6.1 HEMI V8 Engine Problems
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3 Most Common 6.1 HEMI Engine Problems

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The 6.1 Hemi was the powerhouse of the early SRT8 vehicles, like the Charger and Challenger. Known for its size and power, the engine offered a good combination of both performance and reliability, making it sought after for high power builds.

The 6.1 Hemi really doesn’t suffer from any major common problems, but it is known to have issues with the roller lifters, spark plugs and ignition coils, and excessive oil consumption. We’re going to discuss each of these problems in-depth below and provide our overall opinion on 6.1 Hemi reliability.

6.1 HEMI V8 Engine Problems

3 Common 6.1 HEMI Engine Problems

  • Lifters
  • Misfires
  • Oil consumption

1) Lifter Roller Issues

Some believe problems with the lifters and lifter rollers aren’t quite as common on the 6.1 HEMI. However, it’s a lower production engine than the 5.7 and 6.4 which may play into that. Regardless, the internet has a tendency to blow things out of proportion and this certainly isn’t an issue that affects a large percent of engines. However, seized lifter rollers are a known issue on the 6.1 HEMI and many other HEMI engines.

It seems to root cause of lifter roller issues is simply poor design and/or lack of lubrication. Ultimately, the lifter rollers seize and the lifter then contacts the cam lobes. This results in an audible ticking sound due to the metal on metal contact. For some, it’s only the start of the problems when a 6.1 HEMI lifter roller fails.

Metal on metal contact may result in metal shavings getting into the engine oil. The oil filter should catch most of the metal if the issue is caught and repaired in a timely manner. If left alone it’s possible for further damage to occur if the metal shavings enter and damage other parts, like the 6.1 V8 oil pump.

Symptoms of Lifter Roller Failure

  • Ticking
  • Misfires
  • CEL

It can be hard to diagnose problems with the 6.1 HEMI lifters and lifter rollers. Usually the ticking sound is the only noticeable symptom. As with the other HEMI engines, some owners notice ticking without any actual underlying faults. This makes it even harder to diagnose, since an engine tick doesn’t always point to a seized lifter roller. As problems become more severe you might notice misfires or a check engine light.

Those who run into lifter roller failures typically see it begin around 70,000 to 120,000 miles. The below video gives a quick peek at the lifter problems on the 6.1 HEMI engine.


When seized lifter rollers are caught in time it’s highly unlikely any additional damage occurs. Regardless, the engine must be opened in order to replace/fix the camshaft and lifters. The parts and labor alone can easily add up to $1,500+. Savvy DIY’ers can save a decent chunk of change on the repair since most costs are labor.

Lifter roller repairs can add up to even more in the rare cases metal shavings damage other parts. Again, it is unlikely that occurs but it’s still good to be aware and on the look-out if you’re noticing ticking or other issues.

2) Misfire Problems

Misfires are rarely an issue by themselves, but rather are a symptom of another underlying problem. As such, we don’t believe it’s fair to call misfires a true problem. However, as with most HEMI engines, the 6.1 HEMI uses 16 spark plugs. They’re standard wear and tear parts, but 16 spark plugs leaves a lot of room for error.

As a high performance engine, spark plugs will likely only last about 40,000 to 70,000 miles. A lot comes down to how hard you push the engine. Ignition coils are another maintenance item that may cause misfires. They typically last at least twice as long as spark plugs.

Premature ignition coil or spark plug failures aren’t common by any means. However, it can and does happen especially with a whopping 16 spark plugs. Nonetheless, plugs and coils are basic maintenance items. Don’t overlook these simple repairs if you’re having misfires on the 6.1 HEMI.

Symptoms of Misfires

  • Fault codes
  • Stuttering / hesitation
  • Rough idle
  • Poor performance

Misfires should trigger the Dodge/Chrysler HEMI engine to throw a fault code. Rough idle and engine hesitation may also point to misfires. Power loss does occur, but if it’s one out of the 16 spark plugs you probably won’t feel the power loss.

There are tons of other issues that cause the 6.1 HEMI to misfire, but spark plugs are among the most common. Again, it’s standard maintenance but two spark plugs per cylinder leaves more room for failures and higher repair costs.

Spark Plugs & Ignition Coils Replacement

Spark plugs and ignition coils are some of the easiest repairs on almost any engine. That includes the 6.1 HEMI. Most should be able to knock out these repairs in the driveway in less than an hour. Expect spark plugs to require replacement every 40,000 to 70,000 miles, depending on driving habits. Ignition coils should last about twice as long.

It’s a good idea to replace all spark plugs at the same time if it’s been a while. The failure may start with one, but the rest are likely soon to follow. A set of 16 spark plugs comes in around $100-150. If you plan to go to a repair shop labor will likely come out to another $75-150.

3) Oil Consumption

To be honest, this normally wouldn’t make the list. Fortunately, there just aren’t many common problems to discuss on the 6.1 HEMI engine. High oil consumption is a known problem that’s even led to a few total engine failures. It’s important to check the oil levels on the 6.1L V8 every week or so. That can be said for any engine as it’s just good practice.

Anyways, the oil consumption itself doesn’t appear to have any ill effects on 6.1 HEMI reliability or longevity. All engines experience oil consumption due to natural oil blow-by. Some consume more than others. If you’re noticing excessive oil consumption of 1+ quarts per 1,000 miles then there may be a true underlying problem.

Otherwise, keep an eye on oil levels and don’t allow it to go low. Losing too much oil can cause low oil pressure, which subjects bearings to extra stress. It’s very uncommon but some 6.1 HEMI engines have run into engine failures due to bearings or rods. Low oil or poor oil quality is likely a factor in a chunk of those cases.

