Is a Dodge Charger a Good First Car? You’ll need a fat stack


Did you know that people remember more details about their first car than their first kiss? Whether or not that will be true for you, what is true is the fact that you’ll always remember your first vehicle. The Dodge Charger is arguably one of the most recognizable cars on the road today, and it has remained one of the most popular large sedans on the road for years. There’s no debating that people like the look of a Charger, but would it make a good first car? 

The Chargers’ high safety and reliability ratings make it a good first car. However, because the cost to maintain and insure a Charger is above average, they may not be a good first car for someone on a strict budget.

There are certain questions that you should always ask about a vehicle before you decide to buy it, and we will answer all those questions below.

Dodge Charger

What Do I Need to Know Before Buying My First Car?

When you see a sleek, sporty vehicle sparkling in the sunlight, you may think, “I want that!” But before you make an impulsive decision, there are a few things you’ll need to consider, especially when buying your first car. Before you make a final choice, you should ask the following questions:  

  • How much does this car cost and will it fit into my budget?
  • How much will the vehicle depreciate? Do I plan to trade it in or sell it in the future? Am I going to lose money on the vehicle?
  • How much will it cost to maintain the vehicle?
  • How much will it cost to insure the vehicle?
  • How much will gas cost?
  • Will the vehicle be safe?
  • Is this vehicle going to be reliable?
  • What are the most common problems with this type of vehicle and how much will it cost to repair these problems if they arise?

How Much Do Dodge Chargers Cost?

The Dodge Charger is classified as a large car and is surprisingly one of the cheaper large cars on the market. If you plan to buy new, you can expect a Charger to cost anywhere from $31,350 — $120,000. Of course, it depends on where you buy the vehicle, the model, and any features you add to the car.

Since a car starts to depreciate the second that you drive it off the showroom floor, it’s sometimes better to buy used. In many cases, you can get a vehicle with lots of life left for much less than it would cost brand new.

Exactly how much you’ll pay for a used Charger will depend on where you buy it, but below you can find a list of used Chargers currently on the market in 2021 along with their prices.

VehicleMileagePrice
Used 2021 Dodge Charger Hellcat2,518$109,000
Used 2021 Dodge Charger Scat pack4,486$58,530
Used 2021 Dodge Charger R/T6,201$44,117
Used 2020 Dodge Charger Hellcat677$82,990
Used 2020 Dodge Charger R/T4,518$41,000
Used 2019 Dodge Charger R/T70,825$31,131
Used 2006 Dodge Charger SE200,496$2,599

Source: AutoTrader

What Is the Depreciation Rate for a Dodge Charger?

According to CarEdge, you can expect your Charger to depreciate up to 48% in the first five years. In other words, if you buy a charger for $31,995 it will be worth an estimated $16,638 after five years. This content is owned by moc.sotuaytsur. Knowing the depreciation rate of a vehicle helps in two ways, it allows you to calculate what your vehicle might be worth if you plan to trade it in, and it helps you figure out what you should be paying for a used Charger.

Below you can find the average depreciation rate of a Dodge Charger during the first ten years of service.

Years OldDepreciationResidual Value
1$7,22581.74%
2$12,42468.73%
3$13.11167.00%
4$13,71165.49%
5$19,05552.04%
6$23,19841,61%
7$26,11134.28%
8$26,39733.56%
9$29,44825.88%
10$28,79725.00%

Source: CarEdge

How Much Will It Cost to Maintain a Dodge Charger?

If you want to get the most life out of your vehicle, you’ll want to follow the recommended maintenance schedule, but how much will this cost you?

On average, a brand-new Charger will cost $7,809 to maintain during the first ten years of its life. This is $970 more than other large sedans. Below you can find a list of maintenance tasks along with the average price of each one.

