1994 Dodge Caravan Reviews - Page 4 of 5

1994 Dodge Caravan from North America

Year of manufacture1994
First year of ownership2000
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.3 / 10
Distance when acquired150000 miles
Most recent distance250000 miles
Previous carDodge Caravelle

Summary:

Plain Jane crossed with terminator

Faults:

Transmission had to be replaced.

Normal stuff like brakes were fixed.

General Comments:

For a 94, it was the best van we ever bought. Other than the transmission going we would still be driving it if it had not been stolen on the May long weekend. It would start no matter how cold it was outside. (We could not plug in anywhere.) Best word for this van... Unstoppable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th November, 2003

1994 Dodge Caravan LE 3.3L OHV from North America

Year of manufacture1994
First year of ownership1998
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 3.3L OHV Automatic
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.8 / 10
Distance when acquired58000 miles
Most recent distance140000 miles
Previous carGeo Prizm

Summary:

Rock solid dependable, but not exciting

Faults:

Recalled for short circuit that would blow fuse and cause airbag light to come on, and rear wiper to quit.

Wiper motor pooped out at 130,000 miles. It became intermittent and annoying.

Infinity radio quit working, but CD player still works. A common problem with these radios so I'm told. Replacement will happen as soon as my wife finally throws a fit. :)

Serpentine belt tensioner replaced at 110,000 miles (lost tension causing belt to squeal on acceleration).

Starter replaced at 120,000 miles, because solenoid was intermittent.

Water pump replaced at 110,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

Oxygen sensor replaced at 100,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

All hoses (radiator, heater and bypass) replaced at 100,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

Alternator replaced at 110,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

Fuel pump/sending unit replaced at 130,000 miles as preventive maintenance.

Not included in the list are typical tires/battery/brakes/plugs/fluid & filter changes.

General Comments:

Very comfortable, trouble free, and roomy ride for my wife and kids.

This minivan has NEVER left us stranded anywhere.

As you can see, I replace components BEFORE they break and leave my wife stranded somewhere. I do all the work myself, save a bundle, and have a vehicle that I can trust on long trips.

I bought one with the 3.3L pushrod engine so I wouldn't have to worry about periodic timing belt replacement.

Performance with the 3.3 is good (for a minivan), and the ride is soft and comfy. Very few rattles or squeaks have developed over the years (surprising from a Chrysler product...).

The 4 speed overdrive tranny, which is a sore spot with many - has been trouble free for me. I changed the fluid and filter as soon as I got it (second hand, from a dealer), and changed it again at 100,000 miles, and at 135,000 miles. You MUST use Chrysler approved ATF +3 fluid in these things. See allpar.com for more info regarding the overdrive trannies. I'm beginning to think that the whole thing is blown way out of proportion. I know a service manager of a private repair shop, and he says that they aren't blowing up in epic proportions. I'm not doubting that some folks have had serious problems - but I think the transmissions may not have been rebuilt properly, the technicians screwed up, or they were just abusive drivers

Fuel mileage is currently 20 MPG city, and 25 MPG highway. I think the figures were better when we first got it (around 60K miles.), but still much better than any mid-size SUV.

Chrysler minivans (or any minivan) are inexpensive on the used market because the "soccer moms" don't want to be seen in them anymore - and have moved on to buy big/slow/heavy/gas guzzling SUV's instead. So the SUV has now become the "soccer mom" vehicle of choice. Take advantage of the situation while you can, and buy a minivan over an SUV (I don't care what brand).

We're hoping this car will last over 200,000 miles. Our last minivan (a 1986 Plymouth Voyager LE 2.2L 5 speed) went an amazing 304,000 miles before we sold it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th June, 2003

11th Jul 2003, 01:24

I agree, the transmission problems have been blown way out of proportion. Granted when the Chrysler A604 transmission was built, it was not very durable. but the new ones are much better.

I have a great feeling that all the units that did fail, were either from owner abuse, mechanic error, or irresponsible owners who did not make sure the right transmission fluid was used.

CHRYSLER TRANSMISSIONS TAKE ONLY "CHRYSLER ATF+" FLUID.

All other fluids will void warranty and guarantee transmission self destruction.

26th Aug 2003, 20:08

I heartily agree, I have a '93 AWD Dodge Caravan LE with the 3.3. It has 120,000 miles on the original four speed automatic and it still works just fine. John.

28th Dec 2006, 10:12

I also agree. My 4 speed in my Caravan didn't die until I changed the fluid with Valvaline Maxlife ATF.

I did still get and additional 40K miles out of it after I changed it though. And I was very hard on my Caravan, pulling a 19ft fiberglass boat and all and I got 210,000 miles out of a transmission that supposedly was crap. I do really think that most people simply do not know how to care for cars anymore forcing automakers to make their cars idiot proof.

The thing that gets me is one of my newer cars doesn't even have a dipstick to check the ATF level, it's a "dealer service item," since I do 99% of all work on my cars, I going to have to figure that one out.

7th Mar 2007, 19:28

I am very happy for those of you that have been fortunate with you Chrysler minivans. But that's exactly what you've been - fortunate. 10,000 + pages on the Web related to Caravan problems (mostly transmission) is NOT an anomaly. Especially when compared to the number of pages for other makes/models - it's not even close. The discrepancy is far too wide to simply attribute the problems to poor maintenance. To those of you that are considering buying one of these vehicles, I STRONGLY discourage it. You might get "lucky" like some of these owners have (a vast minority if you do the research), but is it worth rolling the dice?

Average review marks: 7.3 / 10, based on 20 reviews