2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, engine shuts down and steering locks



I bought used 2005 Dodge Grand Caravan SE, on April 17, 2008. Almost after a week this problem is happening, it is very random. It happened 3 times. Last time it happened at 15-20 miles per hour while I was making a right turn.

The engines shuts down and steering locks. I could have met with major accident last time when it happened.

Took to the dealer from where I bought, he is saying that he could not reproduce the problem, so, as far as he is concerned there is no problem.

But this is major safety issue, I can’t drive this vehicle until this is fixed.

I also got the extended service warranty from Chrysler, they are not helping me either.

My vehicle is with the dealer, he is forcing me to take vehicle back today, any suggestion any body please?


I bought this vehcile from HENDRICK DODGE : Leading Dodge Dealership in Cary, North Carolina, NC


When the engine stalls, the power steering pump stops turning, and you lose power assist to the steering. But, it doesn’t ‘lock-up’. You just need to force the wheel to turn a lot harder than if the engine were still running. There is nothing wrong with the van, except why the engine stalls. Any clue there?


Thanks for your reply.
I did tried to turn the steering very hard, but it didn’t turned a bit!! it just locked!! believe me.

It happends randomly,
the first 2 times when it happends I was trying to stop at a signal… may be 5-10 miles per hour. But 3rd time I was making right turn around 15 miles per hour, it stalled!! locked the steering… went into other line…luckily the car from the other side was coming very slowly … he could able to put the brakes on his car…avoided the major accident… or else I could have hit him from driver side…
So, I have to put vehicle in park mode, turn the key into ignition-off mode and turn the ignition again … it starts then.

I have no clue why it stalls… it does not stores any codes on the system… mechanic says he is driving around and trying to duplicate the problem … I don’t know what they are trying to find out… if it is not going to store the code… they are saying my extended service warranty does not cover or authorize them to open up and look in side, very sad!!

I paid 10% of vehicle price for buying extended service warranty … which is supposed to cover bumper to


The steering doesn’t lock unless you turn the ignition switch to the LOCK position. If the engine stalls the steering becomes VERY DIFFICULT to turn because the power steering pump is no longer working, but it’s not locked. It’s NOT locked. You can still steer, but it’s not easy.

The problem is not the steering system, it’s the engine stalling. It’s hard to believe the engine stalls and there are no trouble codes stored in the computer.

“they are saying my extended service warranty does not cover or authorize them to open up and look in side, very sad!!”

Inside WHAT? There’s no reason to look inside the engine. What are they going to look inside of? This is very confusing.

Please provide more specific information.


After re-reading her post I’ve come to the conclusion there MAY be an ignition system fault causing the engine to quit and as a result, locking the steering by telling the computer the KEY is turned OFF.

Does that make any sense? I know it’s a pretty far fetched WAG, but…


Try taking all the keys and other dangling stuff off your key chain. Drive it with just the car key, nothing else hanging off that key. I’ve seen keychains get tangled up in other stuff and do strange things to ignitions.


The mechanic at the dealership is driving around and trying to see if it happens again, it happened 3 times in 3 weeks time-frame, its very random. But, last when it happened I was driving around 15 miles/hour, taking right, it could have been fatal if I met with an accident.
So, instead of waiting for it to hap pend again… and more over if it is not going to store the code… what are they trying to find out?
I don’t know? So, what I was saying is, they can look into the circuitry, ignition system, fuel pump, any thing… I don’t know what exactly they would be looking at … but just trying to duplicate the issue is not going solve the problem.


Yes, it seems there could be some ignition system fault… but how can they determine if it is due to ignition, they have to open it and look inside?
all they(service department at dealship) are doing is driving this vehicle and trying to duplicate the issue…
If it is not going to stor the code…I am not sure what they are trying to find out…


This is a very serious problem if you can’t steer when this fault happens. While you may not be able to return the car for a refund I see no reason why the extended warranty you purchased wouldn’t cover the costs to repair this trouble. If there is a problem with the warranty coverage on this you may need to see a lawyer about it.


Thank you!! for your advice, I am thinking about it but not sure how much of a hassle it is.


… they are saying my extended service warranty does not cover or authorize them to open up and look in side, very sad!!

