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Dodge Caravan Reliability and Common Problems

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There’s a lot to love about the Dodge Caravan. All of its model years have something great to offer, from reliable interior features to excellent steering. Even its resale value is good, with a 5-year depreciation rate of 3%. You can get a used 2007 Dodge Caravan that’s in good condition for anywhere between  $3,000 and $6,000, according to US News & World Report.

Are Dodge Caravans Reliable?

The Dodge Caravan enjoys average reliability ratings, with some of its model years scoring better than others. US News & World Report gave the 2007 Dodge Caravan a 7.0 out of 10, while Consumer Affairs rated the Dodge Caravan a 3.9 out of 5.0. With these figures, it’s apparent that with careful handling and regular maintenance, the Dodge Caravan can easily enjoy a long service life.

Top Dodge Caravan Problems

Although the Dodge Caravan is one dependable minivan, it still has its fair share of problems. Here are the most commonly reported issues for different model years:

Oil Leaks

According to owners of the 2006 Dodge Caravan, problems like leaks in the oil filter adapter in the engine block are common in some units of this model year.

The leak may be traced back to the oil filter housing adapter or the gasket itself. Dodge has made a revised oil filter adapter to address this problem. For some, the issue was fixed at no cost at all because it was included in the warranty.

Front Crankshaft Seal Popping Out

2005 2007 Dodge Caravan Wikimedia
Some 2006 Dodge Caravan owners have complained about their minivan’s crankshaft seal popping out. Image source: Wikimedia.

Many 2006 Dodge Caravan owners have complained about their minivan’s crankshaft seal popping out. Most of them reported that the check engine light and oil warning lights switched on before they noticed the state of their front crankshaft. The faulty seal may also be the culprit behind an oil leak.

Power Door Lock Failure

Power door lock failure is among the most reported 2005 Dodge Caravan problems. This is often attributed to a faulty key and the internal switch, which causes the door locks to malfunction.

Drivers report that a beep confirmed that their doors were locked before driving. But upon checking later, they often found their doors unlocked.

Some owners were able to restore their power door lock’s function by removing and replacing the 20 amp fuse.

Engine Stalling

According to some owners of the 2003 Dodge Caravan, engine stalling caused by a dirty throttle body is common for some units of this model year.

Several owners experienced low engine idle while their van was warmed up. This caused the oil light to flash and stay on. The problem would reportedly only go away after they accelerate. Some drivers experienced rough idle while in gear, while others noticed that their engine hesitates during acceleration.

Oily residue may block air flow in the closed throttle, which often results in low engine idle speed or frequent stalling. Cleaning the throttle body usually corrects this issue.

Transmission Failure

2002 Dodge Caravan SE Wikimedia
Transmission failure is among the most reported problems about the 2002 Dodge Caravan. Image source: Wikimedia.

Transmission failure is among the most reported problems of the 2002 Dodge Caravan. Some owners report that their van would jerk, lurch, and produce grinding noises before the transmission disengaged from the engine.

Unfortunately, most cases required the transmission to be removed and disassembled before the issue could be resolved. Despite the number of complaints regarding this problem, Dodge has not issued any recalls to address this.

Odd Noise in Front Suspension

Many 2002 Dodge Caravan owners have heard odd noises coming from their minivan’s front suspension. In most cases, worn sway bar bushings or sway bar end links produced rattling or clunking sounds during low-speed driving.

Some owners heard clunking noises when going over bumps, while others noticed loud clunking noises when they were slowing down, going over speed bumps, or turning.

If you’re in the market for a Dodge Caravan, be prepared to embrace the good and the potential bad. But don’t worry. As long as you know the potential issues with the specific model year you’re planning to get, buying this minivan should come with little risk. Look up the most common problems that affect the model you’re eyeing, and make sure the seller has cleared everything before taking your new or used Dodge Caravan home.

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Vehicle Reliability

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