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Chrysler Town & Country and Dodge Grand Caravan 2005+



  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I bought an extended warranty once, it didn't pay for itself. That was 1987, and since then I've avoided them like the plague. Now, 18 years, 8 cars (including two Grand Caravans) and more than 440,000 miles (>150,000 from the GCs) later I've still not accrued enough expense from unscheduled repairs to offset that single maintenance plan. Specific to the GCs, we've got 98,784 on the 1998 and 52,003 on the 2003 as of tonight and I've spent a total if $158 in unscheduled maintenance for the two vans combined. I'm thinking that even if both vans decide to lunch their transmissions tomorrow, I'd still be way ahead.

    If I ever decide to start worrying about future unscheduled maintenance, I will simply put $2,000 into an account each time I purchase a new car, and then use that fund to draw against for said maintenance. Had I followed that plan since buying that car back in 1987, I would still have more than $14,000 in that account, not counting interest. Hmmm, "Self Insurance", it's not a new concept, corporate America discovered this decades ago.

    Best Regards,
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    If I ever decide to start worrying about future unscheduled maintenance, I will simply put $2,000 into an account each time I purchase a new car, and then use that fund to draw against for said maintenance. Had I followed that plan since buying that car back in 1987, I would still have more than $14,000 in that account, not counting interest. Hmmm, "Self Insurance", it's not a new concept, corporate America discovered this decades ago.

    EXCELLENT!!!!!! Anytime someone offers any kind of extended warranty....I decline it. So far no regrets!
  • Did the extended warranty on the 01 GC EX extend it for an additional 3 years and an additional 75K miles? Was it called "Maximum Care" or "Added Care"? The Maximum Care is a more inclusive (and more expensive) warranty upgrade. Since the GC EX has power sliding doors and other extra options not on the T&C LX, it would cost more.

    We have the "Maximum Care" warranty. Daimlerchrysler did not offer the 7 yrs/100K warranty until after our van was built. (Our van according to it's VIN didn't qualify for it). The Maximum Care warranty is bumper to bumper. If we would have bought it new, I would have not bought an extended warranty. But, because we bought it used and the original warranty expired, it made better since to buy the extended warranty. We paid cash for our van and 2K under the Kelly Blue Book Value. (At time of purchase, we paid close to 16K to which it was worth over 18K). So far we have used the warranty twice in our over 2 yrs of ownership and have put over 28K miles on it. Once for both front power window regulator motors, which cost just under $500 and second on some front suspension work which cost about $500. We replace the original manufacture battery at the dealership for about $100. (Battery went dead during an oil change). The gas cap needed to be replaced, which coast $12 for the gas cap and over $75 for the engine diagnostic. (I could have saved the $75, if I went to an auto parts store that read codes for free.) We spent $145 for a complete trans. flush and fill. Oil changes cost us $9 including toping off all fluids. Bought a new tire for $160 because of old tire had a hole in the sidewall that was not repair able. So our van has been very reliable and I am very pleased with the reliability and our purchase. Sometime in the near future, I will be changing both cargo door gas lifters, which will coast about $30-40 each. Outside of that, everything is working just like it should. :)
  • greener1 - Could you please tell me what dealer you dealt with and where it is located? I want to refer my own dealer and my regional service manager to that dealer to get more information. All I have gotten so far is oozing concern for my satisfaction, but no concrete action. I may have to go to the head of Chrysler in America and let things trickle down from the top. Right now my 2005 Touring (one of the last 2005s built in June) is the noisest, coarsest, roughest riding piece of crap I have ever driven!
  • kfdmedkfdmed Posts: 130
    It would seem to me that the noisiest, coarsest, rough riding piece of crap would have you running out out the dealership after a test drive ... not buying it.
  • kfdmed - You state: "It would seem to me that the noisiest, coarsest, rough riding piece of crap would have you running out out the dealership after a test drive ... not buying it."

    I test drove two similarly equipped T&Cs in the months before I bought this one. I test drove this one for 6 miles before buying it. The one drawback in the purchase was that the location of the dealer prevented me from easily getting out onto a highway. The nearest highway stretch is I-4 just North of Orlando and I don't go on that road at all!

    The car was acceptably smooth and quiet when I bought it and for about 80 miles thereafter (half of that 80 was the 40 miles home - the dealer is not the closest to me, but the only one who had a car equpped reasonably close to the way I wanted.).

    After the problem developed and after two service techs from the selling dealer had told me they could hear and feel nothing unusual, I went out with the service manager in both my car and another T&C Touring off the dealer lot. We took the same normal test loop I
    took before buying. The other T&C was acceptably smooth and quiet in all respects, while mine made all the same sounds and demonstrated the same harshness it did on the roads close to home.

