really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,815 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

1997 Dodge Grand Caravan engine problems

engine problem

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1997 Dodge Grand Caravan Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #36

Dec 152016

Grand Caravan

  • 271,000 miles


Serpentine belt comes off while driving in snow causing loss of power steering on slippery road surfaces. Loss of vehicle control and ability to regain vehicle control was compromised by lack of steering assist causing the vehicle to leave the roadway. I contacted Chrysler and they said there is no recall for my vehicle.this was a very dangerous situation as a school bus was near my vehicle when this incident happened. This issue needs to be addressed and a recall should be mandated.

- Mendon, MI, USA

problem #35

Apr 172006

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. While driving approximately 25 mph, the vehicle completely shut off. The contact checked under the hood and noticed that the serpentine belt was disconnected. The vehicle had to be towed to the contact's residence. The vehicle has not been taken to the dealer. The current mileage was 100,000 and failure mileage was 85,000.

- Tomahawk, WI, USA

problem #34

Jul 142007

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 126,000 miles
This is the fourth time in the last several months that my serpentine belt fell off while turning a corner. I have a 97 Dodge Grand Caravan sport SE (3.3). The first two times it was raining and the second two times were in good weather. Each time it was quite a jerk when the power steering went out on the turn. What if this had happened on the highway when I wouldn't have been able to control the vehicle"?? obviously, this is quite a hassle having to get the car towed each time and having the mechanic put the belt back on and look for the problem, and not being able to trust my vehicle anymore. My mechanic replaced the tensioner, belt, and pulleys with the gates mv conversion kit. He was aware of this being a common problem. I also read online about all the other people with the same problem and how this seemed to be the only fix that worked. The Dodge dealership here said they were not aware of this problem! this is a very dangerous problem and should be corrected by Chrysler. Do people have to die before Chrysler will take responsibility for this design flaw and provide this fix for everyone"

- Decatur, IL, USA

problem #33

Nov 172005

Grand Caravan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles


I have a 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan. In February 2005 we had the serpentine belt replaced, and all parts related to it adjusted and cleaned. This was done due to a horrible screeching sound. In November of that year the serpentine belt came off during a period of cold & rainy weather, and left me without steering or cooling fans. I was almost in an accident because I could not steer. The belt was replaced. Six weeks later, again-in cold and rainy weather. It happened again, and today, 3 weeks later, yes, cold and rainy weather it has happened for a third time. My garage is set to replace the steering fluid pump, thinking it might be leaking on it, the belt, tensioner and a pulley. Hoping it will fix the problem, this will be a $500 bill at least. However, after much research I have found this to be a regular problem for this make and model, crossing several model years. I contacted Dodge, who told me there is nothing they can do about it without a recall, but agreed there have been technical service bulletins (tsbs) regarding the problem. I told them I did research on these tsbs, as well as various websites where auto mechanics post, and there has not been a single repair that works in each vehicle. This should be a huge safety concern. This belt controls the steering, the alternator and the fans. This is a mini-van, made for families. I am fearful of allowing my three children to ride in this vehicle now, knowing that even after the repairs coming up this week, the problem may not be fixed. Due to the severity of the danger which could occur, losing steering on a major highway in poor conditions, I believe this issue should become a recall.

- Pottsville, PA, USA

problem #32

Aug 212005

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
1) driving normally through water several inches deep - certainly not an unusual situation considering the amount of afternoon storms we have received this summer in middle Georgia. 2) serpentine belt slips from pulleys causing lose of power steering, water pump, air conditioning, alternator. On first occasion and with great difficulty, my wife was able to pull over and avoid a collision. 3) belt appeared undamaged but I replaced belt with new approved belt. The same thing happened on August 22, 2005 while I was driving on Georgia 87 (rural highway) in a severe downpour/thunderstorm. The rain and storm conditions were so loud I did not notice the temperature gage, indicator lights and warning-buzzer warning me of some engine failure. I was able to drive to an intersection and pull out of traffic, again with great difficulty due to power steering failure. Ultimately, people will lose lives over this issue if they have not already. There are many of these issues posted all over the internet. Please pursue this issue so someone's life can be saved.

- Macon, GA, USA

problem #31

May 102005

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • 80,000 miles
Terrible squealing noise in belt area. Dealer charged ~$250 for belt and tensioner replacement and noise was greatly reduced. Several years later the noise returned and grew even worse. Replaced the worn belt and noise was greatly reduced for about two weeks. After the noise returned, removed the belt and checked all pulleys - found no problems. Replaced tensioner and idler pulleys anyway (~$20 each from dealer) and reinstalled belt. Noise was reduced for about two days. Took van to dealer who said that it was the tensioner and were surpised that it had lasted as long as it did. I purchased and installed a new alternator, power steering pump and tensioner. The noise was greatly reduced, but returned full force within a couple of days. In desperation I turned to belt dressing as a possible solution since I had cleaned all of the pulleys prior to belt reinstallation. When the belt dressing was sprayed on the tensioner pulley the sound disappeared for a few seconds, then returned. Belt dressing had small or no effect when sprayed at other locations along the serpentine belt.

