Thursday, August 25, 2011

Thinking of buying a Dodge Caravan?

The only good thing that has come from dealing with issues with my 2008 Dodge Grand Caravan is that I was inspired to start this blog.  What better way to prove to my readers that I will not endorse a product that I do not believe in than to start with a product I regret buying.  Of course I am only three years into my six year loan, but I am ready to push it off a cliff (too bad Ohio is mostly flat).  So….let me start from the beginning but keep it long and not so sweet.  I bought the van brand new in 2008 and thought it was the greatest thing.   After 12,000 miles, I was told that my front brakes needed replaced.  After researching and seeing that other Caravans had the same issue, I called Dodge to see what they would do about it.  They told me to take it to the dealership and have them check it out.  Well, according to the dealership, they were fine.  Two weeks later, my husband replaced all four brakes himself because they were so worn down and squeaking so terribly loud.  A few months later I received a letter from Dodge stating that the Caravans have premature brake wear and to take it to the dealership to fix the issues and that Dodge would cover the cost minus a $100 deductible.  Of course, I already replaced the brakes, so why bother now?  A few months after that I took my van to another service center in a different dealership for an oil change and a replacement of a recalled radiator cap.  While in the shop I was told I needed front brakes again and that I would just have to pay the $100 deductible.  So my van received its third set of brake pads at 21,000 miles.
Now my van has 40,000 miles and it needs rear brakes again.  I sent Dodge an email and received a response immediately that stated a case manager would contact me the next business day.  Here I thought, “Wow, this company stands behind their product”.  Unfortunately, when my case manager called I could not take his call, but I returned it no longer than 3 minutes later.  I was told he was on the other line and that he would call me back.  My van was already at the dealership being evaluated as to whether or not it needed new brakes.  I also had a rental car while it was being fixed because my first day is free due to the service agreement I bought.  I did not hear back from my case manager that day despite my three phone calls and two left messages.  The dealership was waiting on a response from my case manager before they performed the work because apparently rotors were on backorder for six months (WOW, there must be a demand for them…wonder why?).  Day two, I am still in a rental car that I am now being charged for and I still have not heard back from Dodge.  I call again and leave a message.  Two hours later I call again and another case manager tells me she will time stamp my request and my case manager will call me back as soon as he is off the other line.  Two hours later I call again and a different case manager gives me the same time-stamp spiel, and I argue with her that it didn’t work last time so I don’t expect it to work this time.   I call back at 4:30pm and my case manager is gone for the day.  ARE YOU SERIOUS?  I left a couple angry messages and then called the dealership to tell them to just fix my brakes because I want my van back.
 Day three, I still have not heard from Dodge and my van is ready for pickup with a cost of $428.00, which was for brake pads, resurfaced rotors, and labor.  I didn’t even get new rotors??!!  By this time I am FURIOUS, and I call Dodge once again demanding to speak with a supervisor.  Could you believe that he was busy and would have to call me back within the hour?  Three hours later it wasn’t a supervisor that called but my case manager to discuss my brakes.  He requested a copy of my receipt for work, and he will contact the dealership to see if Dodge can reimburse me any.  They are quite aware of the issues and have fixed them in the newer models, but are doing little to help those stuck in these money pits.  My frustration is that in every 13,000-15,000 miles I will have to go through this again, and more than likely, I will be eating the cost. 
Moral of the story??  Do your homework before you buy!!  Other people were already having problems before I bought my van.  After researching it recently, I find an upsetting amount of unhappy Caravan owners.  That is the purpose of my blog…honest opinions, stories, and reviews for the sake of all of mankind's wallets.

Update: Dodge finally contacted me and is giving me a reimbursement on my brakes minus a $100 deductible.  Perhaps they do take care of their customers to an extent....However, now my tire valves are breaking in half (which costs $150 to replace each one), and my transmission is slipping.  Can I scream yet????

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