The Dodge Grand Caravan was a pioneer of the soccer mom, suburban family minivan. After being in production for over 36 years, Chrysler discontinued its once-best-selling minivan in 2020.
So, if you own one you may want to hang onto it, even if it means shelling out the cost for pricy transmission repairs down the road.
Replacing the transmission in a Dodge Grand Caravan costs between $1,500 and $4,600 or more. The cost depends on whether you purchase a used, rebuilt, or remanufactured transmission, where you get the parts from, and where you take it for the work.
- How Much is it to Replace a Transmission for a Dodge Grand Caravan?
- Transmission Cost Factors
- Diagnosing Transmission Problems in a Dodge Grand Caravan
- When To Replace a Dodge Grand Caravan’s Transmission
- Preventing Transmission Failure
- The Bottom Line
How Much is it to Replace a Transmission for a Dodge Grand Caravan?
A replacement transmission for a Dodge Grand Caravan may cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to several thousand depending on the transmission’s condition and where you buy it from.
The labor typically costs anywhere from $400 to $900 depending on if you take it to a private garage or dealership.
Dodge Caravan Transmission Replacement Cost Estimate
|Average Cost Estimate||$2,400-$2,900|
Transmission Cost Factors
Transmissions are typically either used, rebuilt, or remanufactured. Even though the end product is the same – a “new” transmission for an existing vehicle – the prices and specifications can be quite different.
In addition, there are different models of transmissions, and the pricing can vary based on your specific model and submodel.
For example, there are two very common models of replacement transmissions for the Dodge Grand Caravan – the A604 for model years earlier than 2008, and the 62TE for those produced after 2008.
Cost Estimates by Transmission Model and Retailer
|A604 (Pre-2008 Models)||62TE (Post-2008 Models)|
|Advance Auto Parts||$1,550||$2,900|
|Street Smart Transmission||$1,560||$2,250|
A used transmission is typically your least expensive option. This would involve finding the right size, type, and model transmission to fit your vehicle either by purchasing it from a used parts retailer or visiting a junkyard or salvage yard.
If you can find a transmission that’s in good condition that will work in your Dodge Caravan, it can be a big money saver, but it does come with risks.
For example, the online retailer Buy Used Engine lists many automatic transmissions for the Dodge Caravan that are priced around $230.
Buying from a retailer can be a safer option than using a junkyard or salvage yard because they often come with some sort of warranty. In this case, the transmissions include up to a two-year warranty on certain units.
You can also find used transmissions on eBay ranging from $180 to around $850.
For a rebuilt transmission, you’ll be paying a lot more labor than with a used one. However, it’s probably still going to cost less than buying and installing a remanufactured unit. Rebuilding a transmission involves disassembling the unit and replacing the parts that are worn or broken.
The technician typically uses a stock rebuild kit that includes the most commonly replaced components. This can be a labor-intensive process depending on how much work the transmission needs.
Sometimes, you can have your existing transmission rebuilt rather than buying a different unit. This may be a good option if there is only minor damage or the engine is in overall good shape. You should expect to pay around $3,000-$3,500 to have your transmission rebuilt.
Most of the cost variation will depend on your geographic location and the going rate for labor. Mechanics typically charge anywhere from $85 to $130 per hour, with dealerships charging more than independent garages.
Finding a good deal on labor can save you hundreds of dollars on major repair work like a transmission rebuild.
A remanufactured transmission is normally assembled in a factory setting. The goal is for the finished product to be as close to the original new equipment as possible.
To remanufacture a transmission, technicians will disassemble it and perform a thorough inspection and cleaning on all of the parts and components.
Anything that’s found to be too worn out or with damage will be replaced with new parts or replacement parts that meet the manufacturer’s specifications. Then, the valve body will be inspected and tested, and all metal surfaces measured and adjusted back to their factor dimensions.
A technician will then test all the electrical components and install new solenoids and other various electrical parts. After the transmission is reassembled, it will go through careful quality checks and other testing. When the job is complete, it will be a like-new transmission.
Remanufactured transmissions usually include a much better warranty than a used or rebuilt unit. If you plan on keeping the vehicle for at least the next several years, a remanufactured transmission may be the better option for value and reliability.
Remanufactured Transmission Cost
|Advance Auto Parts||$2,850 – $3,050|
|eBay||$1,400 – $5,400|
|Autozone||$1,500 – $2,100|
Diagnosing Transmission Problems in a Dodge Grand Caravan
Transmission problems are typically easy to diagnose because they’ll cause noticeable symptoms pretty quickly. As soon as it starts shifting hard or making unusual noises, most people take note and try to get the vehicle to a shop as soon as possible.
It typically costs between $85 and $150 to diagnose a transmission problem in a Dodge Grand Caravan. The good news is that some garages will waive diagnostic fees if you elect to have them do the repairs.
If you notice any of these symptoms of a potential transmission failure, you should have your van looked at right away to prevent any further damage.
Some of the most common transmission problems that drivers experience in this vehicle are gears slipping and hard shifting.
If the vehicle is shifting roughly between gears, or revving up too high before shifting, it could be a sign of transmission trouble. Another thing you may notice is a sudden RPM jump on your gauge without the speed increasing.
A grinding sound when shifting gears is never a good sign. It usually means that metal is grinding on metal, which can cause damage and heat from the friction.
Another sound you may hear is a loud screeching or whining coming from under the hood.
Check Engine Light
A check engine light could indicate a number of problems, so it’s always a good idea to bring the vehicle in for a diagnostic check if yours illuminates.
If you notice that there’s a delay when you shift the vehicle into “drive” or “reverse,” it could mean that there’s a problem with the transmission.
When the transmission does engage into gear, you may feel a bumping sensation.
When To Replace a Dodge Grand Caravan’s Transmission
According to various reports, a Dodge Grand Caravan’s transmission should last at least 130,000 miles, with some making it to 180,000 miles or more.
Following the scheduled maintenance specified by the factory, including changing your transmission fluid every 60,000 miles, can help extend the life.
Some owners have been able to keep their Dodge Grand Caravan for over 400,000 miles. If you keep it maintained and take care of transmission problems when they occur, you can continue to drive this vehicle for many years.
Preventing Transmission Failure
To avoid costly transmission repairs, it’s important to keep up with these maintenance tips and best practices for a healthy engine and transmission.
Keep up with scheduled maintenance
The single most important thing you can do for your transmission is to keep up with routine maintenance.
Flush the transmission fluid
Follow the recommended maintenance schedule to have your transmission system inspected and flushed. This will clear out any old fluid and replace it with clean fluid.
It will also help to catch any leaks and other problems sooner.
Always bring the vehicle to a complete stop before shifting between drive and reverse. Putting the vehicle into drive while it’s still rolling backward can be very hard on the transmission.
Drive with one foot
Driving with both feet may lead to pressing the brake pedal too much while driving. If you drive with your foot on the brake, you’re putting additional strain on the transmission (not to mention excessive wear on your brakes).
The Bottom Line
Transmission repairs and replacements are typically very expensive because it’s major repair work on a critical vehicle component. However, it can be worth it for vehicles that will last for many years.
If you need to replace the transmission in your Dodge Grand Caravan, consider how you’ll use the vehicle and for how long to help decide between a used, rebuilt, or remanufactured transmission.
It’s always a good idea to shop around and get multiple quotes before settling on a garage to do the work. Be sure to consider things like the shop’s reputation and what kind of warranty they’re offering.
Sometimes the cheapest option isn’t the best one, especially if you’re not confident they’ll stand behind their work. Quality workmanship can save you a lot of money in the long run.