Roomy, kid-friendly, and affordable, the Dodge Caravan has been many families’ go-to minivan since 1984. Buyers also like being able to choose from three engine sizes from a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder up to a 3.8-liter V6.
But, like most vehicles, the Dodge Caravan has received its share of owner complaints. Here are the most common complaints, according to information provided by RepairPal.com.
Oil leaking from the oil filter adapter
The Dodge Caravan’s fourth most common complaint was engine oil escaping from a faulty oil filter adapter. 41 owners dealt with this problem. The oil filter adapter serves to attach the oil filter to the housing, so oil leaks when it fails. RepairPal doesn’t have a repair cost estimate for this problem but noted that Dodge has made a replacement oil filter adapter available.
Nine model years were affected from 1998 to 2004 and 2006 to 2007. The average mileage for the occurrence of this problem was 178,811, and it happened as early as 124 miles and late as 950,000 miles. Caravan engines that were hobbled by it included the 2.4-liter four-cylinder, the 3.0-liter V6, the 3.3-liter V6, and the 3.8-liter V6.
Some owners tried replacing the oil filter adapter gasket, but that turned out to be ineffective. A few owners weren’t able to come up with a solution on their own but others were able to fix the problem themselves.
Noisy worn sway bar bushings in the front suspension
53 Dodge Caravan owners reported noise caused by worn rubber bushings on the sway bar. This bar keeps the Caravan from rolling when it corners. Owners described rattling, humming, or clunking noises that came from the front suspension during low-speed driving. RepairPal estimates that a general diagnosis would cost between $88 and $111.
The model years affected by this problem were 1998 through 2006. The average mileage for this problem to occur was 122,426 miles, but owners reported its occurrence as early as 24,000 miles.
In some cases, front struts were identified as the root cause of the problem but not always. In others, owners simply replaced the bushings themselves or had their garage or dealership do the work. One owner said he paid $250 to replace bushings on his Dodge Caravan.
The front crankshaft’s seal popped out
The second most common problem is caused by the Dodge Caravan’s crankshaft end play being out of spec, as reported by 54 owners. The end play is measured by the amount of clearance between the crankshaft’s thrust plate and the main thrust bearing’s vertical surface. The result is that the seal of the front crankshaft popped out and the engine leaked a lot of oil.
The solution to this issue is to readjust the main thrust bearings, according to RepairPal. The automotive repair website did not provide the estimated cost for this readjustment.
Six model years of the minivan were affected: 2000 and 2003 through 2007. The problem occurred on average at 75,322 miles, but it happened as early as 10,500 miles and as late as 167,000 miles. Dodge Caravan engines that had this problem were the 2.4-liter four-cylinder and the 3.3-liter V6.
In order to fix the problem, some owners replaced the seal, which really wasn’t a solution. One rather expensive solution from some owners’ mechanics was to replace the engine because the crankshaft end play was so badly adjusted. In some cases, the seal was replaced and popped out again at least once.
Power windows that stopped working
The most common complaint about the Dodge Caravan was one or more power windows that stopped working due to a bad window regulator or motor, according to 98 owners. Fixing the problem might mean replacing both the regulator and the motor as a set. The repair could cost between $370 and $399 according to RepairPal estimates.
11 model years from 1996 to 2003 and from 2005 to 2007 had power windows that failed. The average mileage for this issue was 130,686, with it occurring as early as 18,000 miles and as late as 275,000 miles.
Owners reported that their power windows were either slow in going up and down or not working at all. A few described windows going down on their own after being powered up previously. One owner stated that after the windows were rolled down, it took days to be able to power them up. Another told of replacing the motor for the front passenger window, the motors for the back windows stopped working.