If you’re in the market for a people mover or a busy soccer mom who needs versatility, space, and reliability, does the Dodge Grand Caravan tick all the boxes?
The 2015+ model Grand Caravan has been plagued with fuel problems and a loss of over-taking power. Braking issues have been issues for the 2016, 2018 – 2019 models. Also, design flaws combined with poor welding lead to potential injury and an increased risk of an accident.
So let us briefly discuss ten of the faults and recalls that have sullied the appeal of this model in recent years and led to the manufacturer having to recall various models to address these not-so-insignificant problems.
1. Fuel Pump Gasket Fuel Leak
The 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan was found to have a self-destructing fuel tank gasket. So why should this be a problem? Any volatile liquid leak is not good, especially a fuel leak on your trusted family mover.
This faulty gasket on the fuel tank leads to fuel gauge inaccuracy. Imagine setting off on your road trip into the desert, believing you have a full tank when in fact, you’re running on empty. Being stranded in the middle of nowhere is no joke.
Secondly, a loss of power is also a potentially deadly problem leading to unsafe overtaking maneuvers when pulling into the traffic flow.
Additionally, fuel vapors breathed in while in the vehicle are not ideal and can lead to health issues. But the biggest concern is the risk of fire or explosion due to the fuel puddle under the vehicle releasing highly flammable fumes. Fuel tank problems are more common than they should be and you can similar issues in other vehicles like the Chevy Colorado’s diesel line or Toyota Tundra to name a few vehicle models from other manufacturers.
Vantage LLC Motors issued the recall NHTSA campaign number: 20V278000 in 2020 to address these severe problems. The manufacturer contacted customers to cover the costs of replacing the faulty fuel pump gasket.
2. Damaged Fuel Rail Tube Leak
Chrysler (FCA US LLC) found a potentially life-threatening fuel-related issue on the 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan. The fuel rail tube, supplying fuel to the engine, was leaking. A recall was issued in November 2016 under Chrysler recall number: T82 and NHTSA campaign number: 16V814000 for a potential 30,183 affected vehicles.
According to reports, a manufacturing fault during the engine assembly may have damaged the fuel rail crossover tube on the 3.6L engine. Any leaking fuel in the engine bay poses a very high risk of fire and explosion, leading to the possibility of injury or loss of life.
Though Chrysler notified customers to conduct the necessary inspection and remedy the possible leak at no charge, it is concerning that problems relating to fuel leaks have continued to plague this vehicle.
3. Insufficient Coating on Rear Brake Caliper Pistons
Certain 2018 – 2019 Dodge Grand Caravan models were found to have an insufficient finish on the rear brake caliper pistons. Chrysler issued a recall under number U86, with the NHTSA campaign number 18V523000, in November 2018.
So how does this affect the vehicle? Brake fluid reacts with the base metal material of the caliper’s pistons, forming air bubbles. These air bubbles in the braking system then cause your vehicle’s rear brakes to become spongy, ultimately leading to insufficient braking power when trying to stop the car.
The problem lies with the rear brake caliper pistons having an insufficient coating which is essential to prevent an unwanted chemical reaction between the caliper piston material and brake fluid.
Chrysler notified customers of vehicles affected to inform them that they would bleed the brakes free of charge to remove this air build-up in the rear brake system.
They seemed to have stopped shy of actually replacing the faulty brake parts, something any potential owner should take note of.
4. Seat Strikers Failure
These are not the strikers outside the factory entrance picketing for more benefits! These strikers are the locking latches that hold your seats in place when you tilt and move them to gain access into the back seats of the Dodge Caravan. They form part of the rear seating fixing mechanisms.
Certain 2019 model vehicles have been found to have welds on the various rear seat strikers that are not up to scratch in the case of an emergency or impact crash situation.
In October 2019, Chrysler issued a recall under number V91, along with NHTSA campaign number: 19V759000, for 30,453 affected vehicles.
The problem was that in both a front-end and rear-end crash, the second and third-row seats would be unable to withstand a collision. To rectify this, Chrysler notified Grand Caravan owners that a new striker reinforcement bracket would be welded onto the second and third-row outboard seat strikers.
5. Vehicle Hood Striker Bolt Failure
The whole idea of you facing forward with hands on the wheel, peering through the car’s windscreen, is to be able to see where you are heading. Imagine your Grand Caravan’s bonnet hood popping up and crashing onto the windscreen blocking your sight while hurtling along with the family onboard. A pretty scary situation to be in.
Unfortunately, the 2015 Dodge Grand Caravans have experienced problems with the bolts that hold the hood striker ( there is that word again ) coming loose. This, in turn, caused the striker latch to come loose, causing the hood to fly up, increasing the risk of an accident and injury to the occupants and other road users. Having your vision blocked may have catastrophic consequences if the driver wanders into the oncoming traffic lanes.
