And that’s because of one thing: rust. It’s called cancer in the car world for a good reason. Once it’s there, there’s no other way to remove it than to cut it out.
The problem seems the worst with earlier model years. According to a user on challengertalk.com, the Challenger has foam in the rocker panels for sound deadening that retains moisture and causes rust and rot. This is remediable via DIY project, but requires an anti-corrosive material in place of the foam.
The Dodge Challenger for 2009 had a five-year/100,000-mile warranty against rust. Some users on challengertalk.com note difficulty in getting FCA to cover the repair. Most of them with model years around 2010. This issue is more prevalent on vehicles that are in east coast climates for the obvious reasons of wet weather and salt on the roads.
When shopping for new or used Challengers, please first consider another American coupe. If that fails, ask the seller about the foam. It’s likely they won’t know when or if the car will rust, but make sure the rocker panels get a good look. And remember, the new Challenger SRT Demon has a lot of sound deadening removed to save weight.
We’ve been calling the Challenger overweight for about ten years. Maybe we should have been more supportive of its weight loss.