really awful
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
87,700 miles
Total Complaints:
19 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (11 reports)
  2. replace on board computer (4 reports)
  3. required a new ecm (2 reports)
  4. reset/reprogram computer (2 reports)
2003 Dodge Caravan engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Dodge Caravan Owner Comments

problem #19

Jan 212015

Caravan 3.3

  • Automatic transmission
  • 180,000 miles


OK, here is the thing, while driving down the road damn van dies. Thought that the fuel pump had just taken a crap, wrong answer. Get the van towed to the house and start checking fuses and wiring, had a blown fuse, changed it, still don't get ignition when starting the van, wants to start but just can't quite get there.

Well, have been doing some internet surfing trying to figure out what is wrong and I found out that this is a very common problem with the 2003 Dodge Caravan. Why hasn't Chrysler/Dodge Corporation tried to even begin to help all of those whom are out here with their product that doesn't run, are we suppose to go buy another one. Wrong answer. My husband and I live on $1100.00 a month, we don't have a lot of extra money laying around. We are poor so what happens now is we walk because we sure can't use the van.

If anyone has an idea how to fix this without costing me a leg and both arms, please let me know, would greatly appreciate it. But I will never buy anything made by Chrysler/Dodge again because, believe it or not, but our Buick Century does the same thing, will die out while going down the road but it will start again after a few minutes. So this problem has been on going since at least the early to mid 90"s, why hasn't this problem been solved . I know why because the corporation doesn't give a damn about their customers, just about the bottom line, the ALMIGHTY DOLLAR> Chrysler/Dodge, go screw yourself, no more dollars from me.

- clarkhumpme, Gilmer, TX, US

problem #18

Oct 152014

Caravan SE 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 129,303 miles

I got my 2003 Dodge Caravan from a dealer named Bears Auto at 579 Norridgewock ME 04937 on 10/12/14. It died on 10/16/14. It had a new sticker on the van from LINWOOD & SON 435 MERCER RD NORRIDGEWORK ME 04937 PHONE 431-1135 CELL 634-5616.


I will give you a update later after I make some calls to the powers that be. I'm going to try and get the license of the garage that put the sticker on my van and going to sue the s o b who sold me the van that only lasted 4 days. It had 14 day plates. I'm hoping I have something to work with. If anyone knows about a law that I can use please let me know, my phone is 207-861-2904, my e-mail Is gav67892003@yahoo.com. Thanks for any help anyone can give me. Rod Huff

- Rodney Sr H., Waterville, ME, US

problem #17

Jun 162014

Caravan Se 4 Door 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 127,000 miles

I own a 2003 dodge caravan this is my second first was a 2001 it was great 230,000 miles when it was wrecked. got another even though kids are grown and I loved the other one. Problem go out one day to start vehicle turns over few times starts. Going down highway at 70 mph just quits. Drift off alongside road wait 10 minutes it starts. get 30 miles down road quits no warning try 2 hours to start will not start. have towed home cost 25.00 insurance paid 50 dollars. tow truck driver tries to start .starts 3 times. I get home won't start. check it it is firing. ether makes it run so I change fuel pump 170.00 dollars. Runs 2 days will not start, now not firing. replace cam and crank sensor 75.00 $ coil pack 57.00 $ nothing . have towed to mechanic 100.00 $ mechanic says PCM. From Dodge 500.00$ cannot get used one anywhere even though if I could it would have to be reprogrammed to my vehicle. a place online sales used ones they do not have this year listed they are on national back order HUH!!! going to have van towed back home another 100.00$ plus mechanics charges not sure what that will be. I would say junk going to cut my losses. totally unbelievable

Update from Apr 30, 2015: I cannot believe this is not a major safety problem. stalling when going down the interstate and losing all power. It is a very dangerous situation.

- sharonwv, Hundred, WV, US

problem #16

Dec 202013

Caravan Sport 3.8L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 110,000 miles


This is continually stopping, even while driving on a freeway, its a wonder that nobody has been killed, the Chrysler dealer cant fix and does not know what is wrong. Had 2 fixes new ECM now every time through the car wash it cuts out every puddle, any slush cuts out. an ex Chrysler Mechanic bypassed some electrical wire $250.00 cost, I had the underbody sprayed with a sealant, worked a couple of times but breaks down every time. Cuts out for no reason, no one knows why. Why cant Dodge fix this problem, will it take a number of deaths and law suits to get a fix. If I could afford to get rid of it I would and it spends more time off the road being "fixed" than being driven . Perhaps I can trade it in for another vehicle, down side it then becomes another persons nightmare.

