97 dodge Grand Caravan: Is it worth fixing?

#1

I have a 97 DGC, 103,000 miles - transmission is shot: Is it worth fixing? How many miles can I expect before the mechanic sees more of it than I do?

#2

IMHO it’s not worth fixing. That vehicle’s value and reliability are at the bottom of the pond, and those vehicles frankly don’t typically age well.

#3

There is always a lot of doubt with that particular vehicle. Cash wise, you can guess either way. If the thing has been perfect in all other ways and you don’t live in a high rust area, you can consider keeping it running and most people won’t laugh. If it seems worth it for 30,000 more miles, it may be worth it.

#4

My old neighbor a house painter would buy one with a similar age 10years dirt cheap and replace the transmission soon after and drive another 100k at least without serious issue.

What kind of condition is yours in and? Has been it been cared for in driving style and maintenance. If no or poor move on.

#5

I’ve been religious about taking it in for oil changes and regular maintenance…body has a few dings, interior is beautiful (except for the orange soda spilled years ago by a toddler). I have the cash saved for the next car, but don’t really want to spend it any sooner than necessary…

#6

My experience w/ my own Caravan is much more like that of andrew_j’s neighbor rather than mountainbike’s assessment.

I bought it with about 104K, had the trans rebuilt at about 130K. Its now at 215K and is only now really at the end (for more than one reason). But - keeping in mind the trans - for the last 110K it has been nothing but reliable. A workhorse that has always been a pleasure to drive and cheap to own.

I would just assess everything else. How are the other major systems? Any A/C leaks or problems? Cooling system? Suspension? Engine? Leaks? Ask a mechanic to help if you’re not sure. (My shop will do a flat rate “check to buy” inspection - that’s the kind of thing you want). If nothing else major is looming I would be thinking of that van as only middle aged - still with another 100K good miles in it.

The only caveat I’ll add is that I am assuming this is either the 3.3 or 3.8L motor - both long lasting & reliable.