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Help please with my 2011 dodge caliber

OK peeps I need some help here. My 2011 Dodge Caliber has been acting up and I am getting NO Where with the dealership. They keep telling me they can not figure out the problem, unless it does the same thing while it is there. But I feel unsafe driving my car, due to the fact it can happen at any given time. What happens is while driving it, all of a sudden you can not accelerate, you can have the pedal to the floor and nothing maybe 5 miles is all I get. This has happened twice now, and both time I took in it. The second time it happened all I did was start the car up. NOw how would you feel if you were driving and all of a sudden this happened to you. What if I’m driving and it happens when I go make a turn, and bam I get hit. Again this sucks and piss’s me off. Oh yeah I only have 10,289 miles on it.

Why are you willing to settle for bad treatment from the dealership, when a complaint to the manufacturer is likely to yield much more help?

Open your Owner’s Manual, and find the contact info for Chrysler at the corporate level. There will be both an address and a toll-free telephone number. I would suggest that you begin with a phone call, being careful to be…rational…adult-like…calm…but resolute that your car has a serious safety-related issue. Then, follow-up your phone call with a very detailed registered letter to the address provided in the Owner’s Manual.

The result of your communications with Chrysler will most likely be a visit from their regional service supervisor, who is both more knowledgeable and more eager to please than the folks at most dealerships. Hopefully that person’s intervention will resolve your issues with the car.

“Maybe 5 miles is all I get…”. Do you mean you drive 5 miles from home and suddenly the engine dies? Or does it just slow down a lot? Does electric power stay on at the dashboard (dash lights, etc) or does that die also?

“The second time it happened all I did was start the car up.” Do you mean it died right after you started the car, before driving away?

After it dies, what happens? does it start again right away?

If both the engine and the dash lights die, there’s an electrical problem, possibly a bad ignition switch or a faulty battery cable/ground cable connection.

Here’s another Caliber owner who had a (maybe) similar problem. Read the comment from gingerninja who said she also had a stalling problem, but only when the AC or heat was on.

And here’s a Dodge Caliber thread about power loss/stalling that may be related to the throttle body:

Your vehicle has what is called a Drive-By-Wire throttle system.

Instead of having a throttle cable between the gas pedal and the throttle body, there’s a gas pedal position sensor that sends a signal to an electric motor on the throttle body which opens the throttle plate.

That’s the area I’d be looking at.


My first thought is an electronic throttle body issue so I agree with that possibility.

Just some food for thought here seeing as how the vehicle is only averaging about 3k miles a year.
What if the problem is related to the vehicle sitting a lot and fuel contamination due to solids or moisture; maybe even made worse if ethanol is being used?

In a case such as that, no warranty unless the warranty person or service manager at the dealership chooses to lie about the cause or someone at corporate Chrysler feels benevolent.

I agree with Tester that this problem sounds like the fly by wire gas peddle maybe be acting up. I kind of recall reading on the internet of some Caliber owners with this problem.

When this happens, does the Check Engine Light come ‘on’? Have any Diagnostic Trouble Codes been pulled from the computer?

Near as I can tell, OP’S car still has new car warranty, for a few more months, I believe

While it’s a good idea to become more informed . . .

The ball is Dodge’s court. It is their responsibility to fix the car.

If it was my car, I would walk into the service writer’s office, drop the keys on the desk and say “I’m back with the same complaint. Don’t bother calling me to tell me you can’t duplicate my complaint.
You already used up that card. Don’t bother calling me until you’ve fixed my car.” And then walk out the door.

And if they do play their BS games and hand the car back without doing anything, then it’s time to call Dodge corporate and start lighting a fire under somebody’s butt

If you post what model of the 6 variations Dodge make I may be able to find if there are manufacturer campaigns to fix your problem.

Check the attached pdf from a reputable carstuff publisher.

You haven’t really described the problem well enough for anyone to comment with authority on it. If the dealer can’t duplicate the problem then it’s difficult if not impossible for them to diagnose accurately. We can only speculate as to the problem given the scant details you’ve provided. If it’s still under warranty then you should make arrangements to leave the car at a dealership and have them provide you with a loaner.

If you complain firmly and reasonably there’s no reason they won’t comply and fix it properly. Reasonably includes speaking to the BBB as well as Chrysler or even your State AG. There’s no logical reason for a vehicle with such low mileage to have issues accelerating without a defect in some part.

If you’d have said it’s unintended acceleration I’d have laughed it off as PEBKAC/PEBSWAP but this is at least a sane complaint.


I clicked on that pdf and I’m a little confused

I don’t see anything that relates to OP’s problem

@Jamye, makes ure you get paperwork from the dealer that documents what your complaint is (was), what their response is, and is dated. That way you will have recourse if the warranty expires before they figure it out. If you have this paperwork for your previous vists, that’s great.