How about a class action folks!!!

- Charles K., Niagara Falls, NY, US

problem #15

Mar 302012

Caravan SXT 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

This problem is recurring we get it fixed and poof it wont start again, we have replaced every thing that would be affected by the electrical problems. we had paid for 3 new batteries cause they were all drained to the point that they wouldn't hold a charge after 4 months. then they said it was the wire harness, then the replaced the fuse box and all fuses, they had to replace the ignition, then they said it was the starter, now they said everything was fixed after 2800 dollars in repairs, but the issue is still on going, after a day of not running the van wouldn't restart, we have to jump the van daily just to get it to run, it no longer stops in mid drive but it dies over night even when not running. today we found out that the alternator isn't charging the battery and it is only putting out 30% power to the battery and then draining the battery over night, so now we have to pout out another load of money we do not have. This van is like a dam money pit house.

- bikerman, Union, MO, US

problem #14

Jun 222010

Caravan 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 38,000 miles

I bought my 03 dodge caravan used from a dealer. It ran great for the first 3 months then one day just wouldn't start with no warning that anything was wrong. Had it towed home and checked the battery and starter both were working fine. So i had it towed to the dealer that sold it to me they "looked" at it for 8 days. On day 3 i was called and told it was a bad battery so i agrued with them that it was good and went picked the battery up brought it to auto zone for a test. it tested bad so i purchased a new battery had the dealer put the new battery in still no go for my van. then on day 8 i was told by the dealership i need to pick my van up they had no clue to what was wrong with it. Had it towed home my husband decided he was gonna take another look at it. It started finally i thought! i was wrong with in seconds it die. We then tried to start it again with nothing like before. We gave up for a while. about 3 days later i thought just for the hell of it i would see if it would start it did but die soon after but wouldn't start again so we noticed a pattern start it let it die wait 3 days and it will start again. Not sure whats going on but any suggestions would be grateful. i will never again buy a dodge product

- Lindsay G., Sulphur, LA, US

problem #13

Mar 012010

Caravan 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 109,365 miles


thanks for the help. I never had this kinda problems with a vehicle. I have owned 2 of these so far, this will be my last.

- Scott E., springdale, AR, Pacific Islands (US)

problem #12

Jan 022010

Caravan SE 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

After I read all of the complaints here about the same problem that I experienced I decide to check a little further because I remembered resetting the computer on a 1990 Chrysler TC that I owned a few years ago. What I discovered was that the computer on the Caravan can be reset very easily saving you tons of money. Step 1 - disconnect the negative battery cable. Step 2 - while it is disconnected turn the ignition key to the start position and hold for 30 seconds. Step 3 - reconnect the cable and the car should start. Step 4 - drive the car for 25-50 miles while the computer reprograms itself. In my case some of the dash lights were doing crazy stuff for a while but eventually, while driving, they came back to normal.

All of this happened because the kid that installed my new battery at Sears was not aware that the computer should be reprogrammed and for that matter neither did I.

- realpaine, Fort Lauderdale, FL, US

problem #11

Dec 082009

Caravan SXT 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 106,000 miles

I have 2003 Dodge Caravan we bought it new, we have had no problems until now. Yesterday my husband went outside to warm it up, came back in and then when he went out again the van had shut off. So then he then left maybe drove about 2 miles and the van stalled while he was driving about 30mph. He sat there for about 5 mins and then it started again. He came back home and turned off van. Well it would not crank again. It had all power but would not turn over, so we called a mobile mechanic. He came out we bypassed stuff, and the starter would turn over, checked all relays and fuses all were good. He hooked it up to see what code it was putting out, but it did not put one out. So the mechanic left like I dont know what is wrong with this van. Also there is no fire either. So now it is sitting at a shop, I believe it is the PCM. I am just so pissed because after researching this there are thousands of complaints of this happening. Come on Dodge if the part is on back order nation wide don't you think, this is your problem to fix. I hope people will go to the National Highway saftey site and start putting in their complaints on this. As soon as I get my van back from shop I am going to do it. I have bought dodges my whole life, but with two dodge cars breaking down on me in a month the next car I buy will not be from them.

