5th Jan 2010, 17:44

All makes of cars will have a lemon here and there, and when you are the unlucky person who gets it, it is infuriating.

I have noticed some consistent complaints on the internet about problems with the Caravan. We bought our van from a friend, so I can't vouch for how it was taken care of, but we believe them when they say that all the problems appeared during the last couple of years of ownership before we bought it. Here we go:

• Tail light lens cover fell off, had to put it back on with sealant.

• Power steering pump is weak and reservoir has to be overfilled to prevent the awful groaning - we are too broke to fix it right now, even though it's not safe because the part alone is $300.

• Brakes have been squealing for months and we are about to get them fixed - they are about a year old.

• Neither sliding door can be opened manually from the inside - major safety hazard preventing escape after an accident, and we have 3 young children, so it's essential we are able to get everyone out in an emergency.

• Driver side sliding door does not lock unless done manually - we had our XM devices stolen because of this.

• Thermostat had to be replaced along with the water inlet and hose, because of poor repair work done by a repair shop who bent the water inlet by putting it on upside down, resulting in it leaking when turned around the right way, and the hose was fused to it because of overheating - this repair I did myself, and this is when I noticed the problems caused by the repair shop - $50 and my time and frustration.

• Turn signal arm does not disengage after turning left, only when turning right - annoying and not worth fixing.

• Dome lights in front burned out and melted at connectors so new bulbs don't work - not worth fixing.

• Radiator was replaced before we owned it - $700.

• A/C fan transistor was replaced and then went out again, bad part, then went out again and shop determined that the wiring is bad. Spent $400 dollars total because we replaced the blower motor first and it wasn't the problem. Could not locate the transistor at a parts store ANYWHERE within reasonable driving distance, or else I would have replaced it myself and saved $200. The fan works most of the time now that it is cold, but when the weather is hot, it works sporadically. Can't afford another $200 to fix it AGAIN.

• Pretty sure something in the suspension needs to be replaced, since it has a lot of noise with even the littlest bumps, like something is loose. I routinely check the air pressure of the tires, and they were rotated recently so I do keep up with that.

I would not say that the road noise is all that bad, but it's not as quiet as I would like. It is a 2004 though, so I should expect it to not be as nice as newer models as far as level of noise and smoothness. The engine seems to still have plenty of power and punch. Unfortunately, it seems like everything else is breaking down prematurely, since it only took a couple years for problems to come up. Our friend didn't even want to go into everything they had fixed because they felt like they got screwed. We only bought the van from him because we have awful credit, and it was the only way were could get a vehicle big enough for our family, which at the time was 5 of us because I had just had a baby.

I have read numerous comments from various websites about the troubles of having a Caravan, and I think there may be some truth that there a few things that are a common problem. Like anything, there are those who got bad ones and those who got good ones.

For example, my husband and I both owned manual Pontiac Sunfires some years ago, and I loved mine, never had any issues with it while my husband's was a money sucker with repeated repairs, and we lost big on it when we finally gave up and traded in - it died during the test drive at the dealership right after we had picked it up and handed over $400 to the repair shop to have it fixed. Just goes to show that you can't blanketly say that the whole line of cars in general is bad.

I am really wishing right now that we didn't get stuck with this lemon of a van we got though, very disappointing.

6th Apr 2011, 13:48

I too owned a 2004 Grand Caravan and it was really good for the first two years.

I'm actually a fan of the domestic market so if I could, I would defend the product. What is most missing here is that the other vans out there such as the Odyssey or Siena are far superior. Yes, you'll pay more for one of those, but the reliability and overall quality is no match.

I personally will never buy another domestic minivan again.

25th May 2011, 09:51

We have a 2004 Grand Caravan and it has been a great car until it reached 100,000 miles and now all of a sudden we are having problems.

The car itself is falling apart. Back tail light keeps falling off, driver side sliding door keeps falling off the track, rear brake problems... I know it's an old car but for heaven's sake.

My husband has a Honda that has almost 300,000 miles on it and doesn't have any of these problems...