    The service manager then tried to tell me that my car sounded quieter than the other car.!That's when I knew I would have to get the regional service manager involved. The owner of the selling dealership was out of the country when I visited, but I have talked with him on the phone since and get nothing but the same unctuous concern - but no action.

    I bought my first new car (a 1959 Volvo PV544) in 1958, so I know enough to never buy anything before checking it out well.

    Or were you merely being facetious?
  • kfdmedkfdmed Posts: 130
    I suppose I was a being a bit facetious. I didn't realize the problems didn't surface until the odometer hit 80 miles. I must admit from time to time I seam to hear some strange faint noises that dont seem normal. I will point them out to my wife and she thinks I am hearing things. I may be overly sensitive/paranoid about noises coming from my vehicles. I do have a squeaking/clicking noise at cold start up. The service writer at the dealer said it was probably the valve lifters. He said it takes awhile for the oil to get up in there in these old fashioned push rod motors. If it persists I may leave it overnight at the dealer so they can hear it. But I am pretty sure I will get the "thats a normal noise, no need to be concerned" response.
  • I was hoping that current owners of 2005 T&C's could let me know how pleased (or not) they are with their purchase now that they have had their vans for a little while. I have noticed that 2005 seems to be a better year for the reliability ranking of this van. I am very interested in making a van purchase in the next few months and would appreciate the feedback.

    Also, I really like the Limited model. Are there any Limited owners out there that care to comment on their van with respect to comfort, reliability, and features? Thanks for the input.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    Speaking from a DGC SXT perspective, I am very pleased with mine! Excellent price, excellent quality and value. This is sorta my 3rd Dodge, the previous 2 were company vehicles. I have never had any major problems with any of them (can't even think of a minor one!). I love the Stow N Go seats, quiet ride and power rear hatch (std on Limited T&C).

    I'd hold off til end of year to buy though, DCX will have to bring back EP+, plus end of year cash etc....buyers expect it now.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    GC SXT offers more nice features for less money than either the Odd EX or Sienna LE although I feel the GC SXT interior looks cheaper than the Sienna LE. The Sienna lacks separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger that is standard on GC SXT while Automatic separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger is standard on the Odd EX.
    However, the Odd EX costs much more than the GC SXT or Sienna LE and does NOT have an overhead console that my wife and I love on our 2002 T&C LX.
    We are disappointed that the 2006 GC SXT interior looks cheaper than the interior of our lesser 2002 T&C LX and DaimlerChrysler took off the heating coils at base of windshield, lighting on some door controls, dual lights on visors, Instant Economy reading from Trip Computer that are on our 02 T&C LX clone of the 02 GC Sport. :sick:
  • aaron_taaron_t Posts: 301
    I have a 2005 T&C Touring and put 8500 miles on it. it is my first minivan for my first kid. For the relative cost with similar features compared to Ody EX, Sienne XLE, I am very happy. I love all the standard features (power sliders/hatch, tri-zone HVAC, trip computer, StoNGo) and my single option, the front center console. No dealer visits.

    I don't know how the 2005 can have a better reliability. There are only a few minor differences, like the tri-fold 2nd row storage covers that allow easier access to the bins. Pure random samples of customer ratings, and a limited set as well. 2006 DCX minivans have only been on the lots for 6 weeks.