- Amie B., Deltona, FL, US

problem #10

Nov 242004

Caravan SE V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 2,500 miles

This vehicle was purchased for my wife from Archer Dodge in Texas. 3 months into owning the vehicle we are driving home on a very hot day and it started to rain. We got home after driving a distance of about 5 miles or less, shut the vehicle off and went in the house. After about an hour we went back out to go somewhere and the van just would not start. No noise, nothing. We then called the dealer to come and pick it up as we had, according to the dearer who sold us this brand new van, we had the best warranty you could have. They sent a tow truck to get the van and when he showed up, he raised the vehicle about 30 degrees onto the tow truck and towed it about 8 miles. I am sharing this information as it's very important to remember. It was also noted as one of the hottest days in Houston, Texas history. Again, I am noting this as it's very important to know when you hear the claim that Chryslter and the Dealer made about what happened to our van. The next day, I get a phone call from the dealer telling me that the problem was with the PCM computer. They claim, and this is the part you need to remember, they claimed that it was flooded. Now if you look online at any almanac, there was not flood on planet earth within a week of this happening. The dealer also claimed that they had pictures of standing water on the engine block. I am just a simple mechanical engineer and don't understand the physics behind this, but how is it possible for there to be standing water on an engine block that was elevated and towed 8 miles in 110 degree plus temperature. I am contacting Ripley's Believe it or not over this one. Anyway, I asked the dealer for a copy of this picture of standing water and to this day, have never seen it. I fought with both the dealer and Chryster for about 2 weeks over this to no end. Finally, I told the dealer, "Dodge designed the vehicle, Dogde manufactured the vehicle, Dodge warrantied the vehicle that they will not cover and most importantly, Dodge financed the vehicle. So tell Dodge and Chryslter Financial to go screw themselves. I went out that week and bought my wife a new vehicle. Now it gets real good! Chrysler then repossessed the vehicle and sold it. When they sold it, they never disclosed to the new owner that this was a flooded vehicle. By law they are required to. This tells me one of two possible things for sure. Either I was lied to or the new purchaser and owner of this vehicle was lied to. Now, 4 years later after receiving about 500 calls from Chrysler trying to get me to pay for their piece of garbage that they would not cover. My credit shows this and it's affecting my credit score. I called Chrysler and spoke with a man there that looked up the vehicles complete history from the VIN number I supplied him with and he told me, Mr. Martin, something here is not right. You have been lied to. There is nothing on the vehicles history report that indicates it's ever been in a flood. I then called the dealer, Archer Dodge and spoke to one of the owners son's and he tells me after looking up the vehicles history that yes I had in fact been wronged and lied to in this and he suspects it's Chryslter that lied. He told me that the vehicle has been sold by Chryslter as a fleet vehicle and nothing on the vehicle history shows it was ever in a flood. No, the vehicle was never in a flood, which is exactly what I told them from the start of this. However they denied to fix my car that should have been covered by this warranty that's so good money could not buy. They refused to pay for the damage because they claimed it was flooded and now I find out they sold the vehicle to a new owner and never told them it was a flooded vehicle. Again, if they refused my warranty because it was flooded, they, by law are required to inform the new owner it was a flooded vehicle. So, to make a long story short, someone, either Chrysler or the Dealer, Archer Dodge has lied and committed fraud. If not to me, to the person who purchased this vehicle. Now here is the ironic part to all of this. After Chrysler refuses to take care of this problem and repossess my van, they turn around and ask, for a second time, for my tax paying dollars to bail them out of a bad financial problem. I don't understand this. How is it possible for a company to do business like this in the United States of America. They are a bunch of crooks and the government is empowering them to steal from more people by giving them debt relief that they, Chryslter refuses to give to it's customers themselves. Think about it!

- Martin M., Richmond, TX, US

problem #9

Nov 052008

Caravan Sport 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


Car would not start or turn over. Towed to local dodge dealer. Told me they had to replace the PCM (computer). $1100. They charged me $200 for diagnostics test. I said thanks, but I will replace it myself. Took the car off and purchased a new PCM for $200 and installed it and it would not crank. Took the car back to the same dealer and told them that the problem was not with the PCM. They said that I gave them the wrong PCM. So I went out and purchased another one for $300. took ot over and installed it and then they said it was another wrong one. I had the folks who sold it to me to get on the phone with the dealer and they were straighten out. Then the dealer finally said that it was the BCM computer not the PCM computer and to replace it new would be $525.00. I said no thanks and then took to to another dodge dealer who is now working on it and I took them a rebuilt BCM and paid only $99.00 for it. I am waiting for this new dealer to give me their bad news. So far, this stupid dealer would have charged me $1100 for a part that was never broken. If I had not challenged their work, I would have been out over $1600 for this fix when all it needed was a $99.00 part installed.

