Motor Vehicle Defect

Dodge Durangos Plagued by Water in Rear Tail Light and LED Racetrack Light

Model Year 2014-2020 Dodge Durangos have a serious water problem. Durango owners have consistently reported that their rear tail lights and the unique LED “racetrack light” located on the tailgate assemblies of their Dodge Durangos flood with water. The resulting water damage results in a host of serious issues such as failure of the tail lights and brake lights, dimming, flickering, or complete failure of the racetrack lights, and other electrical issues such as failure of the rearview camera and license plate lights. And as we all know, water and electronics don’t mix – and the Durango’s racetrack and tail lights are no exception.

Working tail lights are essential for safety. Durango owners report experiencing near miss rear end collisions while driving at nighttime because their LED racetrack lights or tail lights have shorted out, or are flickering, due to water intrusion. Numerous other Durango owners recount being pulled over by law enforcement or failing safety tests because their racetrack lights and tail lights fail to operate because of water saturation and damage. Naturally, many Dodge Durango owners are concerned that such an important vehicle component is so easily susceptible to water intrusion due to water leaking into the racetrack and tail light assemblies. (See below picture of water draining from the taillight assembly after a Durango owner removed a bolt on the tailgate to drain out the accumulated water).

Indeed, the Durango racetrack light water intrusion defect poses considerable safety risks, since the racetrack light and tail lights illuminate the rear of the Dodge Durango to ensure that the Durango is visible at night, in fog, and other low-light driving environments. One Durango owner even reported smelling a strong electrical fire smoke scent and seeing a faint smoke trail when the racetrack light and lighting assembly shorted out due to water pooling in the tailgate light assembly.

Water intrudes into the tail light assembly by leaking through the gaskets and seals on the tailgate. Durango owners report that rain, car washes, and melting snow causes condensation in the rear racetrack light and allows water to leak into the tail light assembly. The tail light assembly includes the brake lights, reverse lamps, license plate lights, and reverse camera system. Once the water is in the assembly, it sits and accumulates, and burns out and corrodes the electrical and lighting components. Often times, what first starts as a small dimming or short out of a portion of the rear racetrack light quickly turns into a complete short out of the entire rear light assembly. (See screenshots of one Durango owner’s experience posted on YouTube where water leakage caused a complete short out of the tailgate light assembly).

One would think that repairing leaking gaskets and seals located in such an important part of the Dodge Durango should be a quick and easy fix. However, Durango owners report that the only way to fix the issue is to replace the entire tail light assembly. Because the entire assembly includes the LED racetrack lights, tail lights, license plate lights, and the rear view camera system, replacement of the tail light assembly can easily exceed $1,200 – $1,500. Despite hundreds of similar complaints made over the course of years, Dodge has done nothing to remedy the water intrusion issue. Numerous Durango owners have reported water leakage and intrusion into the light assembly and a subsequent shorting out of their racetrack lights occurring just a few months after they purchased their Durango, or with less than 9,000 miles on their vehicle. Other owners have been forced to repair their rear tail light assembly multiple times because of continued and recurring water leakage into their tail light assemblies

If you own a 2014-2020 Dodge Durango and have been forced to undergo an expensive repair because water leakage shorted out your rear tail lights and racetrack lights, then you should consider hiring an attorney to get your money back and to hold Dodge accountable. For its part, the national plaintiff’s firm Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel is investigating Dodge’s behavior, and would be happy to take your call to discuss any potential claims you may have.


October 8, 2021