are too small for the size and weight of the vehicle. They believe that the rotors are too thin as well.

In any car’s brake system braking becomes a function of friction and the ability of the system to deal with the heat generated by that friction in a way that minimizes brake pad wear. In this class action, the plaintiffs take issue with the “swept area”, which is that part of the brake rotor that comes into contact with the brake pads. The smaller the brake pad is, the smaller the swept area becomes which in turn concentrates heat and reduces brake pad life.

Within the complaint, there is a chart comparing vehicle curb weight (CW) to the swept area (SA). The ratio between the two specs is calculated and then compared to other vehicles. A Mitsubishi Outlander, for example, weighs less than the 2009 Dodge Journey but is shown to have an SA to CW- ratio which is over four times larger than the Journey.

In the winter of 2010, Chrysler sent a letter to affected 2009 Dodge Journey owners which extended the three-year, 36,000-mile warranty to include the front brake components of the crossovers. The car company has established two deductible thresholds for replacing front pads and rotors on these vehicles. If owners need this repair performed between 12 months and 12,000 miles and 24 months and 24,000 miles (whichever comes first) the owners will pay $50, if they fail after that period but before the 36-month 36,000-mile mark (whichever comes first) the deductible rises to $100.

Informed Journey owners might ask “What happens then?”  With the average age of vehicles rising (USA Today cited 10.2 years in 2010) brake jobs every 12 to 24,000 miles might seem a burden. We recently checked the condition of the brakes on our 2009 Hyundai Tucson and it looked like the OEM pads were going to last until 40,000 miles, so where does that leave the owners of the 2009 Dodge Journey? The answer is that the brakes will continue to fail prematurely since Chrysler has not addressed the underlying design flaw.

Trade it and forget it might be the answer, you say? It’s a big “gotcha” there too because the resale value performance of the vehicle will be reduced due to the need of front brakes every 12 to 24,000 miles. In the crash arena, this is called diminished value which is something the insurance companies hope will go away.

It will be interesting to follow the class action procedure and even more interesting to see what it takes to keep 2009 Dodge Journey owners in the fold.

Sources : Case 2:33-av-00001, Courthousenews.com

Warranty Bulletin, Autosafety.org

Chris Woodyard, Average age of vehicles in the U.S. highest in 15 years, USAtoday.com


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