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Normal wear and tear?

I have a 3 year old dodge grand caravan w/ 44k miles - we had some problems and took it into the dealership: rack & pinions leaking - replace w/ tie rod ends $772. A/C inoperable due to corosion in tube $665.80 - we had a recal on a/c and heater tube corrosion and had it replaced last year and now there is leaking at the rear evap and need to replace that along w/ the extension tube and seals. When speaking w/ the svc mgr. she’s telling me it’s all normal wear and tear…of course, this would be covered under the 3 year/36k warranty - funny how we’re at 44k and the 3 years will be next month…what’s really normal wear and tear?

I don’t agree with the service manager. 3 years/44k is very early for the failure of any of those components.

so what options do we have - take it somewhere else? the a/c is not a safety issue, but the rack & pinion is…battery went out two days ago, so we had to replace that too…

The Dodges my family have owned (mostly Durangos) all had what we considered early suspension replacement issues. We got aftermarket parts (with lifetime warranted parts where possible) and had an independent suspension specialist do the work. I would suggest you do the same. What is “normal” for Dodge is certainly not “normal” for our other vehicles (Mazda, Subaru, Toyota). My solution is to make sure that neither Dodge nor the dealer profit from these issues.

I would do the same on the AC. You will probably not win any arguments about fault and early replacement, so give quality independent specialists the work and the money.

I agree with jayhawkroy. Don’t give any more of your hard-earned money to either the dealership or Chrysler Corp.

Since Chrysler’s front end components seem to be prone to early failure, why would you want any more of them? An independent mechanic should be able to get high quality after-market parts that are at least as good, if not better than the Chrysler parts, and at a lower price.

And, any good independent auto A/C specialist can repair your A/C system.

If you search the Mechan-X files on the home page, you should be able to find good repair facilities in your zip code. These places have been recommended by Car Talk listeners who had good experiences with them.

Good luck!

The AC work that you paid for ($665.80) must have been done fairly recently since you paid for it. It would be interesting where “corosion in a tube” could occour and why the fix cost so much? I think when you are speaking about the rear AC you mean expansion valve not “extension tube”. Now did the same corrosion that caused the first repair also cause the second? Did this corrosion start while the car was under warranty. Now iam the first to admit I dont know all possibilites with AC failure (ASEcert,dealer training Community colledge training)but no one spoke about a corrosion failure. Was the system open to the elements for a long time and then not adaquately evacuated? Did you use a not approved refridgerant?. This is probably a orfice tube(front)and expansion valve (rear) but whats this corrosion idea?
My AC texbook says "corrosion: The decomposition of metal,caused by a chemical action,usually acid.Did find some info under google,caused by water in system,not normally seen at low miles,poor evacuation,reccomemded drier changes every 4 years what caused it on this vehicle. I say (not knowing service history) the system was contaminated from the very start. possible route to warranty repair

If that’s considered NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR…buy another vehicle. There have been more repairs done to that vehicle then my 98 Pathfinder with over 300k miles. I’m sorry…but if a car can’t get to 100k or 5 years miles with 0 repairs then it’s NOT reliable.

A steering rack failure at 44k miles is unusual. If you live in an a northern rust belt state or drive in heavy downpours (say through 5" deep water at times) then it’s possible this could have contributed to that problem.

The A/C problem is unusual and baffling and I agree with oldschool about this alleged corrosion business being a bit funny.
One thing to keep in mind is this. One should never believe every word that comes out of a service writer or service manager’s mouth. The vast majority are not mechanics nor are they mechanically inclined. Rather than show their ignorance of the subject they will plow blindly ahead babbling a lot of BS to perpetuate a snow job on the car owner.

If they tear into the A/C again, and since they claim corrosion is a problem, then the system should have a vacuum pulled on it (normally at least 30 minutes but I’d say an hour or more in this case) before recharging the system because moisture is what will cause this corrosion. If moisture is the current problem then someone in the past was not doing their job correctly.

Since it’s a woman service manager at a Chrysler dealer it’s not by chance in northern OK is it?
The local Chryco dealer here has a female service manager. She’s married to the owner and in one of those Sunday paper human interest sections they did a story about this dealership having a female SM.
As the owner stated in the interview; “She doesn’t know much about cars but she knows how to work people”.

What does that tell you? I don’t REALLY know what’s the problem or cause but some therapy and a little BS will help. Not.

The service manager is saying this is NORMAL wear-and-tear.

I’ll bet you a years salary…that if you go to buy a car at that same dealer and tell them the problems you had with your last car (don’t tell them it’s a Dodge and you bought it from them)…the salesman will tell you “It’s NOT normal. It’s very very rare for the Caravan to have those kind of problems in just 3 years.”


I agree with Mike that this “normal” situation would suddenly become very abnormal if it was mentioned to a person who sells that same brand of vehicle. The bottom line is that it is absolutely not normal, but on the other hand, at least you did not suffer the typical Chrysler transmission problems.

Sadly, some of these are fairly common problems with these vehicles, but hardly constitute “normal wear and tear”. The underbody metal lines for the rear a/c and heater are inadequately protected from the elements and corrode badly, depending on how much salt is used on the roads where they are driven. This also happens in vehicles from other manufacturers with rear a/c and heat, BTW. It’s usually the FRONT evaporators that are problematic, though. The rack & pinion is also a common problem.

I agree with the others: Find an independent shop to do the work (and verify the diagnoses).

Maybe it’s considered “Normal wear-and-tear” for THAT vehicle. Certainly NOT for any vehicle I’ve owned since 1990.

see I was correct,

chrysler loves theft.

and yes for a Chrysler product this is NORMAL WEAR AND TEAR.


I have replaced these AC/heater lines on the Chevrolet Venture.And it was in salt country (WI.)

I agree. My 2001 T&C burst a rear coolant line a 90K. $2600 later I have new line, valves/guides, re-worked heads, plugs/wires, oil change, tow, fresh coolant etc…The damn thing is under the floor board and not stainless or aluminum.I live in Minnesota!!