2018 Dodge Grand Caravan Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical, brakes and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

While minivans have lost some popularity with the rise of SUVs, the 2018 Dodge Grand Caravan continues to be a family favorite. The company claims that this model provided “uncompromised capability,” but that’s not the general consensus from owners. In fact, the defective powertrain, faulty exterior lighting, glitchy electrical system and faulty service brakes make this minivan a dangerous vehicle to drive.

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Problems with the Transmission

The powertrain includes one of the most vital components of any vehicle: the transmission. When this part fails, all bets are off.

That’s what happened to this Edmunds reviewer. “When it reached 64,000 miles the entire transmission went out. The transmission torque converter, which if you did not know is a round piece of steel in your transmission, got a hairline fracture in it. This tiny crack caused the entire transmission to fail. We had to pay $3,500.00 dollars for a rebuild. The company that rebuilt it AA Allstars were awesome! They informed us that they were regularly replacing transmissions for Dodge Caravans because of this part. The mechanic said Dodge used a cheap steel for the torque converter. He also mentioned that there was a kit sold by Dodge to repair it because it was a common problem. When I contacted Dodge to get some type of reimbursement I was denied because my warranty stopped at 60000 and I was at 64000. In my opinion a vehicle bought new should not need a new transmission at 60000 miles.”

Sadly, FCA has kept the manufacturer communications to a minimum and has nothing to say regarding the defective transmissions or why they are failing right after the warranty expires. If you ask some of the owners, it’s simply a racket. In the meantime, owners are left footing a hefty bill that wasn’t planned for. Maybe the tagline should be – “uncompromised capability until the warranty expires; then you are on your own.”

Problems with the Headlights

If things couldn’t get any worse, it’s about to be clear how dangerous this Dodge Grand Caravan is.

Sit down before reading this Edmunds review. “This is a very sad review because I’ve done plenty of nighttime driving before never had an incident until last night. I’ve noticed when I got the van that the headlights were too dim, well what happened last night confirmed it as I was driving a small distance destination going the speed limit on a city highway and hit a woman pedestrian going 35 to 40 mph! The street lights in this section of the highway were almost nonexistent and I didn’t see this poor woman until I was right on top of her by then it was too late! I am 99% sure she died leaving behind a daughter and brother to take care of her now!!! This was in Orlando FL on Oak Ridge Rd. It seems like the headlights that are on this van are there for simple legal purposes because they serve no other purpose!!!”

No one wants to be in this type of situation, but once again Dodge is quiet regarding any concerns. Instead, the company continues to manufacture minivans that hit unassuming pedestrians. Consider this a warning to all pedestrians everywhere. If you see a Dodge Grand Caravan heading your way at night, stay out of the way.

Problems with the Electrical System

With the electrical system, faults can be downright annoying or dangerous. This minivan has a mixture of both.

One NHTSA review talks about a nuisance. “The power locks are failing to work. Right now passenger door and sliding door locks stopped working. Sometimes, you can’t even unlock the door to open them. Which is a big safety problem.”

FCA doesn’t want to talk about any issues unless they are forced to issue a recall, which is precisely what occurred with the electrical system. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V524000 talks about a faulty voltage regulator that can cause the minivan to stall and cause an accident. This affects over 12,000 vehicles and poses a real safety concern. Surely, it’s evident to see where all of the compromises are now.

Problems with the Brakes

Another vital system is the service brakes, especially with all of the other malfunctions occurring with this vehicle.

Yet, another NHTSA complaint says this system is faulty as well. “I was in Allentown and my brake pedal drifted halfway to the floor while at the stoplight. I was at Pep Boys and they bled the brakes. That seemed to do the trick. Here we are two weeks later and the brake pedal is getting spongy and drifting again. Therefore no fluid leaks any place. There have been similar complaints on online boards. I paid cash for this van July 1, 2019. I should not have this problem. This is a manufacturer defect and is a safety hazard for myself and my passengers. Not to mention other persons on the road or crosswalks.”

Funny this review warns pedestrians after what has already been revealed. The company was forced into a recall related to the braking system. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V52300 talks about how the rear brake caliper pistons feature an insufficient coating that could reduce braking performance and cause a crash. Combine that with headlights that don’t illuminate the road and a stalling condition, and this Dodge Grand Caravan is just waiting to cause trouble. Sadly, this recall affected over 150,000 vehicles, which further proves how much FCA lied when claiming that this vehicle doesn’t compromise. It should be in the junkyard with other lemons.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon at no cost to you. The law makes Dodge pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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1 COMMENT
  • gail

    I have a 2018 Dodge Caravan with 34,000 and it needs a new transmission. Years ago I purchased a new 1997 and had the same issue and never purchase another Dodge until this one. The vehicle is under warranty but this is ridiculous for a transmission to go out at 34,000. What’s to say the new one won’t do the same thing. Not happy!

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