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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
So dh's car is done. We thought about buying a little commuter car for him, but have been surprised by the cost of little "economy" cars. We stumbled across a Dodge Minivan online with low miles at a great price. We hadn't been considering a minivan. However, with 3 kids and carpools and it at such a good price I am turning it over a bit.

So does anyone have one? Has it been pretty reliable and lowcost to maintain?
 

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I have one. We bought one new (NEVER again!) in May 2004. It was a 2005 with stow and go. We LOVE it! It has about 77,000 or 78,000 miles on it and is still going good. We did new tires last year, It did need like $800 of stuff on it about 6 months ago, and we have done brakes like 2x. Other then that it has been pretty good.
 

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We have a 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan. We really enjoy it. It has the stow 'n go seating, which is so convenient. I like to store things in the floor (snacks, dipes, spare clothes and hats, gloves, or sunblock, etc.) and I love how it keeps it all organized and neat looking.
We bought it in May 2008 with 21,000 miles on it. Excellent condition. We plan to keep it for a long time.
 

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I bought a used one in 2003. It was a 2001 model. It is still running fine and I have had no major problems except for the master cylinder on the brakes (which is not that big a deal) and it has 174,000 plus miles
 

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I have a 2003, and we haven't had any major problems with it. Before that, I had a 1997 and didn't have any problems with that either (except for the time we hit a deer). The only reason we upgraded from the 1997 to the 2003 was because my parents upgraded their vehicle, and we got their old one.

My parents have a 2005 or 2006 with the stow n go seat, and man are those handy!
 

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We have a 2001 Grand Caravan Sport. 114k miles on it when we got it, $5k. Very good purchase. We had to put a new (used, from a junkyard) starter on it about 4 months in for $50 and we need a new o2 sensor, will run $70 - it doesn't hurt anything to not replace it, just burns more gas. My DH is a mechanic and I love that the van gives codes for what is wrong with it so he doesn't have an excuse to get a computer scanner thing
I do need to get brakes and tires, but we've had it 1.5 years, so it's time.
 

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What year is it? For a while they had a real problem with the ac working and the transmission, so I'd get those checked out first if it's older. That being said, we had a 1997 that we bought with 131k miles on it. It finally really started to fall apart on us last summer, 60+k miles later. While we had it, the ac did stop working, there were a few minor quirks (the power locks on DS's side stopped working - annoying but insignificant, the 1997 model also had wiper gremlins - the wipers would swipe 3 times randomly. It was a known issue they never worked out that year, and we considered it a "feature"! LOL!) and the transmission did need some work. Rather than the $2000 job though, it was a $500 seal issue that could happen to any vehicle that age. Probably one of the best vehicles I've ever owned, including the new ones I've purchased. Our only complaint (once the ac went out) was that the only windows that open were the front and the vent ones in back, so it got pretty hot some days - and that's only because we were too cheap to have the ac fixed.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post
What year is it? For a while they had a real problem with the ac working and the transmission, so I'd get those checked out first if it's older.
Yep! I have one of those. It's a 2000 that we got new in 2002. Ours has about 90K miles on it and at about 60K things really started breaking on it. The A/C died twice and has cost us $2000. The transmission is not in good shape. We were told by our trusted mechanic to just drive it until the transmission is gone because either way we'd need a new one. We're losing oil, too.

TBH, I'm not all that thrilled with ours. We actually bought ours from my father, so we got a good deal on it and couldn't pass it up. I would never have chosen an American car otherwise, especially not a Dodge. But it seems that others like theirs. We don't have the stow-and-go seating... you have to remove the bench seats and they are PITA.

Anything pre-2002 or so, I wouldn't touch at all. My coworker has a '99 and has had the same problems we've had.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Wow! Thanks for all the feedback. I swear this is my favorite board on MDC!

Yeah, Velochic TBH I am sort of afraid to buy American
(we have had much worse luck with our domestic cars than the subaru, toyota, and mazda's that have been in our family) I am so pleased to hear all this good feedback! It does seem like IRL I have known people to drive these forever!

