Dodge Caravan Transmission Problems

by Geoffrey St. Marie
itstillruns article image
Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images

As with most other auto manufacturers, some Dodge models are subject to consistent or sporadic problems. The Dodge Caravan is no different. The Caravan has seen repeated transmission problems in several of its model years.

The 2003 Caravan

The transmission problem seen most in the 2003 Caravan is related to its transmission solenoid. Symptoms of this issue usually manifest themselves as difficulty shifting. The difficulty usually is not constant but episodic. Including parts and labor, repairs should not exceed $400.

The Ultra-Drive

In 1989, Dodge Caravans were equipped with a new form of electronic transmission called the Ultra-Drive. While some overall improvements had accompanied the new transmission, it was fraught with other problems, especially in shifting. Although the Ultra-Drive was rehashed in 1992, auto experts suggest it still can be quirky, much like the solenoid problem encountered above.


Before 1989, the Caravan had many transmission problems. According to the Center for Auto Safety, these problems may have been responsible for hundreds of accidents that caused a recall order. The Ultra-Drive itself was so problematic in its first form that Lee Iacocca had to confront Consumer Reports' charge that the vehicle was a "lemon."

More Articles

article divider