Buying a Used Caravan

edhopperedhopper Member Posts: 7
edited March 2014 in Dodge
I am in the market for a 2002 - 2003 Caravan SE. I've seen a few in my price range advertized, but they have high mileage. 80k to 100k. This seems like a lot for a 3 or 4 year old minivan.
Any rules-of-thumb on how much is to much when buying a Caravan?


  • badgerfanbadgerfan Member Posts: 1,565
    Go click on the button on the top of the screen and you will find a lot of info on used car pricing. That, and there are other sources such as a Kellys Blue Book website as well that will give you some idea of reasonable starting points for used car prices.
  • edhopperedhopper Member Posts: 7
    Sorry, my question wasn't clear.
    I have researched prices, that's not my question.
    What I want to know if a 4 year old Caravan with 80k is worth buying.
    For instance I would not buy a small 4cyl. car with over 100k. The engine will probably start having problems soon.
    So if I buy a 2002-2003 Caravan with 80k to 100k, would I just be asking for trouble?
    After all, that's 25k+ a year.
    This is info Caravan owners might know that doesn't show up in places like Edmunds or Kelly or
    I hope the forum members can help.
  • ClairesClaires Chicago areaMember Posts: 1,222
    Hi, Ed,

    Have you checked the Minivan Shopping discussion?


    Need help getting around? [email protected] - or send a private message by clicking on my name.

    Tell everyone about your buying experience: Write a Dealer Review

  • 97xpresso97xpresso Member Posts: 249
    That is a lot of miles. What are you planning to spend?
  • edhopperedhopper Member Posts: 7
    $7000 to $8000
  • harpitectharpitect Member Posts: 4
    I just bought a used 2001 Grand Caravan Sport with 99,000 miles on it. It looks, feels, and rides like a brand-new vehicle. It obviously was garaged and babied. I spent a month running Carfax reports, and got a clean history for this van. You can run an unlimited number of reports for a month for $25. My inspection of the van showed it be even better than what the report indicated. I usually have a mechanic check out a prospective vehicle, but circumstances prevented that this time.

    Having a 1999 GC SE, which I bought when it was year old with 47,000 miles on it and which has been an excellent vehicle, gave me a certain amount of confidence when shopping this time. The '99 now has over 142,000 miles on it and still looks and runs great.

    I'd advise taking your time and waiting until you're fully satisfied before buying. Use Carfax to check history. It's not unusual these days for used cars to have 20K per year or more on the odometer. Remember that you're buying a used car, and more than likely it will need some repair work. The trick is to minimize that factor.

    If you're careful, you can find good vehicles, even with high mileage. In 28 years of buying used cars, I've only had one that I regret buying. The important thing is to do your homework. On the one I regret buying, I ignored some of my research results and ended up paying for it down the road. Paying attention to what you learn about a given model will usually point you in the right direction.

  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    I second that. We bought our 01 DGC EX with 37K back in Sep. 2003. We now have over 78K and she runs very well. Everything works like it should. No engine, trans. or electrical problems. The only things that had to be replaced, that wasn't regular maintence, was both driver and passenger power motors and regulators right after purchase. Also, this year we had the latch changed on the power liftgate and they upgraded the vechicle computer with current software. We purchased the Maximumcare Extended Warranty thru Daimlerchrysler to 75K or May 2007. I love our van and she still looks and feels new both inside and outside. We too did a carfax report on all vechicles being considered, which proved to be very helpful. Good luck. :shades:
  • charles23charles23 Member Posts: 5
    difference b/t sport, ES, and there are three more I can't remember. What's w/ that? What size engine has less transmission problems? What about horsepower, is that really important? What would I look for?

  • automan12automan12 Member Posts: 10
    I'm planning to buy a used Dodge Caravan or Grand Caravan about 2001 to 2003. I was just wondering, if anyone has some tips what to look for. I mean, I worked as a mechanic for VW before, but I never worked on Chrysler - what are the Caravan common problems? Any tell-tale signs of potential tranny problems? Which engine is better and why? Caravan vs. Grand Caravan?
  • 97xpresso97xpresso Member Posts: 249
    Some say stay away from the 2001 (1st year of 4th generation), but I have a 2001 Caravan that has been very dependable. If you don't need the extra space, why get a Grand? Both engines are bullet-proof, but you can't get the 3.8 with the short wheel base. My SWB with the 3.3 is powerful enough. The transmissions have improved since 2000 when the factory fill was changed to ATF+4. Make sure that if a potential vehicle purchase had transmission maintenance, it was done at the dealer, or clearly states that ATF+4 was used. Can't stress this enough! Manual states no ATF service required under normal usage, but I would change it at least every 50,000 miles. Others have reported problems with pwr windows and AC issues, but like I said, my 2001 with 60,000 mile has been nearly flawless. Relativly easy to work on too.
  • masterpaul1masterpaul1 Member Posts: 421
    Well for starters, the Sport, EX and ES all have different features. The styling on the inside is a little different between the three. I suggest you visit and look at each model specifications and features and compare. We have the 01 DGC EX which came standard with the 3.8L engine, disc brakes all around, power driver seat, power rear passenger door and lift gate, 4 AC outlets, removable center counsel, wiper heat pack for front and back windows, cruise control, ABS, front air bags and (optional side air bags), cassette, CD player with equalizers, three zone air/heat, second row captain chairs and third row 50/50 bench, low speed traction control, power front and rear vent windows, power front outside mirrors with defrost, over head counsel with sun glass compartment and outside temp. display, keyfob that controls all doors, we have the heavy duty alternator that comes with the tow package and a 600 CC battery, dark tented windows in the rear and an (optional) cargo organizer.

    The only problems that I have seen on ours is that the links and bushing in the front need replacing every few years. (Not sure if this is normal wear because of the rough weather and streets here in Chicago.) We will be replacing the water pump soon from a very small leak that appeared after having the cooling system flushed. Out side of that, she's been very reliable. We have over 83K now. :shades:
  • rbbarthorbbartho Member Posts: 14
    Caravans have had problems with Transmissions. I have a 1997 and change the fluid every two years. Also check the blogs for serpentine belt problems These caravan have been notorious for throwing belts and they are expensive to replace. I replaced mine 6 times in 7 year until I rently heard of a good aftermarket fix. Other thabn that They are good cars awith nice features.
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