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American station wagons aren’t usually known for their power. When the Dodge Magnum arrived on the scene in 2005, it took the automobile market by surprise. It was wide, like a hauler, and quick, like a hot hatch. The Dodge Magnum became the ideal daily driver for some people because of its spacious seating, large cargo area, and versatile engine options, not to mention its lower price compared to SUVs and crossovers. 

It’s a great time to buy a used Dodge Magnum. The worst depreciation years of the Dodge Magnum have already passed, so the projected depreciation rate of a used 2008 example is just at 17% after five years, according to AutoPadre.

How Reliable is a Dodge Magnum?

The 2008 Dodge Magnum has a JD Power reliability rating of 2.5 out of 5.0, which is low. There have been five NHTSA recalls for the Magnum.

The 2008 Dodge Magnum came with a basic 3-year/36,000-mile warranty, a lifetime powertrain warranty for non-SRT trims, and a 5-year/100,000-mile rust-through warranty. We were surprised by how well used Dodge Magnums held up over time. An Edmunds user reportedly racked up 50,000 miles on their 2008 Magnum SXT, with minimal issues. 

2005 dodge magnum
The Dodge Magnum became the ideal daily driver for some people because of its spacious seating, large cargo area, and versatile engine options. Image source: Greg Gjerdingen | Flickr

Top Dodge Magnum Problems

Numerous problems stalked the Dodge Magnum over the years. This led to massive recalls and multiple lawsuits that effectively sealed the sports wagon’s faith in 2008. Here are some of the Dodge Magnum’s most common problems.

Takata Air Bags Could Explode Upon Deployment

The Chrysler Group has launched two massive air bag recalls for all model years of the Dodge Magnum. The Takata air bags in certain models may explode when deployed, possibly causing sharp metal shards and fragments to strike front-seat occupants. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) believes it is the result of a defective seal. Moisture can enter an improperly sealed air bag inflator and degrade the propellant used to inflate the bag. There are two possible outcomes when a degraded propellant is activated: Either the air bag deploys very slowly or the air bag explodes. In any case, a faulty air bag will not keep you safe in the event of a crash. 

Many other Dodge and Chrysler models have been affected by this recall. According to USA Today, the Takata air bag recall is the largest in U.S. history. Japanese air bag supplier Takata has agreed to recall an additional 35 million to 40 million inflators on top of the 28 million it already recalled initially. 

Chrysler dealers will replace front air bag modules for affected models free of charge. Owners who have had their frontal air bags previously replaced are advised to have their air bag modules replaced at their dealer to ensure the safety of their air bag system. 

2005 dodge magnum interior
It was reported that the Takata air bags in certain Dodge Magnum models may explode when deployed. The Takata airbag recall is the largest in US history. | Image source: Greg Gjerdingen | Flickr

Ignition Problems

Certain Dodge Magnum models manufactured between May 23, 2007 and May 12, 2008 were recalled due to ignition problems. The ignition key (FOBIK) may become stuck in between two operating modes or independently move from one position to the next. If the ignition goes to the ACCESSORY position while the vehicle is in motion, the engine may shut down, along with safety systems, such as air bags, power steering, and power braking. The sudden loss of power can lead to accidents on the road.

The Dodge Magnum has a keyless ignition system with a Wireless Ignition Node (WIN) that operates like a traditional ignition switch. It has four operating modes: LOCK, ACCESSORY, ON, and START. The first three modes are detented, meaning they don’t change positions once the ignition key is locked in. Only the START position is spring-loaded. When released from the START position, the ignition key should automatically snap back to the ON position.

The precise cause of this issue has yet to be determined. You may call Chrysler’s customer service number if you’re worried about your Dodge Magnum’s ignition.

Gear Shifter Stuck in Park

The gear shifter on certain Dodge Magnum models from 2005 to 2008 can get stuck in Park. When this happens, you’ll have to call in a towing truck to drag your car to the shop. Chrysler hasn’t issued an official recall for this problem, so you’ll have to shoulder the expenses for now. 

Several factors can cause the shifter to get stuck. If your Dodge Magnum is parked uphill, for instance, the force of gravity can put pressure on the transmission’s parking lock. A stuck gear shifter can also indicate a failing shift lock solenoid. Some Dodge Magnum models let you override the shift lock solenoid so you can free up your shifter. 

Fixing a stuck shifter takes skill. You shouldn’t work on the part yourself unless you know what you’re doing. In the meantime, you should hire a mechanic to fix it for you.

Powertrain Problems

There have been two powertrain recalls for the Dodge Magnum. The first recall covers 2008 models with missing torque retention crimps. The rear axle hubs on affected models may loosen as a result, allowing the halfshaft to disengage from the wheel hub. A loose rear axle hub can depower your vehicle and lead to a collision.

The second recall involves the gearshift cable and steering column mounting bracket on Dodge Magnum models built with the police package. In these affected vehicles, the gearshift cable may disengage from the steering column mounting bracket, possibly resulting in an incorrect gearshift position display. A problem with these components can cause the vehicle to move on its own, which can increase the likelihood of a crash.

The Dodge Magnum’s powertrain recalls shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you notice something off with your Magnum’s powertrain, you should take it to the dealer for a thorough inspection. 

The Dodge Magnum may not have as many issues as other vehicles with longer production cycles, but its most serious issues can be deal breakers. Safety issues exist with nearly every model year of the Magnum, so we suggest doing some research before jumping the gun.

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