Odyssey, Town & Country, Caravan

I have a budget of around $10-12,000. I have narrowed my search down to three minivans. I am looking for some advice on which one would be the better option. Here’s what I am looking at:

2012 Honda Odyssey. 137k miles. Fully loaded and in really nice condition.

2013 Chrysler Town and Country. 102k miles. Not the base model, but nothing fancy. In very nice body condition.

2014 Dodge Caravan. 97k miles. Pretty close to the base model. In excellent cosmetic condition.

I know there are reliability issues with Chrysler and Dodge cars, but I’m wondering if the lower mileage would offset those issues compared to the higher mileage Honda? Any advice would be helpful.

Can’t speak for all Chrysler mini vans, but my 02 got 230,000 miles before head gasket failure. My current 05 has 240,000, Going great. My daughters 06 250,000, going great.

That’s good to know. My current van is a 2008 Dodge Caravan, and I have 164,000 miles on it. The engine is running fine, but everything else is broken. It needs new tierod ends on the front driver’s side. It needs a new rear axle. I need a new bearing assembly on the read passenger side. And it is leaking oil from somewhere. It’s time to put her down.

All the items you list as needing repaired or replaced are quite normal at 164,000 miles.

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Honda Odysees have had more than their share of transmission issues so a high mileage situation is a bit of crap shoot with any brand . If you go dodge then go for the 14 . The earlier Pentastar’s had some head issues which were pretty much gone by 14 . Wife has a 14 with 105000 miles on it and it has been basically maintenance issues so far , had a cracked oil filter cooler fairly early but that was taken care of under the engine warranty . Been pretty reliable and is still going strong with no rust issues so far here in upstate NY where they salt until the snow is gone .

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We have a 2012 Odyssey similar to the one you’re looking at. Had it about 5 years now.

The alternator went out about a year ago; that was around $600 for an OEM replacement.

The only real complaint I have it is the front brake rotors. They seem to only last about a year to 1.5 years before warping. In fact, I need to replace them now. From what I gather, the brakes are a weak point on this Odyssey.

Aside from that, though, it’s been a great vehicle. This is actually our 2nd Odyssey. The first one was a 2003 that started having transmission issues, so we got rid of it.

I have a 2012 Ody bought new has all of 20k miles on it. Been thinking of getting rid of it. Do not like the VCM, has TC shudder, no where near the gas mileage they originally claimed it would get and I had one scare where I discovered it was suddenly really low on oil. No leaks, it’s showroom pristine engine compartment and undercarriage. Had a friend with a 2012 Pilot that said his started swilling down oil like crazy. Told me there was a known issue and normally appears before 100k. No idea of the validity of that claim beyond he’s not prone to exaggeration and what I experienced, only briefly. Mine hasn’t done that since but it gets little usage. Other than that, we like the van for its utility and ride comfort.

I have had a couple of Mopar minivans, have had good service from mine as several family members have had from theirs. I have always used mine for both hauling and people moving and they seem equally adept at each. I probably had the seats of mine in and out more than 50 times. With the seats out they are better than a tent for 2 person camping.

The faster depreciation and stow and go seating would keep me with Chrysler if I was looking for a used minivan. I think used Japnese vehicles are overvalued in the marketplace and would only buy them new.

Are you in an area where salt is used on the roads? If so, note that the Chrysler minivans are prone to corrosion. Wheel wells, door seams, hood, rocker panels, doglegs. They seem to hold up for the first 7 or 8 years, then once the rust appears, it just seems to take off and consumes the vehicle.

If the VCM system on the '05 - '10 odyssey works the same as it does on the later gen odyssey, then the cause of oil consumption is the way the cylinders are deactivated - by disabling the valves. This method causes a vacuum in the cylinder, sucking up oil and burning it off when the cylinder is re-activated. I disabled this on my '08 odyssey by disconnecting the oil pressure sensor used by the VCM system.
In my opinion, if you can find a lower mileage 2010 odyssey, that would be your best bet. It’s an older gen at the final years of manufacturing, so, many kinks were worked out. Lots of information is available on the maintenaince of the car, which is a plus. It seems to me the newer a car is, the worse the maintenaince required to keep it running is.

Rear door also deteriates.

The common way of accomplishing the same thing on later years is to artificially reduce the temp sender output to just a hair below normal. The computer will not enable VCM unless the engine is seen as completely up to temperature. The slightly lower temp does not seem to affect open v closed loop operation. However, the caveat is that it needs to be adjusted slightly as the outside temps change between summer and winter. I thought quite a bit about it but never bothered to do the mod and have lived with it.

Right, I forgot about the rear hatch… The 2013 Chrysler van Movybuf79 mentioned is a 5th generation Chrysler minivan. Not sure if Chrysler got it solved by that generation, but fourth generation vans was also prone to rusting on the front fenders where they meet the bumper. Also the hood. Not a vehicle for buy and hold type owners where salt is used, unless they are proactive and perform some kind of rust prevention like a yearly undercarriage and body cavity oil spray. Below is a link to a forum that discusses rust on 5th generation Chrysler vans.


I have owned minivans since 1991. I have owned a 1990 Ford Aerostar, a 2000 Ford Windstar, a 2006 Chevrolet Uplander, a 2011 Toyota Sienna and I presently own a 2017 Toyota Sienna. Despite what Consumer Reports survey shows, the least troublesome minivan was the 2006 Chevrolet Uplander. My son now has the Uplander and it has over 205,000 miles.
The point is that I am not sure that their is a lot of difference among the makes as far as reliability is concerned. On a used minivan, the condition and how it was maintained is more important.