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2011 Dodge Caliber - Frame rot

I have a 2011 Dodge Caliber and the sub frame is rotted out and needs replacement. Bettenhausen Dodge in IL. told me they will do the job and should be no cost tome. I get a text a week later saying that the part is in but i may have to pay for additional parts and labor. I don’t have the money for any expense for this repair and i shouldn’t have to since the vehicle is unsafe to even be driving. Do you have any advice or details of the expense for this repair since it is now common for these vehicles. Can i bring it to an independant to do the repair were it would be cheaper if i did have additional cost? Thank You

If there are worn suspension parts now would be the time to replace them while the cross member is being replaced. The labor to replace the lower control arms for example would be reduced because the suspension is partially disassembled, the technician might ask for full labor however because the warranty pay to replace the cross member is so weak. You need to make your decision on whether or not to have the additional parts replaced based on if the estimate is competitive.

If you choose to have an independent repair shop replace the cross member expect to pay about $1500.

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I covered the Toyota Tacoma frame rot issue for years. It is now pretty standard for Mfgs and Dealers to ask owners to pay for items that are beyond use when they do the frame replacement. They sometimes uncover things unrelated to the frame replacement that need to be replaced. Some are safety related, so they ask the owner to commit to these costs before starting work. How can you say no?

Have you seen the latest on the Toyota frame issue? Two weeks ago Toyota announced customer support program ZKA extending the frame warranty on 2011-2017 Tacoma trucks to 12 years.

I’m surprised they are paying for any of the frame replacement on an 8 year old vehicle. So yeah, pay the freight on other parts or just junk the truck and start over. I understand bad design or faulty materials but when does it become the customer’s problem?


I can understand your position. They may be stuck in that they cannot put back parts that may be deemed beyond their service life. Unfortunately, the sub-frame repair doesn’t include bring the rest of the car up to road-worthy standards. Considering your situation, I would explain my financial situation and ask which parts must be replaced versus what makes sense but I cannot afford. They may surprise you with an answer that they don’t have to do this if you can’t afford it or do the work at a discount that makes it possible. That’s where I would start…