1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Reviews - Page 5 of 10

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 3.0 V6 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1996
First year of ownership2005
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 3.0 V6 Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 9 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
9.0 / 10
Distance when acquired104915 miles
Most recent distance109500 miles
Previous carPlymouth Acclaim

Summary:

I love it, and would buy another in a heartbeat

Faults:

So far, the only thing I've had go wrong with it is that sometimes when I start it up, the speedometer doesn't work. If I'm driving down the highway, I either have to shift into neutral, shut it off and restart it, or pull off to the shoulder, put it in park, shut it off and start it up to get the speedometer to work. Took it back to the dealer I bought it from as this happened the first week I had it, and they replaced the speed sensor. That was six weeks ago, and it's doing it again. Doesn't happen every time I start it up and drive, probably 1 time in 10, but I'm not fond of speeding tickets.

I'm thinking it's not the sensor that is bad, but maybe an electrical problem, as the windshield wipers don't always work correctly either. When I have them set for intermittent, they sometimes will wipe 2, 3, or 4 times in a row, then 1 wipe, pause, 1 wipe, pause, 2 wipes, pause, 1, etc. Didn't do it when I had it in the shop to be looked at, but the next time it rained, it did. Guess I can live with that, it's not a major problem unless they quit altogether.

General Comments:

I have arthritis in my knees and hips, and this is the easiest vehicle to get in and out of for me.

It also has the most comfortable ride of anything I've ridden in, and that includes the New Yorker I owned 3 years ago.

It has plenty of power when I need it, and the gas mileage is awesome for its age, the number of miles on it, and its size (gets 23 to 25 mpg when I use the cruise control, which I do consistently). My Acclaim got 23 to 25 mpg with a 4 cylinder engine, so that kind of mileage with a larger vehicle and larger engine, especially since I put 75 miles a day on it back and forth to work, impresses me.

The stock sound system is great. I have the cassette/AM/FM with Infinity sound and it will thump the seats with the base on and the equalizer maxed out.

I love the ability to remove the head rests from the rear seats and fold them down to make a bed, or remove them completely to haul larger items. And there's plenty of room for me, my son and his g/f and my grandkids if we all want to go somewhere together.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th June, 2005

15th Aug 2005, 13:31

I too have a 1996 Caravan and I had similar problems. There was a recall about 1 or 2 years ago where they have to replace something in the steering column. My blinkers quit working as did my cruise control. I had the part replaced and everything seemed to work... for a while. Now my blinkers (turn signals and emergency) have quit working again. Every once-in-a-while they work, but only once in a blue moon. Sorry, no actual fix-it answers. Try the recall list and see if yours is one of them. It should be. Good luck. Any answers as to why my van would lean to one direction more than the other??? Good Luck!!!

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan LE 3.3 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership1997
Most recent year of ownership2005
Engine and transmission 3.3 Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Dealer Service marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.0 / 10
Distance when acquired12 miles
Most recent distance112554 miles
Previous carHonda Accord

Summary:

It Rocks!

Faults:

92K miles: Windshield wipers stopped working.

94K miles: Starter failed.

105K miles: Fuel relay failed. (van would randomly shutdown)

110K miles: Cooling Fan relay failed. (van started to overheat in traffic)

112K miles: A/C clutch failed.

General Comments:

Overall, excellent transportation and extremely reliable. We've driven our Caravan coast-to-coast three times and across Europe... it rocks!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th May, 2005

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan SE 3.0 V6 from North America

Model year1997
Year of manufacture1997
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 3.0 V6 Automatic
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 3 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
4.8 / 10
Distance when acquired90000 miles
Most recent distance136000 miles
Previous carToyota 4Runner

Summary:

Decent van, but it can nickel and dime you to death

Faults:

Transmission leaked when purchased. After numerous attempts to get it sealed up by various shops and dealerships, I gave up and sealed it myself. My sealing job has held for the last 20,000 miles. I consider myself fortunate to have this minor of a problem out of a Dodge transmission.

I have gone through roughly 10 serpentine belts in the last 2 years. I have replaced the tensioner 3 times. Seems to be a critical defect here, so I keep a spare belt and tensioner in the back of the van at all times now.

Oil oozes out from everywhere. Valve covers, cam seals, crank seal, etc. It would take 2 days of labor to fix, so I just let it be, adding a quart every 2 weeks.

Clock spring recall... Seems that if you have over 75,000 miles, the dealer won't replace it, unless you are already having problems. Sure wish I could get that done without having to experience a problem first!

Passenger side door lock quit working, due to corrosion on contacts between door and door sill. I have to clean these every month or so to keep it working.

Headlight lenses cloudy... I can sand them clear and wax them, but I still can't see at night after about 3 months.

Windshield... Seems to be a very "soft" glass compound. Lots of wiper streaks embedded into glass, causes a lot of glare at night.

Wheel cover fell off the day I bought the van. Look around, you will see a lot of this.

Seems like no alignment shop in the world can get the steering wheel straight.

Most complain about the brakes, but I guess it has to do with their driving style... I had to replace a caliper and rotor when a slide bolt seized at around 100,000 miles, and I need to replace the rear shoes now (136,000), but I have had no warping of the rotors, along with good pad material left when I replaced the caliper. I put on a new pair of pads anyway at that point. It's a VAN, not a sportscar... Drive accordingly and you will have less issues.

General Comments:

Decent vehicle, good power, very comfortable.

Lots of minor quirks in the model line. If you can't fix a vehicle yourself, it will nickel and dime you to death.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 21st November, 2004

2nd Apr 2005, 17:44

Well, time for an update...

I finally got the clock spring recall performed. It was done by Suburban Chrysler in St Paul, MN. They didn't question me about getting it done, although the reason it went in was due to the airbag light coming on during a road trip. It finally had all 3 symptoms (Airbag light, no horn, and no cruise). I guess it didn't like the sudden climate change from 80* in FL to -5* in MN. Everything works fine now, and it is still driving perfectly.

I now have 145,000 miles on it. Just had it detailed, and it looks better than most 97 vans did in 1999. I wish I could post a picture for you all to see.

Average review marks: 6.3 / 10, based on 35 reviews