2010 Dodge Grand Caravan SXT 3.6L Pentastar from North America
Generally reliable, good family transporter
My 2010 has been very reliable with mild limitations. The vehicle drives and rides comfortably down the road. Seats are firm and supportive. However, I will have to echo the complaints of others.
1. Ground clearance is short and over time damage will likely occur to the underside of the front outer bumper. Yes, you will scrape a few times.
2. Brakes tend to wear and rotors warp faster than a carpet bagger at quitting time. This is due to the brake size limitations of the 16 inch rims. For 2011 this was changed to 17 inch rims, but 2008-2010 owners will be turning rotors forever. Rear brake caliper pistons are adjustable using the "secret" caliper piston tool. This is a dark super-secret I only recently learned. I think Chrysler repair people might even have a secret handshake or even have a special fez for midnight rituals.
3. Dodge went to a plastic key fob which falls apart. This means you could be stranded if it separates/falls off unseen. These evil fobs wear and break and replacements must be paired to your vehicle at the dealer. The ignition switch is a plastic node which is harder to find than a white rhino's horn, costs $700+ and probably 2 times that in labor to replace. Try replacing your battery with a heavy duty unit (750CCA) first. A defective node means you go down the road on a hot summer day and the A/C is no longer blowing out the vents. Who would think it is the fault of the node.
4. Right side power door actuator will need replacing eventually. Luckily a $20 part.
5. Similarly, the driver's side power lock/power window/mirror switches go out.
6. Coolant temp sensor is plastic and plastic is not your friend.
7. ALL driver's seat plastic moldings break quickly and so do the ones you replace them with. Either bungee the plastic moldings across the front or duct tape the outside of the seat. No fix will last for long. Dodge should have made these moldings from steel plate and they would have lasted longer than the first 36 months. This is true of ALL Caravan/Town & Country mini-vans from 2001-2020. May they rest in peace.
8. Engine light P0420 problem code. I can't prove this, but I think Chrysler programs the engine light to come on about 150-160K miles in. This has happened on every one I have owned. This is probably the most expensive item short of engine or transmission failure. If you can live with the light or live in a state without the dreaded yearly emissions inspection, you'll be fine. Clean, gut it or replace the converter; just know that one day that amber light will be back.
The information provided here is relevant specifically to 2008-2010 Dodge Grand Caravan and Chrysler Town and Country. Very different characteristics are found 2001-2007 or 2011-2017.
Regarding the 3.3 and 3.8L engines: The 3.8L V-6 is nearly indestructible, producing an adequate 215 horsepower and better fuel economy with the addition of the 6-speed automatic transmission in 2008. I have found the transmissions reliable. However, Dodge has reduced the number of bolts holding engine and transmission pans as they seem to go out of their way to make the mini-van cheaper and cheaper. Ultimately, Dodge has driven itself out of the mini-van market with 2020 likely being the last year. You could say they have about ruined what has been one of America's favorite family transporters. Personally, I have put nearly a million miles on Dodge mini-vans and my opinions are based on over 14 years experience with them.
At the end of the day, shame on you Fiat-Chrysler...
These engines should NEVER overheat if the cooling system is maintained. Also, a factory radiator should be replaced at 150K. Also the heater core assemblies with a y shaped PVC pipe fitting should be discarded and replaced with a 3-way 5/8 inch BRASS fitting. Doing this will save $400 in parts and labor and last 10 times longer than the pitiful OEM fittings.
Best of all, the between the seats cargo carrier is easily removed making the 2010 SXT one of the few vehicles you can move from the front to the back of the vehicle without exiting the vehicle or climbing over the seats. This is wonderful for parents. This troop carrier's seats fold flat for large cargo items. You can also carry up to 7 sheets of drywall with the seats flat. Additional sheets past 7 will block the tailgate from closing. These vehicles have carried more families, children, dogs and groceries than the Model T. God speed to you all and happy motoring!
I like mine, runs great.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 12th December, 2020
20th Dec 2020, 04:19
Nice analysis of the vehicle with excellent detail and a witty perspective :)
Regarding the 3.3 and 3.8L engines, the 3.3 have solid reliability records.
The 3.8 seems to have some ugly issues -> oil consumption that can lead to complete engine failure (I'm guessing the engines ran low on oil, and their bottom-ends are subsequently destroyed). Maybe the issue stems from the piston rings needed to be redesigned with the increase of stroke of the 3.8, but were not changed. They had to revise the Slant-6 piston rings when they went from the 170 to the 225 with the large increase of stroke to address oil consumption problems.