If you find a Dodge Caliber with problems like the sunroof leaking or the front struts wearing, it might be expected. In this article and video, we review the top 5 problems with the 1st and only generation of the Dodge Caliber, years 2007 to 2012.
Common Dodge Caliber Problems: 1st Generation (2007 to 2012)
1. Sunroof Leaking
Symptoms of Problems with the Drain Tube on the 2007 to 2012 Dodge Caliber
- Leaky sunroof
- Water puddles on the floor
- Water puddles in the dome light
Causes of Sunroof Leaks
A drain tube is supposed to drain water from the sunroof, but sometimes it can fail or clog. If it’s clogged, water will build up in the ridge and leak from the headliner.
How to Fix a Sunroof Drain Tube
Fix this as soon as possible since water leaking into the passenger compartment can damage electrical parts. Send compressed air up the sunroof’s drain tubes to check for clogging. Debris may fall out, which is a sign the hose is unclogging. Replace the drain tubes if spraying compressed air up the drain hose doesn’t fix the water leaks.
2. Front Strut Wear
Symptoms of Bad Front Struts
- Drivability issues
- Clunking sound over bumps
- Ride is less stable than usual
Causes of Bad Front Struts
The front struts have a coil-over spring. Oil might seep out of the strut from a worn seal located along the piston arm. If oil is leaking, the gases have probably leaked too. There could be a problem with the jounce bumper, which prevents the strut from fully compressing and damaging other parts. If the strut cap is worn, you’ll hear a clunking or thumping when driving over bumps. There could also be an issue with the coil spring, but this is less common.
How to Fix Worn Front Struts
If you find one of the front struts is damaged, we recommend replacing the strut on the other side at the same time. The new strut might be a different length if it’s from a different manufacturer. There might only be a small difference in length, but it can make a difference to the front of your car. The spring could also come with a different tension. If one of the struts is replaced and it has good tension while the other strut’s tension is weaker, it can sag down one side of the car. Also, if one of the struts is worn down and has seen a lot of usage, it’s likely the other one will wear out soon too, so replacing both can save you time.
After this repair is complete, make sure to get a four-wheel alignment.
3. Wireless Control Module Failure
Symptoms of Wireless Control Module Problems on the 2007 to 2012 Dodge Caliber
- Trouble starting the car
- Engine stalling while driving
Causes of Wireless Control Module Issues
The key to the 1st gen Dodge Caliber has a microchip and a battery, and this microchip allows the key to interact with the wireless control module inside of the dashboard when it’s in the ignition. Once the control module recognizes the key is in the ignition, the Caliber is able to start. If the battery is low, the microchip won’t function the same. The car might not start if the battery in the key is dead or if there’s a problem with the control module.
This problem can happen if the car has been parked for a while or if these parts have trouble communicating while driving. If there’s a problem with the communication while driving, the engine will more than likely stall out.
How to Fix Wireless Control Module Problems
Replace the Key Fob Battery
If the car has a lot of mileage and it has the original the key battery, the battery could be failing. Try replacing the battery in the key to see if that fixes this issue.
Reset the Module
You might be able to reset the module by pressing the panic button. Once the car enters panic mode, turn it off and try to start the car.
You could also remove the ignition fuse for 10 to 15 minutes, reinstall it and try to start the car.
Bring It to a Dodge Dealership
These may provide temporary fixes, but if replacing the key battery did not solve this issue and the problem persists, bring the car to a Dodge dealership and have them replace or reprogram the module.
4. Problems with the Powertrain Control Modules
Symptoms of Problems with the Powertrain Control Modules
- Check engine light
- Decreased engine power
- Transmission slipping
Causes of Powertrain Control Module Issues
If the transmission is slipping, you might notice the car revving higher but not shifting at typical RPMs. That’s because the transmission is staying in a low gear instead of shifting and increasing the speed of the car. A bad powertrain module, like the transmission module or engine control module, is a common reason for transmission slippage and less engine power with the 2007 to 2012 Dodge Caliber.
How to Fix 1st Gen Dodge Caliber Powertrain Control Module Problems
Check the fluids and see if servicing them fixes this problem.
If the fluids are fine, these modules will need to be reprogrammed if they’re causing these problems. Once they’re reprogrammed, the drivability issues should disappear.
5. Problems with the Radio in the 2007 to 2012 Dodge Caliber
Symptoms of Internal Radio Problems
- Radio works but problems like the battery failing often arise
- Battery problems like trouble starting and low voltage
- Stereo makes a clicking and thumping noise after the car is started
Causes of Internal Radio Problems
A circuity issue inside the stereo is known to drain power from the battery as the bad circuitry keeps trying to connect with it.
How to Fix Internal Radio Problems on the 1st Gen Dodge Caliber
Replacing the stereo with an original equipment (OE) or aftermarket version will fix this problem.
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1st Generation Dodge Caliber Model Years
- 2007 Dodge Caliber
- 2008 Dodge Caliber
- 2009 Dodge Caliber
- 2010 Dodge Caliber
- 2011 Dodge Caliber
- 2012 Dodge Caliber
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