Minivans were introduced in the early 80's and rose to popularity in an alarming rate. The minivans concept started when many young family starters wanted a vehicle that could fit a whole family yet be designed miles apart from their fathers' old station wagon. They wanted a vehicle that was modernized and they could call their own. The target market for this vehicle was families residing in suburban neighborhoods. This vehicle was a mix between the station wagon and the large work vans that people would convert then for passenger loading. They also wanted improved fuel economy than those from the big V8 powered station wagons and full size vans of the previous bygone era.
Chrysler was credited for creating this segment. In 1984, Chrysler released the Dodge Caravan along with its siblings, the Plymouth Voyager and the Chrysler Town and Country. These three were the first modern minivans and have caused quite a stir with their entry. After three years of successful run by the Caravan a bigger brother came out with the Grand Caravan, which sported a longer wheelbase and had more cabin and cargo area. Over the years, this minivan has evolved to what they are today to meet the demands and needs of the consumers. Some sport bigger engines while others have options to provide a hassle-free ride. Accessories were also provided to offer luxury and ease. Entertainment systems could be installed as well as a multiple others to make the drives more pleasant and comfortable.
Minivans are designed to be tough. They take a lot of beating with daily commuting. It is imperative that proper care and maintenance is provided. With all the hauling, passenger and cargo, the Dodge Caravan makes, wear and tear is sure to set in. Even though Dodge has instilled in the Caravan great engineering, deterioration is still in the offing. But this can be delayed and prevented. Proper care and maintenance is the key. You don't have to wait until the problem gets bigger. If you notice strange sounds and a difference in driving performance, it is best that you consult an expert at once before a small detail affects the whole vehicle.
This is where high-quality Dodge Caravan parts come in. When replacing deteriorated parts, it is best that you only use topnotch Dodge Caravan parts. This way, all specs and fits are precise. They won't affect the already marvelous operation that the Dodge Caravan undergoes for its daily drive. Also, they would provide years and years of durable and reliable service. Never compromise the well-being of your passengers and your Caravan, only use reliable, top-quality Dodge caravan parts.
Cleaning Tips for Your Dodge Caravan's Interior
When people hear the word "minivan", the first thing that comes to mind is "soccer mom's car". It can seat half of the school's soccer team or haul a month's worth of groceries. Thanks to its cavernous cabin and fuel-efficient engine, minivans are the ideal family transport. However, dirty shoes, spilled drive-thru food, pet drool and stains from occasional carsickness can ruin your minivan's interior. Save your Dodge Caravan's pristine interior from eternal ruin with these important cleaning tips.
Heavy objects stored in the minivan's rear can leave indentions on its carpeting. Before you decide on having the rear carpet replaced, a damp towel and flat iron can solve the problem. Placing the damp towel over the carpet and pressing it lightly with a flat iron helps raise the indention. However, do not leave the iron for too long because the carpet fibres might melt.
The general rule when cleaning minivan carpets is to remove all the stains. Mix a cup of white vinegar, dishwashing detergent and a gallon of hot water. Dip a hard bristle brush in the mixture and scrub the carpet thoroughly. Let the mixture sit for at least 30 minutes before blotting it dry with clean rags or towels. This also helps remove stubborn pet stains.
- Plastic and vinyl parts detailing
Plastic and vinyl are durable materials, which make them ideal for minivan interiors. However, their surfaces easily attract dust due to the static they generate. Vinyl and plastic are easy to clean when they become grimy. Always use a microfiber towel, cleaning cloth or sponge when cleaning. Avoid using regular soap on plastic or vinyl surfaces. It will remove the materials' natural sheen. Use cleaning solutions with UV protection to preserve these plastic and vinyl parts.
- Cleaning door jambs and panels
Most minivan door panels and jambs are made from different materials. These include leather, vinyl, carpet or fabric. Shoe scuffs on vinyl surfaces can be removed with a damp cloth. Interior vinyl cleaners can also be used to remove tough stains and scuff marks. A soft toothbrush and a mixture of mild soap and water help clean window pulls, cranks and door handles. Use a clean towel to dry the door completely. Treat plastic, vinyl and fabric surfaces with a protectant to reduce fading and staining.
