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Trans problems in 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan?

I have heard that the transmission in the 2017 Dodge grand caravan had tons of problems. Can you tell me what you know about this

There’s no transmission-related technical service bulletins listed as far as I can tell. What kind of problem are you having?

This web site lists 2 complaints, a lot of Caravans have been sold so 2 is not significant.



I am looking to purchase a 2017 Grand Caravan. I was told by a dealer that it was a bad purchase because Dodge makes a terrible transmission for this vehicle. This gentleman is a Toyota dealer.

Do you really think a Toyota dealer is going to praise a competitors product ?

I would avoid Chrysler myself but just for the fact I don’t feel good about the Fiat connection lasting much longer.

The Grand Caravan is not as reliable as the Odyssey or Sienna, however it is also costs significantly less as a used car and offers stow and go seating. The transmission is generally the weak point on any Minivan, and I would agree that the one in the Dodge is not great. That said, if price is a consideration, the Grand Caravan and Town & Country are both good choices overall.

Rumors get started about a problem with a certain make and model of a car with no basis in fact. I remember when the 1954 Buicks came out with the “wraparound windshield”. The story went around that if the car was jacked up on one corner to change a tire, the windshield would crack. My parents owned a 1954 Buick which I later bought from them. In the ten years we owned the car, we jacked it up numerous times and the windshield never cracked.
Now I don’t know much about 2017 Dodge Caravan transmissions, but If I were interested in buying one, I would dig into the transmission issue before I rejected the vehicle.

I always check this site out when looking at problem cars.

I am not a MOPAR fan myself but this is actually one of their more solid vehicles if you ask me. Yes, they cost a lot less than others but are not what I would consider a ticking time bomb.

Now this is one that you want to AVOID at all costs! I know a couple people who actually owned these and yes, the engines come from the factory standard with the “self destruct option”.

Toyota is not immune either. People think the Camry is a great car but there have been a few duds with that model and others as well. I have a friend who used to have a 2007 and it got to drinking about 5 quarts of oil per week before he dumped it. I am sure it didn’t help that his wife would “sometimes” mention that the low oil light was coming on intermittently. By the end he was dumping a quart in every evening as counting on his wife to mention car issues wasn’t working out.

The guy with the Camry went to a Focus afterwards and replacing the transmission seems to be a standard 30,000 mile service. I think he just started on transmission #3.

The Caravan may not be the best vehicle in the world but it certainly isn’t the worst. Just drive it and don’t worry about it but DO maintain is and change the transmission fluid more often than specified if you are concerned about its life. There are certainly many other cars more deserving of a bad rap.

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I have a 2014 and it has kind of a stupid transmission. It’s good enough but I put it in 3 when I climb hills at 25 MPG. It shifts up and bogs if I don’t. Any other time it is perfectly OK.

Consumer Reports does not have enough data on the 2017, but from 2012 through 2016 they rate Transmission Major as Much Better than Average and Trans Minor varied from Average to Better Than Average to Much Better Than Average.

If you haven’t seen it, the April issue of Consumer Reports is their Annual Car Issue; they also publish various car buyer’s guides during the year, and have a lot of info on their website, some free and some by subscription. I would trust their survey data over any one person’s opinion.

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This sounds like my main complaint about automatic transmissions.

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I think I know where the Toyota Dealer’s comments are coming from. Not long ago, Consumer Reports produced a list of the “Worst-rated” vehicles. The Journey made that list. Here is the summary from CR: “On paper, the midsized Journey SUV may sound compelling, but in our tests we found that it has a confining interior and lacks agility, and the V6 delivers the worst fuel economy in its class. Added to that, it suffers from poor performance in the IIHS small-overlap frontal crash test. But the Journey rides well, the cabin is relatively quiet, and it offers a third-row seat, albeit one that is snug and best for children. The Journey is late in its model run, with discounts commonplace. But don’t be tempted. This low-rated model is a poor value anywhere–even at the airport rental lot.” In its last rating of the Journey (2016 MY), CR’s reliability rating based on owner reported problems was the lowest possible score.

The discussion started with a question about the transmission in 2017 Dodge Grand Caravan.

CR’s commentary on the Grand Caravan in their April 2018 issue is similar in tone to their summary of the Journey.

If you go back like 25 years, there were problems with the first iteration of the “Ultradrive” 4 speed automatic used in Chrysler minivans. But that was some time ago. Not that I would expect a salesman to have much in the way of actual product knowledge these days.


Yes. The transmissions are far from terrible - quite reliable in recent decades, actually. The 4-speed automatic in my 2007 Chrysler Town and Country has been entirely satisfactory. If I don’t want to wait for it to downshift while going up a hill in the city (Duluth, MN - got city, got hills!) I just push the gas pedal down. I suppose newer minivans now have a lot more speeds.

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I have a fleet of these new Dodge Caravans. 7. I have had to replace 5 transmissions. In 1.5 yrs. AWFUL transmissions.

so eli, you have some numbers? avg miles driven per week and avg time interval that trans failed? do they die at 30k miles or 94k miles or all over the board? any common failure scenarios?

We bought a used 2000 Caravan in 2006. At the time the internet was full of comments about the transmission on these being weak. I maintained it with regular pan drop and filter change. The transmission was fine at 185K miles when we got rid of it. It was every other part of the car that broke down here and there that made me get rid of it.
Sometimes you are right about worrying but just worry about the wrong stuff.

The current iteration of the Dodge Caravan has been built for so many years that they have ironed out many of the issues by now and it is a good value used. We bought a used 2014 Caravan XST from the fleet at the company I work for and it has simply needed maintenance these last 2 1/2 years. Other current generation Caravan owners I know are happy with theirs as well. It’s comfortable on road trips and as others have mentioned it’s nice that all of the rear seats can be stowed.

I have a 2017 dodge grand caravan for work. I drive a lot… at 190,000 km. My whole work uses them.

I have personally had issues with the transmission when i hammer down passing someone on highway where it sticks in the lower gear when i let off and wont shift back up. It will not even let me manual shift out. I have to stop. Turn engine off. Wait 3 mins. Turn on and then use the manual shift to climb the gears back to automatic mode and its fine.

Ive also had to replace the plugs and coil packs on it recently (plugs were expected)

Its not a good vehicle for Canadian winters as either you fog up the window and your feet freeze or the reverse on the really cold days.

If loaded up with weight its good on hwy in winter. I would not want to drive this without as easily catches a side wind and will drift on you.

Fuel mileage is reasonable. Stow and go seating is nice cause you have hidden storage spots when the seats are out.

It gets all its recommended maintenances as well.

My opinion Get a Dodge Durango…youll enjoy it more… I hate gutless vehicles and the 2017 DGC is definitely one.

But if youre just gonna soccer mom in it… youll probably be fine.