1997 Dodge Caravan Review, Brett, From Mesa, AZ
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| ||Model of the car:||Caravan|
| ||General comments:||First, I want to encourage anyone who reads this to pay close attention to the reviews on this site when you're looking for a car. That's what I almost did when I bought my Caravan, but I got overpowered at the dealership. I had gone in only to look, thinking maybe I could afford a new Grand Caravan. I thought if I bought a new one, it might not have all the problems of the aged ones that everyone wrote reviews about. When it became clear that I was not in the running for a new one, the salesman suggested I look at the only used one they had on the lot. The first mistake I made was listening to him when he suggested I don't test drive it, since it was the same thing as one of the new ones that I had already driven. I expressed my opinion about Dodge products to the salesman, telling him that I had promised myself I would never buy one. He played down the problems with Dodges, telling me he recently bought a Dodge Ram, which, by the way, he had to replace some window switch for $150 even though the thing was brand new, but it was no big deal to him, because that's "normal".DON'T LISTEN TO A SALESMAN WHO TELLS YOU IT'S NORMAL TO HAVE TO REPLACE THINGS ON A NEW VEHICLE, AND DON'T EVER BUY THE BRAND OF VEHICLE HE'S PROMOTING.Anyway, I fell for most of the sales tricks, buying the darn thing, managing to get almost low book for my Nissan Sentra trade-in. Driving it home, the Check Engine Soon light came on and freaked me out. I stopped at a gas station and called the salesman. He tried to calm me down and not worry about it. After all, that happens all the time on his brand new Dodge Ram. So now, after 7 months, it's been on and off, with no apparent rhyme or reason.The next problem we had was a drip from the engine, and the wipers would go on spontaneously. Talked to the salesman about it, and he said he would take care of it.DON'T EVER TAKE A SALESMAN'S WORD THAT THEY WILL FIX SOMETHING THAT WOULD NORMALLY COST MONEY. THEY'RE NOT ON THE SERVICE TEAM, AND THEY USUALLY DON'T HAVE THE POWER TO SPEAK FOR THEM.So they've never fixed these problems. They did replace the stereo, but only because they just happened to have some spares from other vans that they had installed CD players in. And they did get me a jack.So now it's been 7 months, and my wife will be taking it on a 3000-mile trip, so we took it to a mechanic that's a friend of mine, and he recommended replacing the head gaskets, since they were leaking oil, and the serpentine belt. That's about $1000 of work on a 4 year old van.DO YOURSELF A FAVOR--BUY A RELIABLE BRAND (HONDA, TOYOTA, NISSAN, VW...)By the way, the interior lights don't work, either. And when we bought it, the cupholder was broken, so they glued it back together with cheap glue that lasted a few days. So I paid $22 for a new one. Plus the arm rest covers were warped and coming off the armrests, but not even the service department would do anything about it--they told me to glue them down myself. The headlight covers were badly scratched, but who cares? The light still comes through, right? Supposedly they "buffed" them, but if anything they made it worse. Plus the interior stunk like cigarette smoke, so they promised to "fumigate" the smell out, which they never did after 3 or 4 times of calling and hounding them to do it. The smell has slowly diminished, but it would have been nice to have it out of the way from the beginning. The wiper switch which was busted from the outset will cost $124 to fix, but what's the point? From reading all these reviews, I think the switch Dodge makes is defective, so after replacing it it would only last another year maybe.DON'T BUY A DODGE!!!!!!!! (ASSUME THE SAME FOR ANYTHING MADE BY DAIMLER-CHRYSLER) AND PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE, DO NOT VISIT CHAPMAN DODGE IN SCOTTSDALE, AZ!|
| ||What things have gone wrong with the car:||Durability, electronics.|
| ||Previous car:||Chevy Astro--Bigger, but not better.|