Dodge Grand Caravan Problems
Dodge is a name associated with years of research and experimentation that led to the automobile innovations that we enjoy today. The Dodge Grand Caravan, in particular, had been one of the strongest contenders in the area of sizeable, family-friendly minivans. Although the Grand Caravan offers plenty of flexibility in terms of space, the vehicle lacks the remarkable features of the more powerful minivans. In fact, there have been recalls on some Dodge Grand Caravan parts due to underperformance and safety issues.
Power window failure
Although a vehicle's windows are not as crucial to performance as the engine, they could still cause difficulties on the road. The Dodge Grand Caravan has optional power windows that often succumb to failure. Grand Caravan owners complain that the power windows of their vehicle do not open occasionally-a big deal especially when there's a substantial amount of rain or snow. This problem is likely to be a result of window motor or regulator failure. Affected year models start from 1996 to 2005 (2003 models are not included, though).
The Grand Caravan's electronic transmission has been the bane of many Dodge Grand Caravan owners. Episodic difficulty in shifting was one of the reasons why many Grand Caravans were recalled in the past years. The transmission solenoid issue affected the gear-shifting capability of the vehicle, and this pushed the manufacturer, Chrysler, to introduce a new electronic transmission known as the Ultra Drive. Although promising at first, the new transmission wasn't a big help in improving the vehicle's performance.
General electrical system concerns
The Dodge Grand Caravan seemed to have the most number of issues related to its electrical system. Wirings, ignition, and circuit breakers are some of the problems that initiated a recall on several Dodge Grand Caravan models (from 2001 to 2010).
FAQs—Dodge Grand Caravan
There is this distinctive smoke smell inside my Dodge Grand Caravan that I want to remove. How should I do it?
Smoke smell is something that does not simply go away just by leaving your car windows open. It penetrates into the carpet and upholstery and needs serious cleaning. Vacuuming the surfaces of the upholstery and carpet is one thing to do, but persistent smoke smell must be treated through steam cleaning. Also, the air duct system is something to tackle. Make sure to park your car in a well ventilated area and leave the windows open. Spraying a bottle of good odor neutralizer while the air conditioner and fan are turned on full blast will help offset the foul smell. You might likewise want to turn your heater on full blast and continue spraying the deodorizer onto the air intake.
My car interior is reeking of mildew smell. What DIY procedure can I take on?
Humidity or moisture buildup often results to mildew smell. This becomes a common issue, especially with the unpredictable weather.Parking your car in poorly ventilated areas also does not help. Over time, mold grows in areas where you rarely expect them. Among the first things to inspect are the mats, carpeting, or upholstery, as moisture gets trapped on their surfaces. Remove, clean, and dry them thoroughly before placing them back inside. Make sure to wipe off the areas where these accessories are attached using an absorbent rag. Scrub visible mold growth with a nylon scrub pad but be careful not to scratch the surface. You can apply an effective anti-mildew solution or odor absorber to the area. These products are widely available in the market. Then, leave your car windows or doors open for at least 24 hours for optimum results.
My car won't start. Should I get a new battery?
Battery trouble is often associated with cars that won't start. This is particularly true with older vehicles. However, you need to be certain first if what you are experiencing has something to do with a dead battery. A few of the telltale signs include slow cranking, dim lighting on the gauges and dashboard displays, and obvious dimming of the headlights as you start up your car. If you notice these key indications, you do not necessarily need to purchase a new battery. Charging it will save you the costs.
I get this wobbly experience with my Dodge Grand Caravan when I speed up. What must be the problem?
Wobbling of a vehicle should not go unnoticed, as it can lead to serious accidents. If you feel like your vehicle is shaking despite the road being flat and concrete, you should immediately have your wheel alignment checked. The shaking can be a little bit trivial as you start driving out of your garage, but it gets really uncomfortable once you pick up speed. Do not pass this up as some minor issues, mind you. Have your alignment inspected at once to avoid road mishaps.
Dodge Grand Caravan: Changing and Improving for a Better Driving Experience
Chrysler’s introduction of the minivan during the 1980s instantly captured the American family’s desire for an edgy, functional, and spacious family car. Sold under the Dodge brand, the Grand Caravan aimed to be a long-wheelbase complement the original Caravan. And despite the emergence of multiple rivals in the minivan category, the Grand Caravan was able to retain its competitive sales through the years.
First generation: 1984 – 1990
Initially a longer version of the Caravan, the Dodge Grand Caravan’s first generation came in three trim levels: the base, mainstream SE, and upscale LE. With its slightly longer body, the first gen Grand Caravan offered a significantly larger cargo space than the Caravan. Its front-wheel-drive design gave the Grand Caravan the look and feel of a station wagon instead of a full-sized van.
All inline-4 engines came with a 3-speed TorqueFlite, Chrysler’s automatic transmission, and a 5-speed manual. Due to its sluggish performance, the original 2.2-liter engine was replaced by the fuel-injected 2.5-liter inline-4 engine in mid-1987. However, it only produced a decent 100hp with 135 lb-ft torque. This paved way for the addition of a more powerful engine option, the turbocharged version of the base 2.5-liter. It gave the first gen an outstanding 150hp with 180 lb-ft torque. And by 1990, a new 3.3-liter V6 engine was added to the power options.
Second generation: 1991 – 1995
The Dodge Caravan’s second generation came feature-packed, including the Quad Command bucket seating, anti-lock brakes, and integrated child-safety seats. Aside from a redesigned trim in the 1992 model year, the second gen had upgraded roof-racks and door handles. In 1994, the woodgrain and wire wheels option on higher level models were already discontinued, and from the previous 3.3-liter V6 engine, the second gen added a 3.8-liter V6 engine option. It gave Grand Caravan users 162hp with 213 lb-ft torque.
A special 10th Anniversary Edition model of the second gen Grand Caravan was available in 1994, offering users the option for a 2-tone paint scheme. This included a contrasting light gray-colored lower break, along with a gold fender badge.
Third generation: 1996 – 2000
The Grand Caravan’s 1996 model year came with a number of Chrysler’s innovations, such as a driver’s side sliding door and a seat management system called the Easy Out Roller Seats. These new features, however, were not exclusive to the Grand Caravan, and were also presented in the 1996 model year of its nameplate variant, the third gen Town & Country.
Introduced at the 1995 North American International Auto Show, the third gen Grand Caravan used the Chrysler NS platform. It retained the 3.8-liter V6 engine but matched it with a more efficient 4-speed automatic transmission.
Fourth generation: 2001 – 2007
The fourth generation Grand Caravan was revealed in the 2000 North American International Auto Show and was offered in 2001 as a redesigned model, together with the 2001 Town & Country.
Noteworthy improvements on this generation include remote-operated sliding doors and rear hatch. This innovation allowed users to open and close the hatch with the simple push of a button, either inside or outside the vehicle. By 2002, all Grand Caravan model years dropped the Dodge badges on their front doors. However, the 2003 model year received minor changes such as the standard 16” chrome wheels and the dismissal of the AutoStick Transmission option.
Fifth generation: 2008 – present
With the fifth generation, all Grand Caravans came in the long-wheelbase form. A number of Chrysler’s innovations were features in the fifth gen, including those features shared with the fourth gen Town & Country.
Aside from the standardization of the Electronic Stability Control, the 2011 Grand Caravan experienced a facelift, which included a heavily retuned suspension and a lower ride height. A new, basic style trim called “AVP” was introduced for the 2012 model year and the option list expanded to include features such as a touch navigation panel.