1998 Dodge Caravan Review, Colin Weems, From Winchester,
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| ||Model of the car:||Sport|
| ||General comments:||I will not stand out in the crowd if I say that my recomendation is to not buy this van. But the truth hurts. I DO TOW with this van, which is something I do not see many caravan owners admitt to in their reviews. I see many vans on the road towing popup campers just like me. However, my towing is within the limits set by Dodge themselves. I changed the tranny fluid every 15K miles as required in the owners manual for towing. Oil changed every 3k as required for towing service. Still, here I am with 45k on the van looking at an expensive tramsmission repair bill. If I had not replaced the fluid so frequently, I am convinced it would not have lasted this long. SURPRISE: Dodge offered to pay for most of this expensive trans rebuild. My local dealer called Dodge before contacting about the major problem. I learned that my tranny was shot, and that Dodge would pay for most of it since it was only 9k out of warranty in the same phone call. This takes some of the sting out of the procedure, but my part is still going to be about $700. A transmission should not fail this early. It is no secret to my dealer that I tow,(big classIII hitch is hard to miss) and they never tried to place blame for the failed transmission on towing. I thought this was odd, I would ask if I was them. After some research on my part, I know why they did not ask me about towing. These transmissions seem to fail no matter what you do with them. If anyone doubts this, call your local Ammco or other tranny shop, and ask them what is their number one tranny rebuild. This caravan transmission is the most frequently rebuilt. Except for the transmission and other small repairs, this is a good vehicle. It is too bad for Dodge, because I can no longer trust this vehicle. I will dispose of this van as soon as the tranny is replaced. My next vehicle will be an SUV, and the Durango is not even an option because there will be no more Chrysler products parked in my garage. If you do buy a caravan, GET THE EXTENDED WARRANY!!!!! I would keep the van if I had the extended warranty.I love this van, but these expensive repairs happen all too frequently it seems with the caravan. I still think the caravan platform is the best, but reliability comes into play after a while which is the only reason I am totally unsatisfied with the vehicle.|
| ||What things have gone wrong with the car:||lots of recalls (time waster), transmission woes, body rattles frequently, hard on brake pads, engine bay cramped for simple repairs (anyone actually replaced their spark plugs without a trip to dealer?)|
| ||Previous car:||this is my first minivan|