Is This Too Much Rust on a Van I'm Looking At?

I’m considering buying a 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan SE with 81,000 miles on it from a family friend. The owner lives near Pittsburgh and there’s some rust under the van from driving on salted roads. The owner is willing to cut me a deal, $13,000, I really want the van to be a good one for my family, but I’m not sure if I should walk away based on the amount of rust under it. Please advise, thank you!

Looks Ok. About right for a 4 year old Pittsburgh vehicle.

I’ll be driving it in Maryland where there won’t be as much salt on the roads - so you wouldn’t have too much concern about buying that van with that amount of rust on it? Just wondering if it’s going to accelerate problems down the road. Appreciate your advice!

I am more concerned that is a Chrysler product than any issues with rust.

Notice the number of NHSTA complaints


Based on the rust and @Mustangman 's comment, I wouldn’t walk away, I’d run!

exactly this.

It is never a good idea to buy or sell a vehicle invoving a relative , friend or co-worker.


Western Maryland is the same as Pittsburgh. Central Maryland still has a lot of salt. While daytime temperatures may be in the 40s, overnight temps drop below freezing. If it rains the roads are usually salted to counteract overnight freezing.

That said, the rust is topical and should not prevent you from getting many years of service from this minivan.

That’s a normal amount of rust for a 5 year old vehicle from Pittsburgh with that kind of mileage. Nothing unusual here.

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It should take 8+ years to get that much rust on a good vehicle like a Volvo. Expect to junk the vehicle 5 years sooner than what you’re probably used to due to it already looking like it’s 10 years old when it is 5 years old. Chryslers are known for rusting badly.

You could take good care of it by frequently washing it off with a garden hose and a sprinkler slid under the vehicle in the dead of winter, each time it is exposed to salty slush. Then it will last a lot longer. Longer than most other people’s vehicles.

And just how is this going to work at -20

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The hose has to be stored inside and the faucet has to be in a heated place or kept running all the time that it’s freezing.

I have a 2014 Grand Caravan and live in upstate Ny where they salt instead of plow . Mine looks about like that . It isn’t that bad . Been a very good vehicle , the only big issues were the oil cooler went and was replaced under engine warranty and this past summer had to do the oil pan due to corrosion. The rest is all general maintenance stuff and it has 131000 miles on it and still runs good . Just took it NY TO Florida and back and it did fine and we got 26 mpg .At 85000 miles it is very near the point of new plugs and transmission maintenance so figure that in .

Having lived in harsh winter climates with lots of salt used on roads, it’s my experience that it is far better to leave the slush frozen to your vehicle underbody than to go through repeated freeze-thaw cycles. The latter leading to much faster degradation than just leaving it alone. There is nothing worse than parking in a heated area repeatedly over the winter.

After a point in temperature being low enough, the limited time in a car wash that is spraying the undercarriage is not going to thaw out and wash away all the frozen slush or salt. It just gets it wet again :slight_smile:

And sliding under your car to wash it off with a hose might be something you try once…

Having lived in a harsh winter climate with lots of salt used on the roads, it was my experience that cars fall apart in 10 years or so, no matter what you do to them. And once the car gets very rusty, spending big bucks on things like timing belt replacement, etc becomes a poor investment. Now, I live in the desert southwest, where you can literally keep a car running for 30+ years. It’s a night and day difference!

My 03 trailblazer was getting some rust on the inside bottom of the door panels, probably due in part to never getting cleaned after 17 years. 10 years seems pessimistic, though some makes seem to be more susceptible than others.WI winters and a daily driver.

Well, its going to be cold … lol … seriously, when I lived in Colorado I did this frequently for my truck in cold winter weather. Prevented most of the rust problems from developing. If it was -20 F I 'd wait, but in a day or two temps would warm to at least the single digits (maybe negative single digits), but that’s warm enough. Then I’d use one of those self-serve car washes, put in enough quarters to spray the underside and wheel wells free of ice and salt. Wasn’t overly difficult. I’d sometimes clean the engine too, spraying with a soap/lather/rinse but wouldn’t suggest that idea w/modern cars. Pretty common to wash the wheel wells and underside every other day if roads covered in snow and salted.

Oh no, all this reminds me of another story … lol … I get a little depressed if having to stay inside day after day if weather is cold. Not a problem in San Jose, but in Colorado winter it was. Decided to rig up a sun-patio. Put it against a south facing dark colored exterior wall, semi-enclosed to prevent wind intrusion. Wow, it worked really good. Even at 0 deg F ambient I could sit out there being very comfy wearing short pants and t-shirt for several hours, catching rays. Thermometer often showed over 90 deg F on sun patio when ambient less than 10 F. Made a big difference in making it through Colorado winters.

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My grandparents owned an old hotel in Western Pennsylvania. There was a sunroom off the family dining room. They didn’t heat it and it was warm every day the sun shone no matter how cold it was, and it got pretty cold in the mountains surrounding them.

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