Chrysler 3.6L Pentastar Engine Review ( Problems, Reliability )

For nearly a decade, FCA has continued developing Engines, technologies, performance, and improving its products’ quality. Besides, current issues like exhaust gas emissions and fuel consumption will no longer be experienced. Sure, it is a good thing for customers with vehicles that apply Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar.

The 3.6L V6 Pentastar. is widely used in some car lineups and series. You can mention them there are Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, and Ram. 

What is Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine?

Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Engine is an engine series from Pentastar. It was first introduced in 2009 at the New York Auto Show for the 2011 model year of Dodge, Chrysler, and Jeep vehicles. Interestingly, in only four years, the engine branch has successfully replaced the seven types of 6-cylinder engines previously used by the FCA.

Also, the Pentastar engine production bases are in three locations. They are the Mack Avenue Engine Complex and Trenton Engine Plant (Michigan, USA) and the Saltillo South Engine Plant in Ramos Arizpe, Coahuila, Mexico.

Performance, Fuel Economy

Currently, the Pentastar 3.6-liter V6 engine has entered its second generation. Some improvements are found to make it better than the first generation released in 2010.

Some of the main components and improvements are torque technology implementation and a two-stage variable valve (VVL). Both components are added to optimize engine performance and strengthen the vehicle more.

The latest two-stage Variable Valve Lift (VVL) technology increases engine torque boost to 14.9%, mainly when the engine runs below 3000 rpm.

As information, the torque mentioned above is the general performance of all the products. The 3.6L engine itself has different horsepower ratings in different vehicles. Besides, it has the higher horsepower (305 horsepower) and torque (268 lb-ft) used in the Dodge Challenger.

Additionally, the last variant of the Pentastar engine is the 3.0-liter V-6 version.  The engine with the smallest capacity in the Pentastar lineup is manufactured to specifications specifically tailored for the Chinese automotive market.

Some other features are also added to make it better than the first generation. Yes, despite the engine now featuring a two-stage variable valve lift (VVL), there are also the cooled EGR, new intake manifold, new fuel injector, and new ignition coil.

It also features an upgrade to variable valve timing (VVT), an increased compression ratio of 11.3: 1, lower internal friction, and lower weight. These improvements help increase power and make the vehicles that use it more efficient.

Those improvements are good things for sure as it makes the second generation of Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar perform better. However, this new version has lost its flexible fuel capabilities. This is a matter that many users seem to feel a little bit disappointed.

Some other features are also added as follows. The 230 horsepower and 6,000rpm-powered engine with 285Nm 4,400 rpm torque has a 60-degree tilt angle and focuses on Noise, Vibration, and Harshness (NVH) reduction. This way, it is believed that the car with this engine can operate more smoothly and comfortably while the performance is still powerful.

By seeing the specifications mentioned above, it seems weird must agree with what is said by Bob Lee, Head of Engine, Powertrain and Electrified Propulsion, and Systems Engineering, FCA-North America. Yes, he said that the Pentastar line of engines is now an icon and benchmark in the V6 engine segment. Maybe, in the future, we can see more high-end cars using this engine with more improvements for sure.

Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Review

Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar Problems

While this Chrysler engine series has been well-known for having great specifications and performance, it doesn’t mean the product is completely perfect. There are some problems found, although when it is compared with the pros it gives, the problems seem to be nothing. So, what problems may you find if you buy the engine? Here they are.

Cylinder Head Failure

First, it is the cylinder head failure. The left cylinder head of the engine is indeed quite problematic. Failure is quite common, actually. It has been found that in about 0.5% percent of 2011-13 vehicles with 3.6L V6 Pentastar engines. Yes, engines with cylinder head failure can be easily recognized by a ticking sound from the left side.

Sometimes, there are some other signs of failure. It includes the illumination of the check engine light. The failure that happens in the car is primarily caused by excessive usage. Fortunately, in August 2012, Chrysler made the upgrade version of the design, and the problem is rarely found until now.

Besides, almost all vehicles with 2011-13 model year 3.6L Pentastar engines have extended engine warranty on the left side cylinder head to 10 years or about 150,000 miles. So, although the problem may still exist, you should not worry too much about it for the warranty you will get.

Rocker Arm Problems

One of the rocker arm’s main functions is opening and closing the inlet valve, also known as the intake valve. The rocker arm does not determine the open and close movement of the inner valve. The cam lobe assists its movement on the camshaft. Therefore, when the cam lobe pushes the rocker arm, it automatically presses the valve to make it open.