Oil Consumption Fixes

If you want to reduce oil consumption on the 6.1L HEMI then a few of the following suggestions may help:

  • Change the oil on time
  • Use high quality oils
  • Avoid excess idling
  • Install an oil catch can (OCC)

Most of this is basic stuff. It’s always a good idea to change the oil on time and run high quality oils. The 6.1 HEMI is a performance engine, and any performance engine is bound to be a little picky about oils. Otherwise, avoid excessive idling as that can increase oil blow-by. A common topic for the 6.1 HEMI is installing an oil catch can. Not only does this help catch oil to avoid any possible carbon build-up, but it also helps reduce consumption in many cases.

6.1 HEMI Reliability

Is the 6.1 liter HEMI engine reliable? Yes, the engine earns above average remarks for reliability. It’s not the most reliable engine around, but it’s also far from the worst. All of the modern HEMI engines offer respectable reliability, and the 6.1 might be the best out of them all. The engine is a bit more simplistic, lacking MDS, which definitely helps.

Lifter rollers are really one of the only true “common” problems on the 6.1 HEMI. Otherwise, we didn’t really have too much to discuss. The engine does use 16 spark plugs, which leaves a lot of room for potential failures and misfire problems. High oil consumption is another topic, but it doesn’t seem to cause any reliability or longevity concerns. Just keep an eye on oil levels.

Maintenance is, of course, one of the keys to ensuring a long living and reliable engine. Change fluids on time, use quality oils, and repair problems in a timely manner when they occur. Do all of this and chances are you’ll have an excellent experience with the 6.1 HEMI. We believe it offers a very compelling balance of performance and reliability.

Looking for more content on the 6.1L HEMI engine? Check out some of our mod guides including this HEMI supercharger guide, intake manifolds, and cam upgrades.

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  1. I have a 2006 Chrysler 300c 6.1 hemi with 154,000+ miles on the clock, still going strong, every year I treat it to a 100,00 mile service, the only replacements needed so far include hand brake cables, they seized up due to COVID lockdown and lack of use, the wheel speed sensor rings and new brakes pads and tyres, fantastic to drive, I just love it. Mike Jarvis

    1. That’s insane man I have an 06 300 6.1 hemi with exactly 155,000 on the dash and I can’t get this thing to run right for the life of me. I have the oil consumption its gives the lightning bolt of death(limp home mode) im getting excessive misfires. But I’m going to take the heads off and I’m going to replace any sensor that’s bad or going bad. I’m going to go on ahead replace head gaskets intake exhaust all that good stuff and my oil pressure is way to high so I don’t drive it. It never goes below 59 so im replacing that damn pump which im an idiot because I did the timing chain and didn’t replace the oil pump but every other component is brand new but my oil pump makes a god awful sound when the car is warmed up but when I accelerate it goes away then immediately returns when I let off the throttle. I bought the car for 3k someone had abandoned it at a car wash….long story short the people tried to do a “stolen vehicle” report but they waited to long to file the police report and the insurance company wasn’t buying the story and by the time it was all said and done the towing company that came and picked it up because the state trooper was called for the vehicle being left for so long….and it was left running but by the time they tried to file it as a stolen vehicle and tried to scam the insurance company for some $$$ they actually ended up being out of a vehicle because they owed thousands to the towing company that was storing the vehicle so they ended up taking possession and yea now i have this mystery car. But I’m an ase certified tech so this was my project car. Let me tell you with no actual background and knowing nothing it’s been a PITA but it will all payoff in the end. Hell everything will be rebuilt by then. Lol look forward to enjoying my 6.1 as you have. I certainly see potential in it which is why I even bought it in the first place!!!

  2. Own 2008 Jeep SRT 8 since 2009 , 179000 miles on it now, had to replace the rear crank seal 2weeks ago started as a dime sized leak that kept growing until I brought it to the shop. The they pulled the transmission 5 .5 hour job, 1256$ .Fine now. Onlyl other repairs besides brakes was a water pump at 120000 miles and a radiator at 155000 .Replaced belt tensioner and all rubber (hoses and the serpentine belt) when the water pump was done.Still have original plugs in it from the factory which will be replaced in about two weeks.Runs great.Still has orignal Air conditioning.

  3. Well i just bought a 2010 SRT8 it has 26,140 miles on it as i read the pros and cons about the SRT8 i just hope i have good luck with it, i really like it and i’m a classic car Guy so it will be well taken care of.

    1. my srt8 has 223k miles.. you all kill me worrying at such low miles.. and it runs just as good now as new

    2. I just bought a 2010 challenger SRT8 on Sunday. It’s very quick but after reading some of this I think I need to do coil packs and plugs. The clutch is also sketchy.
      I absolutely love this car !
      Mine has 64 thousand miles on it.
      Are you having any trouble with yours ??

  4. Bought a 09 Challenger SRT8 In Nov.2021 only had 12,458 on it. have noticed the oil usage half quart every 2,000 miles. The car now has 16,856 on her. So far so good. No engine ticking yet but it is a Chrysler motor and they all do that eventually…lol..

  5. I have had my 6.1 SRT8 for 11 years, and have just short of 160k on the clock, its a beast of an engine, almost indestructible, only issues I have had has been tyres, brakes and suspension, I had to replaced the radiator and starter motor and that’s it.

  6. I have a 2010 Challenger SRT8. 70,000 miles. It’s garaged during the winter. Runs like a dream. Time will tell if it lasts as long as some of them here

  7. I’ve had my 2010 charger SRT for almost 5yrs and when I bought it had just a little over 50k miles. It’s my daily driver and it’s pushing 215,000 miles on now. I never had any major issues or problems with it.

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