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2008 Chrysler T&C & Dodge Caravan brake life expectancy!



  • Sorry, I can't seem to find where I wrote 'slow to release'.

    It is not just one caliper, as all four wheels gets hot after just a short drive not using the brakes. Hence, the brakes on all four wheels are activated during driving.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,913
    Oh, when you said "they do not release properly," I thought that's what you meant.

    So you are saying they never fully release? I can't imagine that to be the case as they would probably catch fire.

    I'll have to feel our wheels after the next time I drive the van.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • kope49kope49 Posts: 15
    Perhaps this explains why my gas mileage has dropped like a rock. The last three tanks with my 3.8 SXT I have averaged 13.8 mpg. That is mostly city driving but still unacceptable. I replaced rear rotors at 41K and still have originals on front at 43K.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    From what I know, disc brakes are supposed to drag a bit on the rotor, and thus are supposed to create a bit of heat. This helps the braking system by keeping the pads/rotors drier in wet weather so the brakes have a better chance of working in the wet, something the old style drum brakes had problems with.

    So, the brake pads should probably not be fully released from the rotor. One way manufacturers do this is by the design of the o-ring seal that's between the brake piston and the caliper. This is designed to slightly retract the piston, or just release the pressure it's applying to the rotor, but still alow the pad to drag (slightly) on the rotor.
  • bobc5bobc5 Posts: 8
    Hey William

    I was wondering if you had an update on these parts? Have you rotated the tires and taken a look at the brakes. I just went through some crappy Bendix and wagner pads in 11k miles and they were supposed to be ceramic. I can deal with changing them every 30k miles but right now that seems like a pipe dream.

    I have an 09 Grand Caravan.
  • Can you say RIPPED OFF!? There is no way that your brake fluid, in six months, or even in 3 years, can get that dirty. It's a sealed system. I drive 25K miles a year. I've had new cars, old cars (55 Chevy, 62 Pontiac) and NEVER EVEN CHANGE MY FLUID. Its a sealed system. It would take rust, abuse, leakage and/or 10-20 years for fluid to get dirty.

    You are getting ripped off bad.
  • Someone needs to learn about brake fluid...

    Fluid should be flushed every 2-3 years not because it's "dirty" but actually due to copper content and moisture. Sealed system? Not fully. The reservoir cap is vented and brake fluid LOVES to absorb moisture.

    The copper content comes from the ABS system and general corrosion of the brake system due to a breakdown in the fluid due to heat which in turn reduces protection against corrosion/oxidation. The copper content is the main concern these days, not moisture, and copper test strips should be used every 6-12 months to determine when the brake fluid should be flushed.

    I pity anyone's vehicles that are abused by not following proper maintenance procedures.
  • I am relieved to find this website.. I'm having to change brake pads and rotors on my 2008 T&C Limited 4.0 every 20,000-30,000 miles and was just told that I needed to change brake fluid and flush the lines because it was "routine maintenance" at 50,000 miles. I'm on my 3rd set of brakes and rotors and being told its driving habits, but my van before 2000 dodge caravan sport 3.3 has only had 2 set of rear brakes ever and still are good. I think I changed the front pads about every 45,000-50,000. I think its nuts to pay 1200-1500 dollars a every year or so for brakes. I've also had the intermittent issues of my van not starting, charged 100.00 to tell me I needed a battery, but it worked up until 3 weeks ago when it didn't start again for the 3rd time in 2 years, I finally changed it. Waiting to see if that fixes it or like many of you will still be intermittent issue. I have trouble with the doors not wanting to close, and one time actually closed on my husband and he had to fight to get it to open back up, had it been a child I know it wouldn't have turned out good. I have loud squeal when I turn the wheel hard to turn into the drive. My rear seat cover will NOT stay on no matter what I do. The rear seat automatic stow acts up every time I use it. I purchased this van and bought the extended warranty as I was going to keep it for long time. I bought the top of the line and now I just want to get rid of it. I've paid for Chrysler's top of the line only to have gotten a piece of crap I feel. I've called Chrysler about brakes issues and they took care of cost at 10,000 miles and again at 20,000 miles but not at 48,000 miles they are offering me 100.00 assistance on a 651.00 dollar bill. I don't think that is fair. For those reading this. Dealership Freedom Dodge tried to convince me that it is routine maintenance at 50,000 miles to flush and clean brakes lines, this is NOT true as I have now found out. I feel like a fool for trusting them to maintain my van. Thank everyone who has posted on here. I now know I'm not alone! and its not my "driving habits" that is causing brake issues!
  • Is it safe to assume you are employed by a Chrysler dealership?
  • Pardon me? No, I don't work for Chrysler or any other manufacturer. Do yourself a favor and do the research yourself if you don't believe me. Copper and moisture are two things that need to be monitored in your brake fluid and the fluid needs to be flushed when either of those contaminants exceeds safe levels. That's just the way it is. Rule of thumb is to flush the fluid every 2 years if you don't want to do the test, otherwise test every 6-12 months and flush when the strips say it's time. It may be 2 years, 4 years or 10 years, but the test doesn't lie.

    Tell me, what's more important, the safety of you, your family, and those that share the road with you or saving, say, $120 because you don't feel like properly maintaining brake fluid is necessary?

    How often do you change your oil? Why? Some people, including myself, use oil analysis to determine when the oil needs to be changed instead of going by the manufacturer intervals. Other people go by mileage, others by time. Regardless of the method, I think we can all agree that the oil in your car needs to be properly maintained, right? Or do you wait until there's a problem with your engine before you change the oil?