It sounds to me there may be some confusion about this. I don’t see any reason your warranty wouldn’t cover the repair on this. I’m not sure what you mean by ‘open up and look inside’. If you are refering to looking inside the PCM or BCM modules then I would say they will not open those things up to look for a problem. They are treated as a replacement part and aren’t normally repairable by a shop. The entire module is just replaced, and progammed if necessary. The labor and parts cost to change them out should be covered by the warranty. If a module is causing this trouble it needs to be replaced.

If the vehicle can’t be controlled when this trouble occurs then it really shouldn’t be driven on the road until it is fixed, in my opinion at least.


I have a very sneaky suspicion that the challenge might lie in the ignition switch itself. That switch controls all of your engine electrical functions as well as the steering lock mechanism. Maybe that’s what the dealer means when they say that they can’t open it up. Any excuse so that they don’t have to mess with something when they don’t possess the trouble-shooting skills to figure it out. This could also be traced back to the previous owner having 5 pounds of keys on the same ring as the ignition key. That extra weight constantly working against the guts of the ignition switch does very weird things to the switch. Does the dealer perhaps have a service bulletin or two concerning this same issue? Ask.


I had this same type of problem a few years back and got stranded with my infant son in the car in oncoming traffic. Luckily someone pushed me out of the highway. Anyways, it turned out to be an ingnition problem but the shops and dealerships were not able to find the problem unless the problem was happening. And by the time they came to get my car off of the side of the road, it worked fine. They ended up keeping it for a few days and driving it every now and then and figured it out when the problem happened to them. Unless it is doing it, the computer diagnosis will not pick anything up.


Yes, you are absolutely correct, that is what they are doing now, they kept my van since May 9th, and driving around now and then to see if the problem occurs again. They have asked me to come and drive also, so yesterday I drove around 10 miles but it didn’t happened.

Do you know by any chance how they fixed it? could you please kindly give me the details, I can suggest this to the dealer, he might get some clue…


Thank you very much!! for your suggestion.
I will check with the dealer.


I wanna say that they replaced my ignition switch, but like I said, it was a few years back (I think 6 to be exact). I have a different car now (with a different problem that I have posted), but I will try to find my service receipt and let you know.


Thank you so much!! I really appreciate it!!
You can email the details to : utthesta09@gmail.com


Thank you very much for all your input.
My problem resolved (at least as of now :slight_smile: ) , here are the details.

Upon my request the dealer has changed the ignition switch, he mentioned he is not 100% sure that will fix my problem.
But, any way…
I took my vehicle back after they have changed the ignition switch,
the same problem occurred again in three days while I was driving to office,
there is no light/indication of what so ever… I was going to take it back to the dealer…luckily after 5-10 miles the malfunction light was on.
They found the code : P0406 , EGR Position sensor high. EGR staying open.
Here is the reference to EGR : http://www.asashop.org/autoinc/nov97/gas.htm
The significance of it :
EGR system precisely controls the flow of recirculated exhaust.
Too much flow will retard engine performance and cause a hesitation on acceleration.
Too little flow will increase NOx and cause engine ping.

In my case EGR was allowing excessive flow of exhaust in the engine which is causing the engine to stall at some point…

They have changed the EGR valve and it is working fine so far (one week)

I have noticed one interesting thing with regard to the gas mileage :
Before the fix : it was over 20 (around 21) miles/gallon in the city/high way combined
After the fix : it is below 20 (around 18) miles/gallon combine.

This coincides with the EGR valve theory :
A well-designed EGR system will actually increase engine performance and economy. Why? As the combustion chamber temperature is reduced, engine detonation potential is also reduced. This factor enabled the software engineers to write a more aggressive timing advance curve into the spark timing program. If the EGR valve is not flowing, onboard diagnostics (OBD) systems will set a code and the power control module (PCM) will use a backup timing curve that has less advance to prevent engine ping. Less timing advance means less performance and economy.

Apart from the huge stress I did learnt some thing from my experience!! :slight_smile:


Thanks for the update Utthesta.

I have to wonder if the code for the EGR valve is something else going on since the code didn’t show up before. You also lost some mileage after the fix too so it seems something else may be wrong.