Chrysler Sliding Door Problemsby James Highland
While sliding doors on a minivan can develop various problems, Chrysler vans have suffered from two particular malfunctions over the years. Neither condition has led to any known injuries, and Chrysler quickly addresses problems that could have serious consequences. But Chrysler owners should be aware of these problems to get full benefit from an otherwise excellent vehicle.
Sliding door problems range from dangerous conditions to small nuisances. Two problems in particular have received widespread attention. In 2001, most significantly, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed a series of crash tests on Chrysler minivans that genarally had positive results but noted concern over rear sliding doors often opening during collision. Less seriously, users report that the automatic powered-door closing feature on any model commonly stops working, requiring doors to be shut manually.
The most common Chrysler van model reported to have sliding door problems is the Town and Country. However, all Chrysler minivans have been subject to recalls due to serious issues. Vans made in 2001 were most severely affected, but vehicles from any production year since the 1990s are frequently cited for other recurring sliding-door malfunctions. Because of the diverse range of affected models over many years, consumers should be vigilant about sliding door problems on any Chrysler minivan.
Key cylinder-to-bell crank links were responsible for sliding doors opening during collision in the 2001 safety tests. Minivans without a keyhole in their sliding doors did not open during collision. When powered doors do not close on their own, it is usually because the door's motor or latch is not operating smoothly. Rarely is this problem due to a power-related issue; the door almost always makes an audible response to the power switch, but fails to operate after receiving this signal.
Following the NHTSA's crash tests, Chrysler responded to safety concerns by offering free replacements for certain sliding door components responsible for the malfunctions. Owners could take their minivans to any Chrysler dealer and receive the recommended repair. For powered doors that no longer close automatically, motor repair is often necessary, but owners can first inspect the door's track for any damage or objects.
Chrysler's 2008 minivans had various problems with their sliding doors soon after they became available. Users suffered a diverse range of inconveniences thought to result from significant design changes in the new model that were not fully tested. None of the problems affected overall safety, but were a frustrating nuisance. Many consumers have learned to put off the purchas of a new model Chrysler van, from any year, until enough feedback is available on the effectiveness of new designs. In cases where Chrysler makes major changes, the following-year model is a better choice, as the kinks have been worked out.
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