ServiceIntervalsAverage Price
Oil ChangeEvery 10,000 miles. This may need to be done every 3,000 – 7,500 miles depending on the oil that is used.Service: $142 – $151 Parts: $107 Labor: $35 – $44
Tire RotationThis should be done every 10,000 miles and tires should be changed depending on their recommended service life.Service: $35 – $44 Parts: N/A Labor: $35 – $44
Replace Cabin Air FilterThis should be done every 30,000 miles or as needed.Service: $69 – $79 Parts: $42 Labor: $26 – $33
Replace Air Intake FilterThis should be done every 30,000 miles or as needed.Service: $68 -$74 Parts: $45 Labor: $23 – $29
Replace Spark PlugsThis should be done at 100,000 miles but checked periodically before this.Service: $288 – $405 Parts: $56 – $113 Labor: $232 – $293
Change Automatic Transmission FluidThis should be done at 120,000 miles but checked periodically before this.Service: $150 – $176 Parts: $53 Labor: $97 – $123
Coolant FlushThis should be done at 150,000 miles but checked periodically before this.Service: $123 – $155 Parts: Depends on coolant used. Labor: $123 – $155

Source: RepairPal. This does not include taxes, other fees, and prices may vary depending on location. 

How Much Will It Cost to Insure a Dodge Charger?

When buying a vehicle, people often forget to consider insurance prices, but shopping for insurance is an important step in buying a vehicle. Insurance prices can vary dramatically between vehicles, and you should make sure that you can afford this extra price on top of your monthly car payment.

Although the final price will depend on individual factors such as your age, location, and driving history, you can find the average price to insure a Dodge Charger below.

YearListing PriceAverage Annual Cost to InsureBest Company for This Year
2020$29,995$2,206/year $183/month  Allied: $783 Century: $1,416
2019$29,470$2,273/year $189/month  Erie: $1,321 Auto Owners: $1,510
2018$28,995$1,871/year $155/monthErie: $1,113 USAA: $1,319
2017$27,995$1,675/year $140/monthErie: $1,040 USAA: $1,141
2016$27,995$1,510/year $125/monthAllied: $818 Vermont Mutual: $1,182
2015$27,995$1,476/year $124/monthErie: $1,025 USAA: $1,071
2014$26,995$1,241/year $104/monthErie: $772 GEICO: $866

Source: TheZebra. Estimations may vary depending on several factors and the listing price of your vehicle may be much higher depending on the trim/style.

How Many MPG Will a Charger Get?

Why is this important? When trying to fit a car into your budget, you’ll need to include gas prices. Most people have a solid routine and so it is easy to estimate how many miles a month they travel. If you know the vehicle’s MPG rating, you can calculate how much it will cost you in fuel to travel those miles each month.

Below you’ll find the average MPG for a Dodge Charger by year. It is important to note that this may change depending on the style of Charger you buy.

YearAverage MPG
202117.6
202019.4
201918.1
201817.9
201719.1
201619.4
201519.1

Source: Fuelly

Are Dodge Chargers Safe?

When buying a car, you should look at the rating from both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Both companies put vehicles through rigorous testing in different departments and then score the vehicle depending on how it handled the crash tests.

NHTSA Rating for Dodge Chargers

YearOverall RatingFrontal Crash RatingSide Crash RatingRollover Rating
20225/54/55/55/5
20215/54/55/54/5
2020N/AN/A5/55/5
20195/54/55/54/5
20185/54/55/55/5
20175/54/55/55/5
20165/54/55/55/5

Source: USNEWSCars

IIHS Ratings for Dodge Chargers

YearFront CrashSide ImpactRear ImpactRoof StrengthFront Driver Side CrashFront Pass. Side CrashFront Crash Prevention
2021GoodGoodGoodGoodMarginalN/ASuperior
2020GoodGoodGoodGoodMarginalN/ASuperior
2019GoodGoodGoodGoodMarginalN/ASuperior
2018GoodGoodGoodGoodMarginalN/AN/A
2017GoodGoodGoodGoodMarginalN/AN/A
2016GoodGoodGoodGoodMarginalN/AN/A

Source: USNEWSCars

Are Dodge Chargers Reliable?