Don't forget the console and dashboard
When cleaning your minivan's interior, you sometimes neglect its console and dashboard. Their exposure to the harsh rays of the sun can lead to damage over time. Without proper care, its parts may crack or fade. Cleaning them is easy and all you need is a clean, damp microfiber towel. Wipe the dashboard and console to lift dust particles from it. Don't forget to wipe the air conditioner grills and vents. A vinyl or plastic protectant can also be used to give them an extra layer of UV protection. Use a foam applicator pad and wipe these areas thoroughly. You can also use this on the steering wheel, shift boot or on the turn signal levers to keep them clean and shiny.
Your Dodge Caravan deserves proper treatment, especially its interior. Protect it from stains and abuse by adding it to your cleaning routine. Remember these tips to keep it clean and tidy.
Dodge Caravan: The Progenitor of the Minivan Segment
In the auto-making industry, taking a different step is always a doubtful endeavor, for there are no assurances of success. However, the Dodge Caravan, which was introduced by Chrysler Group LLC in 1984, became a bold pioneer of the minivan segment, paving the way for cars that could be used by families with its ample cabin space and easy handling. The Caravan has lived through five generations, and until 2012, its parts are still moving through the assembly lines, with the model promising a fair but difficult battle against its competitors.
1984 – 1990: The compact seven-seater
Based from Chrysler’s S platform, the initial releases of the Caravan were compact from the outside yet spacious on the inside. Three trims were available (base, SE, and LE), and each trim was available with a slightly longer version called the Grand Caravan, which was characterized by having more cargo capacity behind the rear seat. The units had a front-wheel drive, and they looked very much like a breed of a station wagon and a van, sitting up to seven passengers in three-row seats. The bench seats in the back row were removable and could be snapped back into place. For safety, the units had three-point seat belts for the front passengers and simple lap belts for the others. Despite not having airbags and ABS, the models had side-impact reinforcements at all seating positions. Other characteristic features of the units were the sliding door on the passenger side, the hatchback door for rear cargo access, and the non-adjustable headrests for the front seats.
1991 – 1995: The safer minivan
This generation of the Caravan came out with several innovations, including a Quad Command bucket seating, anti-lock brakes, integrated child safety seats, reclining seats, dual front airbags, driver’s side airbags, and an all-wheel drive. The introduction of the airbags also brought with it alterations to the interior; the seats had new contours and fabrics, and the dash was restyled. On the outside, the models also had roof racks and door handles, and the color of the grille and moldings was made similar with the car body.
1996 – 2000: The easy-to-use Caravan
This generation offered a lot more for consumers. The models were available in short and long wheelbase, eight different powertrains, and three- and four-door configurations. Some of the new changes were the driver’s-side sliding door, the Easy Out Roller Seats, and a door handle with lock for the rear hatch. In 1998, a sportier Caravan ES was available; it sported an AutoStick transmission and 17-inch wheels. Aside from new colors and interior fabric, there was also a keyless entry remote, lift-gate handles, and an additional sliding door.
2001 – 2007: The improved interior and exterior styles
The fourth-generation models were available in eleven trim levels excluding the base model. These units generally had a larger body frame as well as redone headlights and tail lamps. Some of the innovative features included a remote-operated rear hatch and sliding doors, composite panels for the windows, plastic bedliner for the cargo floor, and rubber flooring for the rear cargo area. In 2005, a Stow ‘n Go seating was introduced along with a new fog light fascia and a restyled grille.
2008 – 2012: The easy-to-drive, comfortable-to-use Grand Caravan
This generation saw the birth of the highly upgraded Grand Caravan, which had the longest wheelbase among all manufactured models. These models came with a Swivel’n Go seating, video screens for the second- and third-row seats, dashboard-mounted transmission controls, a MyGIG entertainment system, and a gearshift on the instrument panel instead on the floor. Handling improvements were also done, which called for the installation of a larger front sway bar and a new rear sway bar, a new steering gear, and a new front static camber setting, among others. The models also provided much passenger comfort, for they had acoustic glass, softer surfaces, LED ambient lighting, and extra sound insulation.