8th Jan 2008, 09:35
I own a 1999 Grand Caravan, purchased new. We are working now on 266,000 miles. Replaced the battery once, rear wheel hub assembly on both sides, air conditioner core at 200K, muffler and resonator at 250K, rear latch actuator. Most persistent repair has been replacement of the heater blower motor 3 times (which runs almost all the time the engine is on). No drive train work. I think I changed the spark plugs once. Never left me stranded anywhere, always starts. I hate to see the minor rust appearing around the rear wheel wells.
21st Nov 2008, 00:03
I bought my 2006 Dodge GC SXT 3.8L engine new just below $20k ($29k list). I have had it 2 years 4 months with 64k miles on it. I had a dealer (new Dodge dealer - in this economic climate) put on front brakes & rotors with lifetime pads - rears still squeak but not worn.
My biggest problems so far is the power steering noise (pump replaced last fall before 36k warranty expired). It is still making the noise, particularly after driving long distances starting after a three hour drive, now starts as soon as an hour. I am looking to change just the reservoir if it is confirmed.
Another problem is the plastic driver seat support holding the power seat switch. I had that replaced under warranty and it broke again (power seat still works - just loose).
My family has owned eight Chrysler minivans all new since 1991, except for my 1988 Dodge Ram van (reg caravan cargo). The best one we have is the 1999 Chrysler Town and Country. Since the purchase of a 2005 T&C loaded (first stow and go-near full retail) I have noticed the cheapness of the interior quality of Chrysler and Dodge.
My concern with the 2006 Dodge is the wind noise as it sounds like there is no insulation in it, taxing both heat and A/C. I can hear my factory stereo at 30 feet windows closed FM volume 20. Smoke like this means fire and I'm trusting these last two vans less. We have been through Chrysler transmissions, power steering pumps, and cheapening interiors to know it's time for change, preferably at Chrysler.
The definition of a poor vehicle to me is having to pay both the bank and a mechanic while financed. Brakes are maintenance-OK. A second power steering pump is excessive with worldwide competition in this day and age. Don't start with me on transmission repairs AND monthly payment.
I drive my 06GC 25-30k a year and love the space (all seats down) as I can ride better, get 8-10 better mpg than the full-size cargo vans I used to drive. I use other Chrysler vehicles than minivans, and am starting to feel unappreciated as a repeat customer.
My dream vehicle is a Suburban-sized Honda Element (with sliding doors). I might not buy another vehicle until it comes out (walking and public transportation is gaining appeal).
7th Jan 2009, 20:14
Update on my 06 Grand Caravan.
Now at 55,000 miles, still wonderful, no trips to the dealer other than oil change and transmission flush.
The original brake pads suck on the van; a word from the wise, when getting a brake job on this type of vehicle, go get the Auto Zone Duralast gold pads, this is a ceramic pad, I have had mine on 30,000 miles and still looks great. This is a expensive pad, but mine came with a life time warranty, so when they get low I will take them off and go get my free set. I used these front and rear; the best thing is very little brake dust, and I only see it when I hit the mountains wide open, and have to slow the van down going down a slope. Yes I drive fast, but hey it likes fast and still gets 26 mpg with the 3.8 V6.
3rd Jan 2008, 09:09
I bought a 2006 Grand Caravan last year with 16000 miles on it. It was still covered under the original power-train warranty (very nice). The only issue we've had with it is the oxygen sensor, had to replace it. The stow and go seats are great, roomy for us and three kids. Gas mileage OK, but hey, it's a minivan for god's sake. This is my second Dodge and overall, not too bad - good power and pickup speed.