Even though no official recalls have been issued, Dodge Grand Caravan door lock problems and similar complaints about Chrysler Town & Country minivans are burning up the information superhighway. Consumers say their sliding doors either won’t lock or they become stuck in the locked position. Some consumers have had the sliding doors on both sides of their vehicle become stuck. Still others say the two front doors fail to latch or unlatch properly.
Won’t the Warranty Cover This Door Locking Problem?
In most complaints that appear online, the vehicles are out of warranty, but some have as little as 20,000 miles on them.
Are Dodge Grand Caravan Door Lock Problems Seen Only in Certain Model Years?
No recalls have been issued, so it’s difficult to know how long the door locks have been failing, but one person with a 2001 Dodge Caravan said the automatic doors began to lock and unlock by themselves every thirty seconds one day. Many online complaints are regarding the 2005 through 2017 models.
Why Are These Door Locks Failing to Latch or Getting Stuck in the Locked Position?
According to RepairPal.com, the door lock actuator is an electric motor that controls the locking and unlocking of the doors. The vehicle’s computer receives a signal to lock or unlock the door from a key fob or from a button on the door. The door lock actuator is a mechanical part that RepairPal says when used frequently, can wear out and need replacing.
How Can I Tell if the Door Lock Actuator is Starting to Fail?
Sometimes the interior lights stay on when the door is shut or the security system will malfunction if your model’s door switch incorporates these other systems. The actuator’s motor may emit a groaning or grinding noise that indicates it’s on its way out. If the door lock actuators cycle continuously, causing the doors to lock and unlock all day long without prompting, this action may drain the battery.
If the Door is Stuck in the Locked Position, Can’t I Just Manually Unlock it?
Surprisingly, in most cases, no. One online customer wrote CarGurus.com about his experience with 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan door lock problems. He said with only 40,000 miles on the vehicle, the driver’s sliding door froze, and he’s unable to open it manually or electronically.
He said, “I feel like I’m going to break the lever if I force it too much. So the door is basically unusable right now.”
How Much Does it Cost to Fix the Door Lock Actuator?
According to one woman who wrote to CarGurus.com, a dealership charged her more than $1,100 to replace the locking actuator on her 2016 Dodge Grand Caravan. She said the actuator on the passenger side sliding door had started to make a buzzing noise, so she wanted it fixed before it became a locking/unlocking problem.
She said less than two months later, the driver’s side sliding door is stuck in the locked position, and will not open at all, and it failed without any foretelling noises.
“The mechanic at the dealership even admitted that it was a well-known issue with the Caravans around the 2015-2018 models!” she wrote.
She said she refuses to pay more than $1,100 again to the dealership, and planned to file a complaint with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to see if there can be a recall issued.
The NHTSA says it investigates all complaints, but its review and investigation process may take a long time.
If the Door Lock Actuator is Replaced Once, Will it Last for the Remaining Life of the Vehicle?
It’s difficult to say because each person uses a vehicle differently. If the door is open and shut a dozen times a day, the parts that make the door open and close will obtain more wear and tear than if the doors are only opened twice a day or even less often.
One consumer wrote to CarComplaints.com and said the right sliding door of their 2016 Town & Country underwent replacement of the door lock actuator at a Chrysler dealership in December 2017. By August 2019, that same door stopped locking at all. The owner expressed concern the door may open while being driven down the road, and also is not happy the vehicle must be left unlocked in parking lots when shopping, going to movies, etc.
Does the Locking Issue Usually Only Affect One Door?
The issue may affect one or both doors. In one case, a Town & Country with 65,000 miles had the driver’s side sliding door lock shut. The owner wrote to Car Complaints that the problem used to happen to the passenger’s side sliding door, but somehow, the problem worked itself out and the door started to work again. The owner said he took it to the dealership where he was told they could not find anything wrong with the passenger’s side sliding door that kept randomly sticking shut. The owner said he’s now concerned that in the event of an accident, they could be trapped if the driver’s side sliding door was the only one that was accessible, but it was stuck in the locked position.
Join a Free Chrysler/Dodge Minivan Door Defect Class Action Lawsuit Investigation
If you owned or leased a Chrysler Town & Country or Dodge Caravan from model years 2015 to 2019 and the door latch remote locking mechanism failed, you may qualify to join this Chrysler and Dodge class action lawsuit investigation to recover any out-of-pocket repair costs you have incurred.
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