My Dodge Caravan Won't Start

by Melanie Fleury
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The Caravan is a minivan manufactured by Chrysler and sold under the Dodge brand. In 2010 and 2011, re-engineered versions of the Caravan will be debuting as the fifth generation of Caravans. The minivan, as with any vehicle, can sometimes have trouble starting. Some of these issues are common to all vehicles, but there are some problems that have been diagnosed as Caravan specific. If your minivan is having trouble starting, there are a few things you can do to diagnose the problem before taking it to a professional.

Step 1

Put key in ignition. If the Caravan is not starting because your key is not turning properly, your steering wheel may be locked. Gently wiggle the key back and forth while turning the steering wheel.

Step 2

Turn the key to "ON" position, but do not crank the car. Turn on the headlights or interior lights. If they do not work, the battery of the Caravan is drained or dead and will need to be charged or replaced.

Step 3

Listen for noises coming from the engine when you attempt to start the car. No noise at all can indicate a faulty ignition switch. A clicking noise is evidence of a faulty starter. If the engine starts for a moment before shutting off, you may hear a knocking noise. This can indicate a problem in the fuel line and components, or with the gas in the Caravan. The Dodge Caravan was issued a recall in 2003 for vehicles that were manufactured between 1995 to 2000 for leaking fuel lines.

Step 4

Check the fluid levels in the car. Although the Caravan does have a gas gauge, it can be faulty. Adding in a gallon of gas and then trying to start the car will indicate whether this is the problem. Check oil levels as well as coolant and transmission fluids. The lack of fluid or low fluid levels can cause the engine to seize and not start. It can also cause extreme damage to the engine if driven in this condition.

Step 5

Remove spark plugs in the Caravan and pull wire off of the plugs. Touch the wire to a metal surface. If a spark does not occur, the spark plugs are faulty and are not igniting the Caravan properly.

Step 6

Replace fuel filters. The Caravan's produced between 2002 and 2003 were found to have problems with the fuel filters. The malfunctioning of the filter can cause the engine to stall and not start back again. If this is determined to be the problem, the Dodge company will replace the fuel filter.

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