Purchased a used 2006 Dodge Caravan in September 2014. Everything appeared to be great. Took it into a local repair shop for an inspection before we purchased it. Looked up the car report and again, everything was just fine. Then after a few months of driving it within the city, issues began to pop up.
The spark plugs went (and had to be replaced), the alternator went, the water pump, rear brakes went (don’t the front brakes usually go first…?? Had the brakes tested and 5% left on rear and about 40% on front <-- this was as of December 2015. Over the last year or so, brakes have been grinding a fair bit and had actually brought it into a different repair shop who said the brakes were just fine but then once the grinding became worse, brought it into another repair shop and they showed me what was left), the power steering had to be rebuilt (leaking) and then the seals on the transmission also went. Transmission seals were replaced but then over a period of two weeks, I noticed more and more leaks coming from the same area where the transmission was. I continued to add more transmission fluid (three bottles – 1L in size - within about 3-4 weeks times). Brought it back in and it appeared one of the new seals were faulty so they replaced both. Kept an eye on the van over the next week and it was leaking non-stop. I also noticed that there were times I would back van up, put it into drive and there was nothing happening. I could accelerate but van would not move. I had to turn the van off three times in order for anything to go. It was also quite rough when switching gears.
Brought it in yesterday and they replaced the seals (AGAIN!), took it out for another long drive, brought it back and noticed it was still leaking. Mechanic said they replaced the bushings as they were completely worn down and asked me if the transmission was ever rebuilt. Having the vehicle for just over a year, it was never rebuilt in that time but again, who knows what the previous owners did. Maybe they had it rebuilt? But when I purchased the van, it only had 62,000 miles on it. What the heck did they do to the transmission to have it rebuilt in that little mileage?
The transmission rebuild was never mentioned to us when purchasing the vehicle back in 2014. The mechanic mentioned that perhaps the transmission was rebuilt but whoever rebuilt it, never bothered to replace the bushings as they were completely worn down. It was literally one thing after another that went on the van. It was as though I brought it home, ran fine for a day or two and then the next thing went. The van has 80,000 miles on it.
The previous family who owned it said they used it strictly as a back up vehicle for road trips with the family because it had the room compared to their other vehicle.
I have basic knowledge when it comes to vehicles but that’s about it. Has anyone ever heard of so many issues in a vehicle? Any idea why there would be so many issues with such low mileage? I’m now realizing that the Caravan (especially the older models) have MANY issues and complaints against them. Wish the repair shop I had brought it to in the first place would of told us to stay away from this model, as it’s been nothing but a headache and cost a lot of money for the repairs.