- Houston, TX, USA

problem #30

Feb 072005

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,995 miles


1997 Dodge Grand Caravan 3.0 6 cyl belt came off in rain storm left me stranded and missed work the belt was in one piece and got it home and had a new belt installed and pulley upper front non grooved. Again belt came off bran new belt new belt put on again belt now squealing in the back belt tension arm nor squealing belt rides the pulley L/R about 1/4 inch than back. It seems to me.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #29

Feb 112005

Grand Caravan

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
Serpentine belt slips off idler pully when driving through standing water resulting in loss of power steering.

- Culver City, CA, USA

problem #28

Aug 132004

Grand Caravan

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,000 miles
Serpentine belt keeps coming off each time the vehicle goes over a puddle of water. Vehicle has to be towed each time when this occurs.

- Slaughter, LA, USA

problem #27

Jul 282004

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,171 miles
Consumer complained that the serpentine belt slipped off intermittently when driving in wet weather or on wet road condition. It appeared that water was getting under the engine, and causing the serpentine belt to slip off the pulley. Dealer and manufacturer were notified.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #26

May 022003

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • 77,715 miles


While backing out of the driveway, the consumer heard a loud bang. The vehicle would not steer. The pulley broke off, causing the drive belt to fall onto the street. There was another incident where the consumer was making a turn and lost all power steering. The consumer witnessed another vehicle with the same make and model experiencing the exact same problem. (the consumer's alternate address: P.O. Box 585 zip 03825)

- Clearwater, FL, USA

problem #25

Feb 162004

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 80,000 miles
We have replaced six serpentine belts in the two years we have owned this vehicle. We replaced the tensioner, but it did not correct problem. We are now facing number seven and are at the point of total frustration. We need to see this corrected immediately.

- Raytown, MO, USA

problem #24

Feb 152004

Grand Caravan 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles
The belt that controls the power steering and brakes and radiator fan came off twice today and several times in the past. It's all we can do to get it stopped and pulled over when this happens and it happens in any type of rain.

- Cleveland, TN, USA

problem #23

Jan 202004

(reported on)

Grand Caravan 4WD 6-cyl

  • 72,742 miles
Fan belt kept sliding off got broken. This problem would occur when it would rain or snow. The part was replaced four times. The cruise control had become inoperative and the air bag light had come on.

- Sebring, FL, USA

problem #22

Dec 302003

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles
1997 Grand Caravan sport serpentine belt came off five times in one year, the latest on 12/30/03 when driving on a rainy day. Every time the belt gets wet, it falls off!

- Daly City, CA, USA

problem #21

Jan 032004

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 119,000 miles
Serpentine belt comes off when vehicle has gone through water, snow or slush causing loss of steering control, electrical power, engine cooling; all of which may be cause of other problems if vehicle is not immediately stopped and taken somewhere for the belt to be re-installed. Manufacturer has identified problem and a solution (tsb#070299, NHTSA#606159), which is engineering related, yet does not release this as a recall. It was serviced 8/12/03 (blouin) to replace the original belt, has had problem since that replacement yet manufacturer does not acknowledge responsibility to correct their enginerring error at their cost (lee). Repair should be a recall condition to repair a situation that can cause fatalities if it occurred under highway conditions.

- Wales, ME, USA

problem #20

Oct 292003

Grand Caravan

  • miles
1997 Dodge Grand Caravan car serpentine belt was making noise. Was told it was worn and needed to be replaced. Replaced serpentine belt. Drove car in heavy rain, serpentine belt fell off. Towed car to dealer replaced belt and sent me on my way. Same day drove car in heavy rain, serpentine belt fell off. Towed car to dealer. Dealer checked with Chrysler on fixes. Installed a clip. This was suppose to solve my problems. No heavy rain for a while. Then, drove my car in heavy rain, serpentine belt fell off again. Towed car to dealer. Was told they were going to replace the tensioner and that was pretty much all they could do. They suggested that I don't drive the car into puddles. We all know that this is impossible. Stated to the dealer, that I drove through puddles with no problems before they replaced the serpentine belt. I've only had this problem since it was replaced. They did not have a answer for me, again they said "you shouldn't be driving in puddles". I asked if I cannot drive in puddles what am I supposed to do. They said turn around and find a different route. I find this hard to believe. What if I'm on a highway" should I turn around" I've done some searching on the web and have found that I am not the only person who owns a Caravan that is having this problem.

- Durham, CT, USA

problem #19

Oct 282003

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles
Serpentine belt falls off when water gets on it, resulting in loss of power steering and control. I understand this is a wide spread problem and am concerned that my familys' safety will be in jepardy each time this happens. It has happened four times to us and I feel this warrants a recall before someone loses their life.

- Rockaway, NJ, USA

problem #18

Jun 292003

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 75,100 miles
Since power steering pump replacement, the serpentine belt regularly slips off when splashed with water. - came off while my wife was driving. - dealer tried replacing tensioner (which I had replaced 6 months earlier) - no luck - will continue to try to solve with dealer.

- Grand Forks, ND, USA

problem #17

Aug 142002

Grand Caravan 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 68,600 miles
My 1997 Dodge Grand Caravan, 3.3L V6, had the belt tensioner shear off/come apart at 35,000 miles. Then at 68,000 (33,000 later) it went bad, it froze up. This caused the belt to crack also. So the tensioner and belt were replaced at that time. How much of a problem have these tensioners been" should I expect them to last only 30,000 to 36,000 miles"

- Manchester, MO, USA

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