If you’re in the market for a reliable compact SUV, the Dodge Nitro should be one of your top picks. Although it is a seemingly good car, it can also present some common Dodge Nitro faults .
In addition to having impressive crash test scores and safety features, the Nitro also boasts striking design, a quiet ride, and considerable towing capacity. It’s been years since its last model was released in 2011, yet it’s still a viable option for people looking for a reliable daily driver.
How good is the Dodge Nitro?
The Dodge Nitro has received high scores in major reliability ratings. It is given 4.0 out of 5.0, ranking it eighth out of 26 midsize SUVs. Annual repair and maintenance costs for this model are approximately $582, which is $70 less than most vehicle models.
Nitro owners typically take their vehicles in for unscheduled repairs 0.3 times per year compared to the average 0.4 with a 12% chance of having a major problem. With proper maintenance and timely repairs, the Nitro can go beyond its expected useful life.
Common Dodge Nitro Faults
Despite being a reliable daily driver, the Dodge Nitro is no stranger to developing problems as the mileage racks up. Below are some of the common model Dodge Nitro failures through different model years.
1- Engine problems
Many Nitro owners through all model years (2007-2011) have reported instances where their vehicles could not start despite having a working battery, starter, and alternator.
Some of them had to call a towing company to get their SUVs to their respective dealerships. A subsequent investigation discovered that the no-start situation was caused by electrostatic discharge (ESD) affecting the Nitros’ wireless control module (WCM). As a result, this activated the anti-theft system by mistake.
2- Electric door lock problems
A faulty power door lock has been a commonly reported problem by 2007-2011 Nitro owners. Some drivers have reported being unable to lock or unlock their doors, while others have to deal with intermittently working door locks. To solve this problem, experts recommend modifying the hardware and the door panel.
3- Failures in the rear door light
Owners of some 2007-2011 Nitros have reported that their courtesy lights and tailgate ajar light come on intermittently despite having the tailgate closed. Upon checking, the mechanics determined that the problem was caused by a mismatch of the wires with the tailgate ajar switch connector.
4- Problems with the steering wheel and headrest
Despite having impressive safety features, some Dodge Nitros have been reported to have loose steering wheel emblems that can increase the risk of injury during a collision.
In 2020, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States recalled certain 2007-2011 Dodge Nitros due to loose emblems or mounting nuts. These parts can become projectiles when the driver’s side air bags deploy during a collision.
NHTSA recalled 2011-2012 Dodge Nitros that were manufactured between June 17, 2011 and December 15, 2011 in 2013 due to an electrical overload of a resistor in the occupant restraint control module. If not corrected, the active head restraints on these models may not deploy during a collision.
After issuing recall campaign number N38, Chrysler has flashed the affected vehicles’ TIPM or replaced the head restraint occupant control module, free of charge. Other FCA models included in this call are some 2011-2013 Chrysler Sebrings, 2011-2013 Dodge Avengers and 2011-2012 Jeep Libertys.
5- Faults in the remote keyless entry system
Some owners of 2007-2011 Nitros (excluding the 2010 redesign) have reported problems with their vehicle’s remote start or keyless entry system. In some cases, the SUV could take up to two minutes to unlock.
Several drivers have also complained that their radiator fans would come on and their check engine light would illuminate after using the keyless remote.
6- Engine problems
Being part of the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) brand, the Dodge Nitro comes with a fully integrated power module (TIPM). The module serves as a distribution box for the entire electrical system of the model . But while this has its advantages, it’s also one of the most common causes of drivability problems on many 2007-2010 Nitros.
Many Nitro owners have reported their SUVs randomly dying or stalling at idle.
Some have also complained that the lights worked intermittently, and the wipers, radio and heater came on randomly. In some cases, the front windows would roll down by themselves and the doors would lock and unlock for no reason due to an outdated TIPM.
7- Engine and transmission problems due to outdated PCM software
Many 2007-2008 Nitros owners have reported that their SUVs jerk repeatedly when they step on the accelerator pedal. The transmission may also fail to go into reverse . In some cases, affected vehicles may jump and trigger the P0741 (Torque Converter Clutch Performance) trouble code. These problems are usually resolved by updating the PCM.
8- Failures in the back door
Some 2007-2008 Nitro owners have reported that they are unable to open their doors using the model’s keyless entry system. Drivers also report that the hatch could open from the side despite having all the doors closed . These problems are normally resolved by adjusting the door closer adjustment screw.
9- Multiple electrical problems
Electrical problems are unavoidable when talking about common 2007 and 2008 Dodge Nitro failures. Many owners of these model years have complained about having an illuminated battery light , a horn that would chirp randomly, and windshield wiper systems. which would automatically shoot the water. There have also been reports of doors locking randomly and headlights turning on automatically.
10- Roof rack lifting failures
According to some 2007 Dodge Nitro owners, problems with their roof racks are not uncommon for the model year. Affected drivers report hearing roof rattling noises and roof racks breaking after driving at high speeds. The roof rack on this model year tends to come loose due to the lack of tape on the front of the side rails.
Whether you’re looking for a new or pre-owned Dodge Nitro, worn or damaged components will inevitably affect its quality and driveability. Therefore, it is important to be aware of its repair and maintenance. It’s also a good idea to keep an eye out for any recalls your SUV may have, as it will help you resolve any issues it may have before they get worse.