- firewheeler, Garland, TX, US

problem #8

Aug 222008

Caravan SXT 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 99,419 miles

Van would from time to time refuse to start. I would get instrumentation working but nothing from the starter. If I fooled around with for some time it would eventually start. Gradually this issue got worse until left me stranded on vacation. It was determined that my on board comp died and needed to be replaced...................... $800 later!

- Doug M., Toronto, Ontario, Canada

problem #7

Aug 082008

Caravan SXT 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 70,000 miles

Vehicle would not start after running fine. Tried to jump start the vehicle with no luck. Let it sit about 4 hours, came back and it started. Thought the starter was going out but I only wish I were so lucky. Turned out to be the computer. The part itself is listed on the Dodge website at $300 but it is behind the left front light and requires the dealership program for your vehicle. Local mechanic can not complete without going to dealership. Second major issue with the vehicle out of warranty. It's a goner and I will not be purchasing another Dodge.

- smithtx, Houston, TX, US

problem #6

Jul 252007

(reported on)

Caravan 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 61,500 miles

Was in 90 plus degree temperature. Pulled in and parked to pick up wife and when I tried to start it there was nothing - no solenoid clicking, no grinding, nothing... it was dead. Then I waited a while (went to find mechanic - with no luck!!), Came back and tried it again and it started. Drove a few blocks and it died in traffic. Waited about 15 minutes trying with no response or anything. Then it started again like nothing was wrong. Started driving again and it died in traffic again!! Again, after about 20 minutes it came back to life again. This time as I was able to get some air moving through I finally made it back to the house.

Need to get some direction where to look for the problem!!! It doesn't show on the computer readout!!

- Jerry C., Woodland Park, CO, US

problem #5

Feb 052008


  • Automatic transmission
  • 43,496 miles

My problem is intermittent. The engine will just stop while driving while everything else appears to be ok. Sometimes it won't start. All the lights and accessories come on but there is nothing from the engine - no cranking - not even a click. It is not the battery.

- Leroy K., Gander, NL, Canada

problem #4

Sep 072007

(reported on)

Caravan SXT 3.3L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 86,000 miles

Van will not start after turning off . It has all power, all lights but motor will not turn over. A P shows up in odom. then shows the word DONE and will start. But then dies again, I crossed the starter sol. over and engine turns over but wont start. I also noticed when I turn on the switch, if I hear a humming noise under the hood the van will start. But if no hum, no start. THIS IS A PAIN IN THE ASSPRIN, AND HAS LEFT MYSELF AND KIDS STRANDED. NO MORE DODGE. I GIVE UP. BOUGHT A CHEVY, BUT STILL STUCK WITH D*M VAN, WARRANTY OVER GO FIGURE

- Octavia R., Cosby, TN, US

problem #3

Aug 012007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 56,432 miles

The first time it wouldn't start back up after having it off for 5 minutes. Once it was towed it started right back up (about an hour later, in the dealership parking lot).

The next day after driving it about 10 miles two different times and having it shut off numerous times and then having it parked for about 45 minutes, I got in and started it no problem. Two blocks later it died completely. About 1/2 hour later when the tow truck showed up, it started without any issues.

Weird thing is the lights, ac and everything else work just fine!! It doesn't even seem as if there is a drain on them. When I turn the ignition, it doesn't do anything, no clicks, no "starting", nothing!!!

Also both times it wouldn't start/stalled, it was on an incline. The first time was in a drive way where the front was up higher and the second time was going down a hill. And when it was started it was on a flat surface.

It has been at the dealership since last night and of course it is not happening there. They did hook it up to the machine since my check engine light came on last night when it died, but there were not any messages that came out.

- Kelly H., Grand Rapids, MI, US

problem #2

Jun 192007

(reported on)

Caravan Sport 3.3L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,127 miles

What the vehicle does is: It will start fine (sometimes) when it is cold. Drive it for a while, then turn it off - and it won't restart. There is nothing - no solenoid clicking, no grinding, nothing... it is like it died. Then you wait a while, sometimes a few hours, and then try it again and it will start. It has also died while driving, and that is really annoying, and can be very dangerous. I am having a mechanic look at it now, and he is pretty baffled. We'll have to see what the outcome is. Stay tuned...

- Ranney D., Polson, MT, US

problem #1

Mar 292007

(reported on)


  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,000 miles


- Audrey G., Greenville, MI, US

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