RepairPal has given the Dodge Charger a reliability rating of 4.0/5.0 placing it 10th out of 12, which is above average when compared to other full-size cars on the market. J.D Power has also placed the Charger above other vehicles in reliability, rating it #2 in large cars.

Let’s take a closer look at the Chargers reliability ratings by year.

YearReliability RatingYearReliability Rating
2022 #1 in Large Car89/1002015 #2 in Large Car78/100
2021 #2 in Large Car89/1002014 #3 in Large Car74/100
2020 #2 in Large Car89/1002013 #4 in Large Car73/100
2019 #4 in Large Car81/1002012 #5 in Large Car70/100
2018 #3 in Large Car81/1002011 #1 in Large Car91/100
2017 #5 in Large Car74/1002010 #7 in Large Car72/100
2016 #4 in Large Car79/1002009 #2 in Large Car84/100

Source: JDPower

How Long Will a Dodge Charger Last?

It would be impossible to predict exactly how long your vehicle will last. Neglected maintenance will shorten a vehicle’s lifespan dramatically, while impeccable maintenance could cause the vehicle to easily surpass its estimated lifespan. That being said, the average Dodge Charger will last anywhere from 250,000 miles to 300,000 miles, which is about 16 years of driving 15,000 miles a year.

We looked at some used Chargers on the market in 2021 to see the average mileage of a used car. This is what we found.

  • Used 2006 Dodge Charger — 311,916 miles.
  • Used 2007 Dodge Charger — 308,804 miles.
  • Used 2010 Dodge Charger — 280,000 miles.
  • Used 2006 Dodge Charger — 266,265miles.
  • Used 2009 Dodge Charger — 264,837 miles.
  • Used 2006 Dodge Charger — 259,038 miles.
  • Used 2006 Dodge Charger — 255,025 miles.
  • Used 2014 Dodge Charger — 253,911 miles.

Based on these real-life examples of vehicles that have been driven in real conditions by real people, it’s safe to say that your Charger could easily last 250,000+ miles.

What Are the Most Common Problems with Dodge Chargers?

Although manufacturers go to great lengths to ensure their vehicles are reliable, every vehicle will have issues specific to that make or model. Below you’ll find the most reported problems with Dodge Chargers and the average price to fix these issues.

Common ProblemAverage Mileage/YearAverage Price to Repair
Premature Engine Failure (Needs new motor)Occurs around 94,000 miles. Common in 2006 models.$5,500
Alternator ProblemsOccurs around 50,000 miles. Common in 2011 models.$650 (Replace alternator)
Door Panels WarpingOccurs around 40,000 miles. Common in 2016 models.$3,500 (Replace door panels)
Shifting Problems (Rough shifting and shuddering during gear shift)Occurs around 97,000 miles. Common in models between 2006 – 2013.Software updates may fix the problem. Price unknown.
Inoperable Power WindowsOccurs between 22,000 – 179,000 miles. Common in models between 2006 – 2013. Window Motor Replacement: $236 – $257. Window Regulator Replacement: $383 – $473.
Thermostat Problems (Fails to close completely which causes check engine light to illuminate).Occurs between 41,000 – 170,000. Common in models between 2006 – 2013.Thermostat Replacement: $137 – $158.
Musty Odor Coming From VentsOccurs between 11,000 – 138,000 miles. Common in models between 2006 – 2016.Cabin Air Filter Replacement: $69 – $76

Source: RepairPal and CARCOMPLAINTS

You may find the following posts helpful:

Is a Mustang a good first car?

Is a muscle car a good first car?

Should my first car be a truck?

Should my first car be manual?

Are muscle cars reliable?

Is a sports car a good first car?

John Cunningham

John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. I've been a mechanic for over twenty-five years, and I've worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Landrover, and Jaguar dealerships. My passion is cars. I use my knowledge and experience to write articles that help fellow gear-heads with all aspects of car ownership, including buying advice, maintenance, and troubleshooting.

Recent Posts