Dodge Grand Caravan Won’t Start


If a Dodge Grand Caravan will not turn on and run what would be the most likely cause. Sometimes the minivan cranks but will not start, sometimes it will not crank at all, and other times it will crank and fire right up.

Then there are times the minivan will not start with continued cranking. A few minutes later it will crank and turn on. Could this be more than one problem causing the no-crank no start issue?

My Dodge Grand Caravan is a fourth generation 2006 with a 3.3 L V6 engine. I believe it is the same motor as the Chrysler Town & Country, Pacifica and Voyager. Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.

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John Fox 3 years 2021-01-30T17:39:05+00:00 2 Answers 937 views Beginner 2

Answers ( 2 )


    Dodge Grand Caravan Won’t Start

    Dodge Grand Caravan minivans are complex machines that were marketed by Chrysler Corporation. On Average, they have more than ten major mechanisms and thousands of components, each carefully calibrated and tuned. This colossal setup has its vulnerabilities. One of the more common issues with a Dodge Grand Caravan is that it won’t start. The starting mechanism alone depends on more than five mechanisms and contrivances. So the next time you turn your key in the ignition, your minivan may crank but wouldn’t start or even worse, it may not crank at all. That said, a little knowledge and application can aid in bringing you out of this jam.

    Start with the basics;

    • Is the battery OK? Are the terminals properly connected? Is there any dirt, corrosion or residue on the terminals?

    • If the Grand Caravan has automatic transmission, is it in “Park” or “Neutral”? Automatic transmissions have the tendency to behave differently in different modes. Sometimes a car would only start in “Neutral” because of issues on the neutral safety switch.

    • Do you have enough fuel in the tank to fire the engine into life? Fuel gauge, over time, tend to malfunction and display false readings. In that case, all you can do is estimate the fuel in the tank and hope for the best.

    • Does the key-shaped “Security” light in the instrument panel stays on or blinks periodically?

    • Is the anti-theft system in your minivan working properly and doesn’t allow the automobile to be started?

    Once you have checked these and the problem persists, it is time to dig deeper into the issue.

    1. Keystart Ignition Not Turning or Cranking

    If your Dodge Grand Caravan has a manual key start ignition, it is most likely in “Lock” mode. Steering it on left or right and then turning the key disables the lock and  makes way for the key to rotate fully in the ignition switch. while you are pulling your hair apart in frustration. Try turning the key all the way.

    Another problem that might hamper the starting is cranking-but-no-starting. This, unfortunately, is whole another game! It might relate to the Starter Motor which is powered by the car’s battery and revs the engine into life. When you rotate the key and hear a faint click, it means the starter is either broken or needs repair/replacement. Another issue can be disjointed starter solenoid control wire which can restrict conduction in the starter motor.

    2. Ignition Cranks but Doesn’t Start

    The armature bushings in the starter motor can wear out with time and when they brush with electric field coils inside the starter motor, they may crank a little but not enough to activate the engine. In this case, the starter motor needs rebuilding or replacement. Lack of engine oil or old engine oil also poses this issue where the ignition cranks but won’t start. Check the engine oil level and change it if necessary.

    3. Dead Battery

    The minivan battery provides current to all electrical components of the motor-vehicle. It may have been properly connected with spick-and-span terminals, but the battery might be weak or altogether dead. A weak or dead battery can be checked by turning the ignition on and honking the horn or turning on the vipers; it they battery is discharged you’ll notice a faintness in the horn or lag in viper movement. Charge the battery with a battery charger or jump it using a healthy battery from another car. If the battery is old, it may not recharge and require replacement.

    4. Jumpstarting

    You will need jumper cables and a healthy battery from another automobile. The process is fairly simple but does require intricacy while connecting the two batteries at terminals. Usually the negative terminals are connected first and then the positive terminals, but there can be some additional instructions about jumpstarting depending on the types battery or car models which needs to be strictly adhered to in order to avoid electrical system meltdown.

    5. Dim or No Lights in the Instrument Panel

    When you turn the key in ignition, the instrument panel lights up from the current that is supplied by the battery. If it doesn’t turn on, it means that the battery is either weak or dead. This necessitates a quick battery-checkup, explained earlier. Recharge the battery using a battery charger or jump-start the Dodge Grand Caravan using a working battery.

    6. Security Light Flash on the Instrument Panel

    When you turn the ignition ON and the key-shaped “Security” light stays on or flashes, it means that your car security system does not recognize the key or there is some problem with some sub-component of the security system itself. The key has a security code and it only works if the car’s ignition recognizes that code. If it doesn’t, try the spare key. If you don’t have a spare key, you’ll need to re-program the key, instructions to which are written in the car’s owner manual or available online. Get the immobilizer system checked from a verified dealership as well.

    7. No “Engine Check” Light

    When you turn the ignition ON, the “Engine Check” light is supposed to light up. If it doesn’t, it means that the onboard computer; variably called the ECM, ECU or PCM, is not getting any current from the battery. The reason can be manifold. It maybe because of a melted or mangled wire, a broken relay or a blown fuse or in the worst case, a malfunction in the computer itself. You can check it from the on-board diagnosis (OBD) or better yet from a professional computer troubleshooter. It is advisable that you don’t experiment with the ECU settings if you are not sure about it because once the computer is mis-tuned, it definitely requires professional help and a lot of time!

    8. Faulty Spark Plugs

    A spark plug is the Mount Sinai of the engine! This is where a spark occurs and powers the whole internal combustion kit and kaboodle! A corroded or weak spark plug doesn’t have enough carry this operation. Check the spark plugs using spark testers of varied voltages e.g. 10KV, 20KV and 40KV. A fault in the spark plug almost always carries the risk of other malfunctioning components such as igniter, ignition module, ignition coil and distributor. So, might as well check those!

    Add to these a bevy of issues with fuel pumps, compression in cylinder block and other electrical and mechanical innards which can prevent your Dodge Grand Caravan from starting. It always bodes well to have some basic idea of these mechanisms to avoid frequent visits to the workshop, wasting valuable money and invaluable time.


    Here is the same troubleshooting guide that dealership factory trained technicians use to fix a Dodge Grand Caravan engine that will not start. It applies to 3.3-Liter V6 OHV Flex Fuel, 3.8 L Gasoline SMPI and 3.3L 6-cylinder OHV Gasoline engines. It is applicable to Dodge Caravan, Grand Caravan, Voyager and Town & Country vehicles manufactured in 2005-2006.

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