    Likewise, coolant needs to be tested or replaced at specific intervals, depending on the vehicle. My truck has coolant that's "good" for 5yr/100k miles, but after a few years it's a good idea to have the pH levels, etc checked to make sure everything is still OK. Do you have your coolant flushed when it's reached the end of its life or do you wait for it to cause so much scale in your radiator that the vehicle overheats due to the flow restriction? Maybe wait for it to eat your water pump so you can spend money on coolant AND a new water pump?

    The list goes on and on. Brake fluid is easily one of the most neglected fluids in cars and we kinda need brakes in order know...stop...and be safe. You'd think people might take this critical fluid a little more seriously. Don't wait for there to be a problem, have your brake fluid checked for copper and moisture content and have it flushed before it has a chance to damage your brake system or result in an accident.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,913
    you assume the poster is employed by Chrysler because he/she suggests changing your brake fluid, a product that degrades over time? Geesh.

    yahooligan is completely correct. Brake fluid is not a "lifetime" fluid. BTW, I'm also going to have the transmission fluid changed in our town & country at the next service visit. I don't believe ANY fluid in a vehicle is "lifetime."

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • My story sounds exactly like yours. I have changed my brake pads and rotors (3) times and my van only has 67,000 miles on it. I am at wits end because Chrysler does nothing. My doors do not always close when I press the button, I always check to see if there is a toy or something in the way but never anything. If you are not careful the door will close on you, I keep the kids away from it. Just had another issue this morning, my car completely died on me today, checked the oil, none. Just had the oil done, there was no indication on my dash board that alarmed me I was low on oil.
  • My doors too had the sliding close issue. Dealership did a code upgrade which cleared the problem.
    For the brakes, including the originals i'm on my 4th set and have 51K miles. Already hear the grinding going as if the caliper is stuck closed again. Chrysler did a recall, I used twice, so only paid $150 in total for brakes as they did reimburse each time. But now with higher mileage that isn't going to happen. My mechanic says the 2008 were a newer and worse design they did, and will continue to fail.
    Newest issue is oil light comes on when i hit the brakes, oil is good so is brake fluid. I change oil every 3500 miles with tire rotation every 3rd. The brake fluid was drained last year when my guy had to work on the caliper which was stuck.
    Had an issue with the A/C each spring, another recall they fixed for free as it seems to be prone to leak over the winter. This past spring no issue and it was hard winter in NE, so I think that problem is gone.
    Other than that I actually love the damn thing with all the room for the kid's gear, sat radio and dual DVds for road trips.
    Are you all signed up to get the recall notices? not quite sure how i'm getting them, but they mail it to me and I let the dealership deal with it.
  • Has anyone had their 2008 T&C front wheel bearings replaced under Chrysler's warranty letter program?
  • Does anyone know of any information on the web on what the actual root cause of this brake problem is, or a forum where that is specifically discussed?

    I sent an email to the swedish chrysler agent with a couple of questions about the brake issue and any possible good-will. They didn't even bother to answer me. This was my first and last chrysler, that's for sure.
  • Hello Thomas,

    The root cause of the problem is that it´s a design fault with the brakes. The brakes are simply too small for the car. This apparently was changed in late 2009 or 2010 and the problem has been resolved. However, the people who have the 2008/2009 models with the brake problem are more or less screwed.

    Our dealer says it is not uncommon to have to change the brakes and rotors on these cars every 20-25k km....which is basically insane. With that said, I think your best bet is to buy some aftermarket performance EBC ultimax with yellow pads....these brakes are drilled and slotted and will take heat much better than the current OEM parts from Chrysler. The performance parts are expensive but they are about the same price as the original OEM parts which are no bargain either.

    So in the end, there is no solution.

    There is however a class action lawsuit regarding this problem which can be found here:

    lemberglaw . com/class-action-cali.php
  • Hi

    Thanks for your reply. Yes, no doubt there's a design flaw. Unfortunately however I don't quite buy that it is just the brakes that are too small. At least not on ours. All four brakes often get hot (and I mean hot) even when they have not been used. Some times I have noticed that they are so stuck when driving away that I noticed the car is "heavy" and stops way to quick if I just release the gas. Brake performance also indicate there is no real problem with the size of the brakes. Hitting the brakes hard and the car stops real quick.

    As you say, the solution is to change the brakes. However, I believe the problem is just not with the calipers, pads and rotors, but might also be with the master cylinder or other parts further up in the system. I've sent a question to brembo on what parts I would need from them to replace the whole system. But it doesn't seem like they care to answer.

    Our car is around 45k miles without changing the rotors, so compared to others we are fairly lucky anyway.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 16,913
    edited January 2012
    If what you say is true about late '09s and '10s having larger brakes, then why not just swap out for those brakes? It would require the rotors, calipers, and pads, but if they truly are superior and cure the problem, then it is worth the expense.

    EDIT: However, I just looked up a set of rotors for the 2008 and 2010. They are the same part numbers. So I think somebody fed you false information.

    I had the thought that we could swap out for something like Cherokee SRT8 brakes. I haven't been able to figure out yet if this is even feasible, though. Don't know if they would fit within our stock wheels or even mate up with our hubs, etc.

    '13 Stang GT; '86 Benz 300E; '98 Volvo S70; '12 Leaf; '08 Town&Country

  • sorry Don't get your hopes up on the class action lawsuit. I just received a call from Att. Hirnky fom Lemberg and he stated that the courts have dismissed the lawsuit.
  • The door issue is on recall bring it to dealership to get fixed. We just had 3 recalls fixed now our ABS system is acting up.
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