We weren't looking for these at all, but it is a 2006 with 28,000 miles and they are asking 8,000! I am thinking it might smell bad since you can't smell things on the internet and I can't figure out why it is priced so much lower than comps???
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by SunshineJ View Post
What year is it? For a while they had a real problem with the ac working and the transmission, so I'd get those checked out first if it's older.
Most vans have dogs for transmissions. So set aside $ accordingly. This is one of the reasons we've held off so long, even though DH has dropped transmissions repeatedly it's not a fun/quick job.

Liz
 

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We have a 1996 Grand Caravan with 150,000 miles (mostly our miles). We've owned it since 2002 and other than some basic 'aging maintenance' it's doing just fine. Of course, now that I've said that, the transmission will go out or something horrific
, but seriously we've taken it on umpteen cross country road trips, and we drive a LOT so it's been great. It's got power windows and cruise, but not many of the other fancy stuff...I wish!

I'd recommend doing a Carfax report though before you buy anything, we found a low mile 'great deal' one time long ago and it ended up being a totalled car that they jimmy-rigged a 'workable' engine into...it died a horrible sad death two months later.

We're hoping to squeeze another year out of The Purple Turtle (the van...it's 'plum' colored) and save up for a gently used VW Routan....omg....those are so freaking NICE!!
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by wildmonkeys View Post
Wow! Thanks for all the feedback. I swear this is my favorite board on MDC!

Yeah, Velochic TBH I am sort of afraid to buy American
(we have had much worse luck with our domestic cars than the subaru, toyota, and mazda's that have been in our family) I am so pleased to hear all this good feedback! It does seem like IRL I have known people to drive these forever!

We weren't looking for these at all, but it is a 2006 with 28,000 miles and they are asking 8,000! I am thinking it might smell bad since you can't smell things on the internet and I can't figure out why it is priced so much lower than comps???
When it comes to minivans that's probably one of the only things I'd consider a Dodge for - unless you want to drop the money on something like an Odessey (I think it is?), the Caravan is overall one of the better rated ones. It's like the one thing that company can usually do well - there were just a few years that had "issues". Our gas mileage on the 97 was right at 20mpg city/25-28 highway, so for a minivan it wasn't too terrible. It sounds like a great deal! I'd check it out first, but it could be that the owners have their back against the wall and simply need cash NOW because of the economy too. Hope it's in great shape!

K.
 

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My 2000 Dodge caravan lasted pretty well, until it threw a rod. The only problem we had more than once (usually once something got fixed it stayed fixed) was that the serpentine belt would slip off when it got wet. AFter replacing the stupid thing 3 times in one week the repair guys finally mentioned putting some new something on that had walls that kept the belt from slipping off. So If you buy it, the first time you have to replace that belt ask for the extender wall thingies so it doesn't happen again =D
 

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I have an '02 Dodge Grand Caravan (bought new in 2002) with almost 80K miles on it.

I believe it was '01 and '02 Grand Caravans that had the transmission issue. I know that there was a recall for mine and we had work done twice at the dealership (free) under recall. I did have to have about $600 of transmission work done about a year ago, but other than it has been only routine maintenance: brakes, tires, etc. I've been very happy with it and don't regret it.
 

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My Grand Voyager (essentially a Caravan) is 10 years old and has worked really well for us. Had it not been rear ended two weeks ago we had planned on keeping it going until hybrid minivans appeared. We plan on getting a Caravan. Several of our friends have recommened them. These are folks who drive to historic reenactments and put thousands more miles a year on their car than average.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by velochic View Post
Yep! I have one of those. It's a 2000 that we got new in 2002. Ours has about 90K miles on it and at about 60K things really started breaking on it. The A/C died twice and has cost us $2000. The transmission is not in good shape. We were told by our trusted mechanic to just drive it until the transmission is gone because either way we'd need a new one. We're losing oil, too.

TBH, I'm not all that thrilled with ours. We actually bought ours from my father, so we got a good deal on it and couldn't pass it up. I would never have chosen an American car otherwise, especially not a Dodge. But it seems that others like theirs. We don't have the stow-and-go seating... you have to remove the bench seats and they are PITA.

Anything pre-2002 or so, I wouldn't touch at all. My coworker has a '99 and has had the same problems we've had.
We had a '98 that had those same AC problems. We would get it fixed only to have it break again.
I don't know..
we have the 2007 now and it's running beautifully. Fingers crossed that it lasts a long time.
 
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