    I highly reoommend the Signature Series which is a bargain of a package, or the DGC Special Edition is similar w/o NAV. IMHO, both are better values than the T&C Limited. For November there is $3500 in rebates on 2006 models, $4k on 2005 models. Also, DCX employees have two of their employee prices to give out to anyone. If you can find an employee that has not given his away yet, you can save at least $3k off MSRP, minus any rebates. Some dealers in Detroit are offering $1k-2k additional off, dealer cash or selling below employee price. I saw an ad for 2006 T&C Touring for $19.5k, Signature for $23k.
  • I read your posting and have a similar problem with my 2005 Town and Country. Rotors wear out every 4000 miles. The car is presently covered under warranty. We have replaced them three times already. The rotors wore out again at 17,000 miles for the fourth time in 16 months. Dealer said this problem is not under warranty. I am the only driver of this car and drive the same way I always have for the last 40 years and never had this type of problem with brakes in the past. The dealer is trying to say it is because of my driving habits that they wore out which is not the case. Are there others out there who are experiencing this type of problem with their Town and Country van? donnyb
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Your dealer is NOT responsible. My 2002 T&C has original pads and rotors at 37,200 miles and my daughter's 1999 GC has original rotors at 82,000 miles. I do not know if she has even had to replace the pads yet. ;)
  • dm3dm3 Posts: 25
    We were debating between a GC SXT and a Sienna LE8 with package #2. We ended up spending $1500 less on the GC and it comes with more stuff including, dual power sliding doors (not just passenger side which isn't very useful), power liftgate, alloy wheels, 4 wheel disc brakes, traction control.
    We owned a 2005 Sienna. I didn't think it bother me, but it just doesn't drive as well as the GC. The Sienna feels like a big lumbering van. We like the drivability of the GC much better.
    And gas mileage has been better w the GC.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    You also have separately controlled temperature for driver and front passenger in the GC SXT that is NOT available on any Sienna LE. ;)
    My wife and I feel that the 2006 Sienna LE looks and feels more luxurious inside than the 2006 GC SXT and also has the Instant Economy reading on the trip computer that is on our 02 T&C LX but which has been taken off DC minivan trip computers the past few years. :sick:
  • dm3dm3 Posts: 25
    I agree the Sienna interior looks and feels more luxurious. I also think the Sienna LE 8 passenger configuration is more flexible allows all sorts of seating options. The steering on the Sienna is also lighter which some folks might like better, might feel more luxurious. But to me it feels numb. I hate the brakes, not wild about the engine on the highway (very little spare torque) nor its gas mileage.
    The Sienna has instant economy which the GC does not, but I haven't missed it. The instant economy was never useful around here, slight hills. It would always read 99 going downhill and 5 going uphill, too hard to average. Its easier to reset the mileage on the GC so I can average over whatever I want.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Back in the 1980s when I lived in the Chicago area, I had two Chrysler products that had the Instant MPG setting on their trip computers. In that area I found them to be quite useful, at least from an intellectual curiosity point of view. When we got our 1998 GC Sport, it too had the Instant setting, however, since we lived in the NYC area, it proved to be largely useless. Now that I live in the rolling hills of southern New Hampshire, it is probably the only setting on the overhead display that I don't look at. As dm3 succinctly put it, 99 down and 5 up. Simply worthless. Needless to say, we don't miss that display mode on our 2003 GC ES.

    Best Regards,
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    Lack of Instant Economy reading and lack of lumbar support in driver seat of GC SXT will probably cause me to buy a 2006 Sienna LE instead of a 2006 GC SXT. ;) I always have my 02 T&C LX trip computer set on Instant Economy and scroll back and forth between it and the compass/outside temperature. ( I do check the overall average every hundred miles or so and at the end of the trip to compare with calculated mileage).
    Travelling at night, the Instant Economy reading is the only way I know if I am going uphill or down. Uphill it can read anywhere from 13 to 25 MPG and downhill anywhere from 40 to 99 MPG. On the level (without wind) it fluctuates between 32 and 33 MPG at 65-66 MPH.
    I am also disgusted with DC cheapening the minivans by deleting the lighted controls on the doors and heating coils at the base of the windshield that are contained on my bottom of the line 2002 Chrysler T&C LX. :sick:
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I have my 2005 Grand Caravan for almost a year, and have about 11,000 miles. I like it a lot, but also have so many things to dislike. I had to replace my entire steering system due to a strange noises whenever I turned the steering wheel. I also hate that bulky big steering wheel, Which Chrysler uses in many of their lineup. Toyota's and Honda's steering wheels are smaller, giving you a better feel which is more sporty and easier to handle.

    I also have some squeaks and rattles which drives me crazy, I just don't have the time to sit at the dealer to figure out where it comes from. Meanwhile, it drives me crazy.

    I don't like the automatic temp. controls. Too complicated to use, especially these days when it's cold in the morning, getting hot during the day, and again cold at night, so I have to hold all 3 buttons (3-zones) about half a minute every time to move it from 85 fahrenheit to 60 and back and forth every time. I loved my older cars with manual controls which you just slide or turn a knob from red to blue and the change is done.

    The controls are not the best, too many similar buttons on the audio system. I don't like the white gauges either. The car is much noisier than the 2003 T&C I drive at work. Mileage is also bad, 13.5 mpg average.

    I do like the 8-way power seats, the outside temperature; the driver information center; turning radius; audio controls on the steering wheel are excellent; and some other minor things.

    I still need back the old features from the pre-2002 models: illuminated controls for power door locks, windows, mirrors, and ignition key ring; lamps on the front doors, dual liftgate lamps (not one); windshield wiper de-icer; closable bins for the 3rd row; light in glove box; and more.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "I don't like the automatic temp. controls. Too complicated to use, especially these days when it's cold in the morning, getting hot during the day, and again cold at night, so I have to hold all 3 buttons (3-zones) about half a minute every time to move it from 85 fahrenheit to 60 and back and forth every time. I loved my older cars with manual controls which you just slide or turn a knob from red to blue and the change is done."

    Ummm, maybe I'm missing something, but we have one van with the old fashioned slide controls, one for the driver and one for the passenger, and another van which has the three zone climate control. Me? I'll take the three zone climate control any day.