The NHTSA issued a recall under campaign number 15V595000 in September 2015, and Chrysler issued recall number R53 in October 2015 for new hood striker bolts to be installed at no charge.
6. Voltage Regulator Failure
In 2018 Chrysler issued recall number U87 for a potential 12,779 vehicles affected by the NHTSA’s campaign number 18V524000.
The voltage regulator chip in the powertrain control module of specific 2017 – 2018 Grand Caravan models failed. What this means to you as an owner or potential owner of one of these models is that the probability of the vehicle stalling or not starting is increased. Both situations are not ideal and potentially dangerous; let’s see why.
A vehicle stalling while driving can put you and your passengers in a tight spot. As per many of the other recalls affecting this Dodge branded model from Chrysler, the last thing you need is to be stuck in the path of oncoming traffic in the middle of an intersection because your vehicle decided to stop on its own accord.
Equally dangerous is a no-start situation where your Grand Caravan leaves you stranded in a parking lot or roadside stop at night. Not so grand after all!
7. Transmission Pump Failure
The automatic transmission in the 2015 – 2016 Grand Caravan has been in the spotlight for the wrong reasons. A fault in the transmission oil pump caused the pump to seize, which caused a loss of hydraulic pressure and, in turn, the loss of power to the wheels. The bottom line, the vehicle cannot move forwards or backward.
Like other models from the Chrysler stable, the auto transmission on the Grand Caravan relies on this fluid pressure to operate; without the pump, no functions in the automatic transmission will work.
This is a high safety risk, with an increased accident risk if this unit fails while driving. After all, losing power to the wheels and coming to an abrupt halt in your lane on a busy freeway will be a disaster. The NHTSA administered campaign number 16V461000 to address this safety recall on a potential 26,298 vehicles.
By now, we all know the drill regarding these serious faults. Chrysler issued recall number S44 and notified owners in August 2016 to bring their vehicles to the dealerships to replace the faulty pumps at no charge to the owner.
8. Inoperable Fire Extinguisher
Specific 2014 – 2016 Grand Caravans were the subject of NHTSA campaign number 17V824000. This was issued to address the factory-supplied Kidde push-button Pindicator fire extinguishers, which failed in an emergency.
Vehicles affected were those equipped with the optional towing group of features to enable a towing capacity of 3500 pounds vs. the base model’s 1500-pound limit.
In the event of a fire, the original Kidde-supplied ones would leave you struggling with a clogged valve preventing the extinguisher from discharging. This issue caused the nozzle to break off from the valve assembly with the risk of injury to the operator.
Chrysler issued the recall number T82 and advised owners of these affected vehicles to contact the supplier Kidde directly for a free replacement of the faulty units. A possible 61,791 Grand Caravan models with the trailer option were affected.
So if you are in the market for a 2014 – 2016 Grand Caravan, please remember to check that the onboard fire extinguisher has been replaced.
9. Front Left Brake Caliper
The 2016 Grand Caravan has been plagued with problems, with eight issued recalls. The NHTSA issued campaign number 16V168000 to address a front brake caliper fault.
This recall involves a possible 21,183 vehicles produced from 2015 – 2016 with incorrect material being used to manufacture the front left brake caliper. The brake caliper houses the pistons and pads, which clamp on the brake discs to produce the stopping power on your car.
Somebody at Chrysler got it wrong, and the incorrect material used during the manufacturing process will put the occupants in a high-risk situation.
Braking on a vehicle produces extreme heat, and heating and cooling cycles will cause metal fatigue. The incorrect material will lead to the caliper cracking, causing fluid leakage and a loss of pressure on the pistons. The vehicle’s braking will be severely compromised, with an increased risk of a crash and injuries.
Under recall number S16 in 2016, Chrysler notified owners to have their vehicles inspected for this fault and replaced at no cost to the owner.
10. Windshields with Incorrect Primer
Our article’s last problem coming under the microscope is the NHTSA campaign number 16V044000 issued in respect of specific 2014 – 2015 manufactured Grand Caravan models.
With only 184 potential vehicles affected, the odds are slim that you may have been looking at one of these vehicles but better safe than sorry. The problem involves expired urethane primer.
Expired urethane primer used when fitting the windscreens may cause the vehicle’s windscreens to become detached in the event of an accident.
This fault means that these models fail to comply with The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 21 “Windshield Mounting.”
Safety standards compliance aside, this is not ideal for you or your passenger’s safety as there is an increased risk of injury in the unfortunate event of a crash.
To fix this windscreen problem, Chrysler issued recall NoS02 in March 2016 and notified owners to bring their vehicles to the dealerships to replace the windscreen free of charge.
The unfortunate streak of problems continues to plague the Chrysler brand. Though last manufactured in 2020, buyers in the second-hand car market should be wary when considering a Grand Caravan, especially the 2016 model, which has been the subject of numerous recalls.
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
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