Chrysler and Dodge’s minivans are no strangers in the complaint department. Owners have dealt with problems ranging from the Totally Integrated Power Module to various electrical issues. It’s not really surprising to see them back in the limelight because of another problem.
According to Automotive News, owners are dealing with a frustrating issue with the 2016 model. There were so many complaints that the NHTSA is now involved.
What’s so appealing about the Chrysler and Dodge minivans?
The Chrysler Pacifica and Voyager minivans are good vehicles for families that need extra room. They come with plenty of standard safety features, like adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and forward-collision warning.
You’ll find that these vans receive some of the highest safety crash test ratings, which most families look for in a vehicle. The Chrysler Pacifica comes in both a gas and a hybrid powertrain, which helps increase gas mileage. It’s even an award winner with the 2021 model.
FCA has made quite a few changes following its merger with Chrysler, which is now under the Stellantis brand. The decision to eliminate a few of the vehicles from its lineup seemed a bit rushed. Dodge Grand Caravan ended its production run in 2020, despite some pretty decent sales figures. Last year’s models are still up for sale in the 2021 model year. Dodge also dropped the Journey as well.
What problem are they seeing with the Dodge Caravan and Chrysler Town & Country?
Some 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan and Town & Country minivan owners have been slightly upset by an annoying problem with the power sliding doors. They find that when they go to open it, the doors won’t budge. The remote fob, electronic controls, or mechanical handles will get it to unlatch or unlock. Some owners had an issue with only one of the doors, while others dealt with both not unlatching.
NHTSA received about 476 complaints regarding this issue. Drivers reported that they had to have their passengers exit or enter the vehicle through the front, the other sliding door if it was operable, or the rear gate, which made it very inconvenient.
According to Car Complaints, many owners felt it could be a safety issue if the doors don’t open when an emergency arises. Some drivers remarked that sometimes there would be a loud buzzing noise. This would happen when they locked or unlocked the door.
How is it being addressed and will there be a recall?
At this time, there’s no recall issued for it, but NHTSA figures there are an estimated 233,084 vans that could be affected by this problem, so they’ve begun the process of investigating it. This is where they will contact the automaker to get the necessary data from their end. A spokesman for Stellantis said they would fully cooperate with the evaluation.
It appears the issue isn’t new, and Chrysler has known about it for a few years. In 2016, the automaker issued a technical service bulletin to its service dealers. The instructions were to replace the door lock actuator for each door that was not unlatching to open up. The problem was sometimes covered under the vehicle’s warranty, but some had it happen after it expired, and they had to pay out of pocket.
The investigation will determine whether a safety issue is found with the problem. If there is, investigators will send a request to Stellantis to issue a recall for the problem. If they don’t feel there’s a safety issue, they close the case with no further action required.
Chrysler brand minivans are decent vehicles otherwise. Stellantis needs to step up and make good on fixing the locking problem and not have their loyal customers get stuck paying the bill.