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is 35,000 miles alot for a manual hellcat?

2589 Views 11 Replies 10 Participants Last post by  Pitcher
FOund a body style and build I love for a manual cat. Looks to be in good shape. its a 2019 with 35k miles. Anyone have issues with used hellcats?
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FOund a body style and build I love for a manual cat. Looks to be in good shape. its a 2019 with 35k miles. Anyone have issues with used hellcats?
35K miles can be too many miles or not nearly enough depending upon how the car was treated/serviced.

I have driven a number of high performance cars to 150K miles and beyond. Yeah, things wore out: water pump, fuel pump, an alternator, even a throw out bearing (but no clutch and all were manuals) with the car still in good operating condition.

But I followed a good service schedule, left the cars stock, and didn't abuse/misuse or race the cars.

I'll post this used Hellcat check out write up. Maybe you will find it of some value...

Used Dodge Charger/Challenger Hellcat check out:

My general advice is to visit the used car cold, open the hood and check the oil level, leaving the hood open. Give the other vital fluid levels a visual check at least to ensure none are low. If vital fluids are low this could be a warning flag.

In the car start the engine. Be sure all warning lights come on and then go off once the engine has started. Pay particular attention to the CEL. Be sure the A/C is off. You test the A/C later.

Let the engine idle from cold. You want to listen for any signs of ticking/noises or any other signs the engine may not be healthy. A rough idle, backfires, spitting back, anything out of the ordinary.

For the Hellcat I'll add of course you listen to the supercharger for any real noise. But as I mentioned above if the supercharger is "bad" I think the noise would clearly have you thinking "that doesn't sound good".

Call up the Performance Pages app and view coolant and oil temperature and pressure and battery voltage. You want these displayed as you get first a test ride then have a test drive.

Let the engine idle and get out of the car and walk around the car checking body panel finish, alignment, and gaps. Note the condition of the wheels, looking for any curb rash. Check the tires. Ideally they should be factory sanctioned tires and in good condition. Drag radials is a flag for obvious reasons. Check the brakes, look at the rotors for signs of damage/excessive wear. A lip around the rotor outer diameter is a sign of rotor wear.
 The "taller" the lip the more rotor wear there is.

Check the hood and trunk hinges for any signs the fasteners have had wrenches on them. At the front carefully check the radiator fasteners for any signs of wrenching.

In fact ideally none of the engine hardware wants to show any signs of any wrenching. If it does this suggests someone had been in the engine and this is generally never a good sign.

After some few minutes of the engine idling -- the longer the better -- and with the engine still running ok and sounding ok have the seller take you on a test ride. The route should be around 15 miles long and chosen to give the driver a chance to demo the car as you intend to use it. What is wanted is a mix of city driving with stop and go, steady moderate speed cruising on like a boulevard, and some highway/freeway driving. Ideally there should be some opportunities -- once the engine is up to temperature -- for some rather hard acceleration with the driver starting out from a standstill or a slow roll and accelerating hard up through at least a couple of gears. No need to smoke the tires or try to duplicate the factory's 0 to 60mph time but you want to experience the engine under hard acceleration to verify it pulls good, runs right, and afterwards shows no ill effects from the hard acceleration.

While a passenger of course pay attention to how the transmission shifts, how the car rides, feels. The car should not want to pull to one side or the other and the hard acceleration should give the driver a chance to perform a hard braking. No tire lock up but you want to verify the brakes have plenty of bite and the car tracks straight under hard braking.

With an automatic I recommend having the driver do a k-turn with the engine/transmission cold to see how the transmission reacts to repeated/rapid changes in direction.

For a manual I'll add there is the close observation the transmission has no tendency to pop out of gear. At take off the clutch should engage smoothly with no signs of grabbing. Once the engine is up to temperature where the road allows it a hard acceleration in 4th or 5th gear starting around 2K to 2.5K RPMs and holding full power as long as is safe and prudent is to see if the clutch slips. The "best" gear depends. You want to choose a gear that ideally is 1:1. If the transmission doesn't offer a 1:1 gear then the gear which is closed to 1:1 without being lower than that. You want to avoid any lower gear ratio which multiplies torque which tends to reduce the load on the clutch.

To know gear ratios you'll have to research this online. With my 2020 Scat Pack 4th gear is 1:1.

After the 15 mile test ride then back at the starting point -- leaving the engine running -- get behind the wheel and drive the car over the same 15 mile test route and drive it pretty much the same way although since the car is unknown to you you can dial back on the hard acceleration test. You don't want to let the car get away from you and wrap it around a telephone pole.

And with the engine/transmission now up to temperature you do the k-turn to once again see how the transmission reacts to repeated/rapid changes in direction.

There is no benefit to doing the clutch slippage test again. But you can certainly pay attention to if the shift lever pops out of gear or even feels like it wants to.
 Any judder/shudder when taking off is not a good sign. This can arise from wear -- the rivets in the disc are in contact with the flywheel or pressure plate or the flywheel has been overheated and has developed hard spots. Or a clutch pedal that requires a lot of effort to operate is not a good sign either. This suggests clutch wear.

The pre test ride/drive idle time coupled with the 15 mile test ride and then 15 mile test drive serve -- among other things -- to have the engine run nearly an hour. This gets the engine and drive train up to operating temperature.

Leaks are more active when things are warm.

Also, it gives the engine controller time to run through its readiness monitor checks. If it finds a problem it will turn on the CEL and log an error code.

(A sophisticated used car buyer will have an OBD2 code reader and after the test drive while the engine is still running using the OBD2 tool query the engine controller for any active/pending/permanent error codes, and the status of the readiness monitors. Now in some cases not all readiness monitors are set to complete. This can be due to the test ride/drive not adhering to the drive cycle most conducive to getting the engine controller through its readiness monitor test phase.)

After your 15 mile test drive then at the starting point if you still like the car confirm all systems work. From the head lights to the tail lights. From the horn to the back up camera (if fitted). The A/C. Check all the controls. The wipers. Everything.

At this point if you still like the car and believe you can buy it for a good price -- based on your market research -- it is good idea to arrange to have the car given a pre-purchase inspection (PPI) by a tech who is qualified to evaluate the car. A Dodge dealer tech can be used. These guys evaluate trade ins all the time.

This gets the car in the air so a check can be made for any leak sign. At the same time a check can be made for any signs of damage or damage repair.

You want to really experience the car in its natural state: engine running and on the road. All cars generally look good on the lot. But it is how they look and run and feel and sound and smell on the road, or after being on the road, that really matters.

Be aware and adjust your price accordingly that the car probably needs some attention. Unless the seller can supply paper work the services are current or you can run the VIN through a Dodge dealer and get a list of services budget for various services that are due.

As I touched upon above, tires should be in good condition but if not if the tires are worn unevenly budget for an alignment assuming wear is not severe enough to suspect the car's bent. In this case you don't want an alignment you want to walk away from the car.

Remember these things: Price is not fact only an opinion. And there is always another car. If you find something negative about this car don't feel you have to buy it. There is another car out there you'll like just as much if not more than this one and it won't have any negatives.
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