    I have to ask, why on earth are you fiddling around with the temperature settings at all? If you get in your car and it's cold inside, it will warm up to an interior setting of say 72 no faster with the display set on anything warmer than that same 72. Said another way, it will take just as long to hit 72 when the controls show 85 as it would if you just left it alone in the first place. The same also holds true if it's 110 inside and you have the system set at 70, just leave it alone (or enable Recirc mode) and drive.

    Best Regards,
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    My thoughts exactly!! I was going to say why would you need to set the temp in the morning to 85 and in the evening to 60? The point of AUTOMATIC CLIMATE CONTROL is to set the temp on a comfortable 72degrees and let the system work. Shipo said it well!!
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    I feel for you as far as the rattles are concerned. That is one of my biggest pet peeves. Luckly, our '05 T&C has ZERO rattles in the 7500 miles we have driven.
  • samnoesamnoe Posts: 731
    I've never thought of that! I'll try it out. Thank you.

    One think I don't like, though, is that air is blowing all over, on the windshield (defroster) here and there, The system's mind is different than mine :)
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    Well, I guess I can see your frustration. But you can manually change the direction the air blows (face, mid and feet) by turning the system to manual setting. I do get a tad frustrated when it's cold outside and the system, when set in auto mode, directs the air to my feet when my upper body is chilly. But the system will warm up the cabin if given time. So far, we are really enjoying our van.
  • dm3dm3 Posts: 25
    We're very happy so far with our 2006 Grand Caravan SXT. Almost 3000 miles so far. We like it much better than our 2005 Toyota Sienna.
    Handles great, gets better gas mileage (23-27mpg), more functional.
    We've had a first problem develop, hasn't been back to the dealer yet. The power rear liftgate sometimes doesn't close on the 1st try. The gears aren't meshing right. Otherwise no problems.
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    My 2002 T&C LX HAS illuminated controls for power door locks, windows, mirrors but not the ignition key ring. It also has the heating coils at base of windshield, closable bins for 3rd row, dual lights on liftgate, dual lights on visors for front row, and NO squeeks or rattles. ;)
    The steering wheel is a whopping 1/8th inch larger diameter than Carl's 2006 Sienna LE and my sister's 2002 Ford Explorer which are each 14-7/8 inches in diameter while the T&C LX is 15 inches. I will measure the diameter of my son's 2001 Odd EX when I next see it.
    I prefer the complete set of audio controls on my T&C LX much better than the more complex controls on the Sienna and Odyssey where more than one function is on a control.
    Complicated automatic temperature controls? All Odd EX-L that I have test driven (2002, 2005, and 2006) have VERY complicated temperature and heater fan controls. :sick: If the GC SXT with automatic control is as complicated as the Odd EX-L, it is definitely not as easy to use as the manual Triple Zone Control on my 2002 T&C LX.
  • dennisctcdennisctc Posts: 1,168
    We like it much better than our 2005 Toyota Sienna.

    Why did you get rid of your Sienna? My father loves his 2003 Sienna and the Dealership (doubt he'll ever buy from another dealer).
  • dm3dm3 Posts: 25
    Problems started on the way home from buying the Sienna. We noticed a vibration which ended up taking the dealer 3 weeks to fix. In the process they disabled the car for a week. No one cared, not the dealer, not Toyota. Eventually they fixed it, things were ok. We noticed many little annoyances. What was bothering me most was how it drove. Feels like you're driving a big lumbering minivan. I kept saying I wouldn't let that bother me, after all it is a big minivan, but it did.
    4 weeks after they had fixed the problem we parked on a street and went to a festival. Upon returning the Sienna had been hit. I was eventually able to get it totalled. We rented a Grand Caravan SE for 3 weeks. Felt very base compared to our Sienna, but the more we used it the more we liked it.
    Went shopping for a new van, took a fresh look at Sienna, Odyssey and Caravan. We had never looked at the Caravan 1st time around. Ended up with a 2006 Grand Caravan SXT. I like the way it drives. Seating configuration isn't as flexible as the Sienna. We'll see over time if thats a problem or not.
  • I was trying to locate this info and could not find it on the Dodge website. Anyone know of the difference between these two years, if any?

    Thanks! :)
  • hansiennahansienna Posts: 2,312
    NONE that I have been able to find and I have looked very closely at both the 2005 and 2006 GC SXT....unless you count the lowering of the power from 215 HP and 245 Lb-ft torque initially listed for the 2005 GC SXT 3.8L V6 and the 205 HP and 240 Lb-ft listed for the 3.8L V6 in the 2006 brochure. :cry:
    The base price increased periodically for the 2005 GC SXT from $ 26,315 + $ 680 Destination ( $26,995) to $ 26,895 + $ 730 Destination ( $ 27,625) while the 2006 GC SXT was $ 27,710 + $ 730 Destination ($ 27,830) at introduction.
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