1996 Dodge Caravan V6 3.0 from North America


Buy something a little more reliable


At 3 months I had to pay $35.00 to have a thermostat put in since the old one went bad.

At 9 months I had to replace the master cylinder. That was a $250.00 venture.

At a year I had to have the transmission rebuilt. That was another $1800.00.

Also at the year mark the Airbag light came on and the horn stopped working. I was told it had nothing to do with the recalled airbags, but the clock spring in the steering column that would cost me $72.00 + $250.00 - $280.00 to get fixed so that it doesn't not work if I get in an accident. Or it will work while I'm driving for no apparent reason.

Also at the year mark the radio just stopped working.

The air conditioner compressor is supposed to cost me anywhere from $675.00 - $800.00 to get fixed.

There is a leak in the dash behind the glove box compartment. Every time it rains now my carpet gets soaked. A co worker had the same problem and he said it had something to do with a seal that needed to be replaced. (Which cost him about $400.00 on his truck)

General Comments:

So long as you put extra money aside, owning one of these vehicles isn't too bad. When they break down its never anything small or cheap.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th September, 2002

7th Nov 2002, 14:13

November 1, 2002, my clock spring failed at 130,000 miles on my 1996 Dodge Caravan SE. The Dodge/Chrysler dealer charged me $83.00 for the clock spring, and approximately $80.00 to install the clock spring. Please find another mechanic. The installation charges you eluded to are excessive. William, New Jersey.

20th Jul 2003, 22:52

I just received a recall notice for my clock spring and it was repaired free of charge by the dealer. There are many strange things with this van's electrical system. One day my air conditioning, wiper, and intermittent wiper lights began to flash every time the van was started and then after about 15 minutes they stop. When I got the clock spring fixed my cruise control began to work again and my horn worked and the wiper lights stopped flashing when it started, but the air conditioner light kept going. The strange part is that now the wiper lights won't indicate anything before 15 minutes is up and then everything works normally. The wipers will come on from time to time on their own and the cruise control has shut down a few times driving down the road. When this happens the speedometer drops down to 20 km/hr and then whips back up. I have no explanation.

23rd Sep 2003, 18:15

I would like also tell you find a new mechanic. $35.00 for a thermostat. The part only cost $10,and it takes less than five minutes to install, you got ripped off there.

As for that compressor, that is outrageou, it should cost $450-$525.

1996 Dodge Caravan SE 3.3 from North America


Solid performer, but get 3.8 liter engine


Although purchased used, the dealer replaced my gurgling water pump under warranty at around 51,000 miles.

At around 80,000 miles, while driving home late one night the serpentine belt tensioner broke. This caused me to have the vehicle towed. I was too far from home to risk running with no power steering for control or water pump to cool the engine heads.

At about 90,000 miles the starter went out. I replaced it. I'm a shade tree mechanic. Part was about $80 from Auto Zone.

My wife's pretty tough on brakes so I go through a set of fronts at 25k. Again, since I do my own work...

The rotors are $30 each and the good pads are $26 all from Auto Zone.

Now at 103,000 the rear air conditioning expansion valve is hissing. Since it's not opening/closing properly, the air conditioning for the entire vehicle is affected with intermittent comfort/discomfort.

General Comments:

Generally, I really like the way the vehicle handles. Workmanship on our particular unit is great. There is good paint coverage, all the moldings are in tact etc.

I find the 3.3 engine a little under powered if the vehicle has 4+ adults in tow. However, it has been a very quiet and smooth running engine. My sister has the same year ES version of the vehicle with 3.8 and it romps.

Wish the front seat moved back further.

Also, all three of the seat areas would be more comfortable if the leg area were about 4" longer. You get better leg/back support.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th September, 2002