“Reasonably includes speaking to the BBB as well as Chrysler or even your State AG.”

When Smart Money magazine published their investigative report on the Better FOR Business Bureau a few years ago, they summed up the article by stating, “Few consumers are actually helped by the BBB”.

I won’t go into detail more than to say that the OP would be wasting time (and possibly money) by filing a complaint with the BBB. Instead of complaining to a private “Old Boys Club” that has no regulatory or punitive power, the OP might want to consider filing a complaint with the Department of Consumer Affairs, which–as a governmental entity–DOES have punitive power as it is an affiliate of the AG’s office.

However, because it appears that the vehicle is still under warranty, I stand by my original recommendation of putting pressure on Chrysler at the corporate level.

Don’t waste your effort with the BBB, as the most that will happen is that they will place your complaint on file–possibly after charging you a fee to file your complaint.

Reasonably includes speaking to the BBB as well as Chrysler or even your State AG.

Chrysler or the State AG might be a good idea. The BBB is useless. I use to live in a city where the head of the BBB was the owner of one of the larger dealerships. For some strange reason that dealership had the highest rating from the BBB over all the other dealerships in the area. Gee I wonder why.

The BBB is essentially a sham, and unfortunately there seem to be a lot of people who think that it is the “go-to” agency when you have a consumer problem.

How could the BBB be effective when they will only intervene with businesses that are fully paid-up members of their club? If you contact the BBB about a non-member business, they simply place your complaint on file–frequently after charging you a fee.

If you complain about a business that is a member of the BBB, they simply ask the business to satisfy your complaint. They cannot–and do not–compel a business to do anything. And, if the business simply replies to the complainant with a refusal to help, that still qualifies as, “case resolved”, in the BBB’s files.

In extreme cases, where a business has accumulated a very large number of complaints, the BBB can take their most extreme action, and that is to refuse to accept that business’s dues for the following year, thereby expelling them from the club. Because the BBB is a profit-making enterprise (local franchises are sold, just like a fast food franchise), they very seldom refuse to accept dues, as that is part of their business model.

In essence, the BBB’s business model is a perfect example of a conflict of interests!

Why are some people so woefully uninformed that they think the BBB is a governmental agency with regulatory and punitive power?

Incidentally, my experience with The BBB goes all the way back to the early 1950s, when my brother (who was still a child) thought that he was going to get something for free, on a trial basis, only to find out that he had supposedly signed up for an ongoing delivery of goods at a high price. This, despite the reality that children cannot enter into a business contract. My mother contacted the local BBB, which proved to be absolutely worthless, and the dunning letters addressed to my 10 year old brother did not stop until my mother personally contacted the company, read them the riot act, and explained the most basic part of contract law to them.

Fast forward to a few years ago, when Smart Money magazine did an in-depth investigation into the practices of The BBB, and published the scathing results. If they had printed inaccurate information, they would have been sued for libel–but they weren’t sued! Instead, the following month, they published a letter from the president of the national BBB, basically acknowledging that his organization had, “problems”, and stating that he was trying to fix those problems.

If The BBB did not even try to contest the statements made by Smart Money’s reporters, including, “Few consumers are actually helped by the BBB”, that should tell you something about this essentially worthless organization.

Barrels of good advice here, lots of informed suggestions of where the problem might be found and repaired, some questions to narrow the problem solving; but not a word from the original poster.

I get pretty tired of us talking to each other about these questions, but very little response from the people we think we are helping.

I’m in full agreement that the BBB is near worthless and it’s main function is to drag in dues paying members while creating a warm and fuzzy feeling for the consumer who sees a plaque upon entering the business.

Just to reiterate, if this problem is a fuel issue then warranty, the BBB, and AG are moot points. Offhand I tend to thing that it’s not a fuel issue; just throwing the possibility out there and especially if ethanol is involved with the scant driving being done.

Yep, no need to yell and scream at a business that hooks and underage kid into a contract. All you have to do is tell them they are underage and the contract is therefore “void”, period. Watch their mouth drop.

At any rate, the symptom I believe is properly described as “unresponsive throttle”. From the links provided, it looks like Chrysler has had this issue for quite some time and have not resolved it. The important part at least is making sure you have a record of the problem and the dealer attempt, before the warranty runs out. Then they still have to accommodate it the same as if it was under warranty. They should at least change out the suspect parts and see if anything improves but they might just take a part from another bad vehicle and put it in yours.

The other option if you really think it is a safety concern is reporting it to the National Highway Safety Agency since they are the ones that deal with safety defects and recalls. While stalling may be disconcerting, there are things you can do to minimize your risk by staying out of the left lane, keeping distance with other cars, etc. I think you’re either going to end up having to live with it or do what other disgusted folks have done and trade.