Help me please, I have a temperamental Dodge Journey!

I have a 2009 Dodge Journey (I think a 3.5L V6) that has been giving me trouble for quite some time. Every so often the car just won’t start. When I turn the key there is a click but it isn’t trying to turn over. If I turn the key to off and try it again it may or may not start. During the summer this happened one time and it didn’t start back up for 2 days and then it just worked like there was no issue. This happens after sitting in the garage all night or after driving all day. It can happen multiple times in one day or once a month.

It has been to the dealer and they have no idea what the problem is. They had it for a week and the issue never came up so to them we were just crazy. I personally think they are just being lazy but what do I know.

The battery is brand new. Auto Zone did some testing but nothing was coming up as an issue on their diagnostic computer.

Someone please help me. I drive a lot and I need this car to be reliable.

Sounds like a loose or corroded electrical connection.
I assume the battery posts were cleaned when the battery was replaced.
Have the connections to the starter checked.
If all that checks out it might be a bad starter.

…and there is also the possibility of a failing neutral safety switch. Try shifting to neutral and see if the engine starts the next time you have this problem (assuming your vehicle is an automatic). If it starts then the problem is with your neutral safety switch.

Would it make clicking noises with a bad neutral switch?

Maybe the clicking isn’t the starter solenoid. Maybe the clicking is another relay being energized with the key on and is more noticeable because the starter motor isn’t turning.

If both voltages at the starter terminals measure 10.5 volts or more during attempted cranking, and it doesn’t crank, that generally means the starter needs replacement. Ask the shop if they’ve already made this measurement. If not, maybe time to ask friends, relatives, co-workers for recommendations of other shops.

This problem has been going on for about 6 months. A bad starter could could keep working for this long?
When I turn the key and I get the click the next attempt may start fine or it might not. I had no issue with this for the past month and a half, now it’s back.

"This problem has been going on for about 6 months. A bad starter could could keep working for this long? "

Yes, bad solenoid contacts can cause intermittent no-cranks over many months. However, it usually slowly gets worse, say once/month for a few months, then twice/month, finally a couple times a week.

Can’t say how it works on your car OP, but on my Corolla the starter solenoid is a thing that looks like a mushroom, about the size of a fairly big mushroom, only coated with copper. When you turn the key to “start” the mushroom gets pulled downward with a very strong force, and the outer edges of the mushroom make an electrical contact between two metal plates. For this application this electrical solenoid switch arrangement has to have a lot of contact surface because the amount of current is huge, upwards of 100 Amps. Contrast this with something like a toaster-oven in your house that uses a lot of current, it might use 12 Amps.

Over time the edges of that mushroom thingy and the surface of the two metal plates get burn spots on them. When this occurs it would fail every time, except that that mushroom thing rotates a little bit every time you start the car. So over time more and more of the edge of the mushroom gets burn spots on it, and with the mushroom’s random rotation, it’s sort of like Wheel of Fortune whether it starts or not.