Unfortunately, in this Chrysler engine series, this area sometimes doesn’t work well. The movement managed by the cam lobe is often not done smoothly. Of course, it disturbs the performance of the engine in general. Besides, although the producer has made some improvements, this problem is still often experienced.

Overheating Engine / Cooling Systems Issues

In general, the engine type has been well-known for a long time. As has been mentioned above, the engine is also used widely in many car series. But yes, there is a problem that seems to be difficult to solve. The engine is sometimes overheating, and the cooling system seems not to work properly. Some users also experience these problems several times, even after the cooling system has been repaired.

However, it seems that the engine performance has been improved currently. The problem rarely happens in the Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar, although sometimes some users still complain about it. It can be concluded that this Pentastar series is still a great engine. It is also named as one of the most reliable engines available on the market right now.

Oil Pump Failure

Some car owners with Chrysler Pentastar engines also complain about clogging-up radiators and frequent replacement of water pumps, thermostats, and oil pumps. The problem may lie in the production and preparation of an individual engine before assembly. The heads are sand-cast, and they need to undergo serious inspections for cleanliness before being used.

But any residual sand that remains from the casting process inside the engine can also circulate through the vehicle’s cooling systems. It sometimes causes clogs gradually removed by remembering that the cooling system is one of the vehicle’s problematic parts.

Fortunately, some users experience that the oil pump failure is getting better after this area is fixed in the workshop. Well, it is, although they still find the problem come out after a certain period of time after that.


In 2016, FCA released a new version of the 3.6L V6 for the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango. The new engine has a two-stage variable valve lift (VVL). This new engine has received several improvements, fuel consumption which is more efficient than the previous version.

Is The 3.6L Pentastar Reliable?

Despite all the problems mentioned above, you can still say that the Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar is still reliable. Yes, being used by some big brands is proof that the engine is qualified. Besides, there are some reasons to say that it is a reliable product. First of all, the specs show the greatness of the engine. It brings you stronger performance without disturbances like noise and vibration.

Second, it features technology that boosts performance as well, but it is still environmentally friendly. Yes, pollution is a problem that still cannot be completely solved until now and one of the factors is the use of fuel engines. It is such a good thing that this engine tries its best to reduce the side effect of its usage.

Third, you probably think twice about using Chrysler 3.6L V6 Pentastar after knowing some problems it has. However, some improvements are made here and there to make the product better. It is seen from the upgraded version of the engine. Yes, it is much better than the original one, with some problems that have been diminished.


ManufacturerMack Avenue Engine Complex, Saltillo South Engine Plant, Trenton Engine Plant
Production years2010-present
Fuel typeGasoline
Fuel systemPort multi-point fuel injection
Power, hp283-305 hp
Torque, lb-ft251-269 ft-lb 
Cylinder block materialAluminum
Cylinder head materialAluminum
Number of cylinders6
Valves per cylinder4
Valvetrain layoutDOHC
Bore, mm96.0 mm (3.78 in)
Stroke, mm83.0 mm (3.27 in)
Displacement, cc3,604 cc (219.9 cu in)
Type of internal combustion engineFour-stroke, naturally aspirated
Compression Ratio10.2:1;
11.3:1 – 2016+ the Gen2/revised Pentastar
Engine oil weightSAE 5W-20, 5W-30
Engine oil capacity, liter5.7 l (6.0 qt)
Oil change interval, mile9,000 (15,000 km) / 12 months

Cars that using 3.6L Pentastar

Here are cars that use the 3.6L Pentastar engine:

  • 2011–2014 Chrysler 200 
  • 2011–2016 Chrysler Town & Country
  • 2011–2014 Dodge Avenger
  • 2011–present Dodge Challenger
  • 2011–present Dodge Charger 
  • 2011–present Dodge Durango 
  • 2011–2020 Dodge Grand Caravan 
  • 2011–2019 Dodge Journey
  • 2011–2015 Jeep Grand Cherokee
  • 2011–2014 Volkswagen Routan 
  • 2011–present Chrysler 300
  • 2012–2018 Jeep Wrangler 
  • 2011–2015 Ram Cargo Van 
  • 2012–2015 Lancia Voyager
  • 2012–2014 Lancia Thema
  • 2012–2015 Fiat Freemont
  • 2012–present Ram 1500 
  • 2013–present Ram ProMaster
  • 2014–2017 Chrysler 200 
  • 2016–present Chrysler Pacifica (RU)
  • 2020–present Chrysler Voyager

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