Dodge-less in Red Deer ……

A scooter....better than a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan....the only reliable wheels we own!

A scooter….better than a 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan….the only reliable wheels we own!

“Sleepless in Seattle” may have been a hit, “Dodge-less in Red Deer”, not so much…..but here is how the story for this week goes.

Friday night. Lovely weather. Stuck at home. Again….or still….you choose. You see it is my THIRD weekend…and two full weeks…. without a vehicle as our new vehicle is again/still/perpetually in the shop. Now I do realize I am doing wonders for the environment by not driving (A.K.A. the new vehicle sitting in the lot of the car dealership as they try to replicate the problem), but the last two plus weeks (plus all the other 6, 7 or 8 times the car has been in for service) are feeling like a cross between house arrest (no, I don’t have personal experience!) and quarantine (yes, the family is all immunized!).

Originally this post was going to  be a painting post but I can’t help myself, this situation of having a new car, with endless problems, and being reduced to walking is….well….preposterous. Yes walking to do errands is just lovely, but a 15 minute return trip by car is a good hour and a half trip on foot. Okay, more like two and a half hours as I have to explain to anyone we meet “why” we aren’t driving our new van, plus go through all the problems the van has, which takes a very, very long time……I should just record the story on my phone and hit “play ” really.  And did you know that carrying groceries for 7 people while walking isn’t feasible; we go through 8 litres of milk alone on some days (that is two hands taken up with milk alone!)…..lets just say the kids are starting to notice food that used to be in the cupboard isn’t. And did you know now I can’t take on location shoots, yep, I can’t work unless it is in the studio, as hauling tripods and lighting and cameras on a two or three hour walk doesn’t quite work…..and using my preschooler’s wagon to carry my gear just crosses the “stupid” line. My four year old is bored, the other day he wanted to go somewhere, I reminded him we didn’t have the car, he huffed and let his head thump down on the table. We…are…stuck.

So for the record…stuck at home…….running out of groceries……can’t work……….new van still in the shop…………..

…..and of course they still haven’t been able to replicate the problem on the vehicle. It is kind of like buying a new house, the roof leaks once, but they have to wait until it rains again, destroying all your interior and belongings, in the aim to replicate the problem before they will look to fix it. Unfortunately in the case of an unsafe vehicle it isn’t carpet getting wet, it is people getting killed if the issue “replicates” at an inopportune time.

To make matters worse, in an act of desperation, last night I started to search the internet to see if there were any indications of others facing the same vehicle problem. I thought “well if the technicians can’t figure it out at least I am going to give it a shot!”.  I suspect the outcome was the same as when people Google diseases. Let’s see, well one thing I did find was in the U.S. a group of 2014 Grand Caravan’s had a recall for the tire pressure light going on or off….yep, ours has done that…..we were told that can happen due to weather…..I guess either the U.S. doesn’t have that type of “weather” or they have stricter safety requirements. Hmmmmmmm. The other thing I discovered was endless “can not replicate the problem” situations and then the issue of course replicates itself in dangerous circumstances like on a highway or in busy traffic…one person wrote something to the effect as to “how many people are going to have to be killed before they try to rectify these problems?” It’s a good question.

And so I “try” to be patient……and what will my patience achieve? It is probably going to achieve the first ever Dodge Grand Caravan running out of warranty while sitting in the parking lot of the service department. And then guess what is going to happen, either one day or one kilometer after the warranty is up they’ll find the problem miraculously and charge us for the repair.

It’s going to be a long two years and seven months before that happens.

The joy of 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan problems.

To be continued………….

(for further reading check out this and this!)

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References which may be connected to the van issues:

U.S.A. recall – NHTSA Campaign #14V632000 – issued October 8, 2014 – 2014 Dodge Grand Caravan Tires: Pressure Monitoring and Regulating Systems

U.S.A. defect investigation – NHTSA Defect Investigation #DP14004 – date opened September 25, 2014 (currently pending) – Electrical System

To view ongoing Dodge issues please check out http://www.carcomplaints.com/Dodge/Grand_Caravan/2014/recalls/ or http://www.carcomplaints.com/Dodge/Grand_Caravan/2014/investigations/

I guess I just don’t believe that it is only the U.S.A. vans having the issues; I can’t help but feel it is relevant.

 

March 14, 2015 update (15 straight days without the vehicle and 10 working days at the service department):

U-Connect Cutting Out– One more thought……..is the “interference” that makes the streaming with the U-connect not work properly being actually created by the vehicle heating up? Is it the electrical system creating the interference? The hotter the vehicle gets the less the U-connect works properly. Is something in the vehicle creating interference, perhaps a computer defect? A valid thought that would also make sense with the burning rubber smell. No one is listening to us when we repeatedly tell them the pattern of when the U-connect is having huge problems in working properly.

Low Tire Pressure Indicator Going On And Off – our service department blames “weather” and says it is “normal”, however in the U.S. it is actually a RECALL. How can we have any faith in Dodge/Chrysler Canada being concerned about safety? This is how they avoid recalls, the service departments try to make the customer out to be “over reacting” or “picky” or “crazy” so that they can avoid expensive recalls. If the service departments brush you off there is no evidence of an issue. They are avoiding recalls at the front desk or on the phone. These issues will never reach Transport Canada as Dodge/Chrysler have found a tactic around the situation. It is all about PROFIT with few concerns as to SAFETY.

Burning Rubber SmellNo one is listening to us. No one has addressed the burning rubber smell. Wouldn’t it make sense to start by looking for wires where the insulation is burned off. It is not right for a vehicle to emit a burning rubber smell. Wouldn’t that be an indicator of potential fire? Shouldn’t Dodge be concerned?

Car Losing Power – it seems the only step forward is to drive around waiting for the problem to “replicate”. I can’t help but feel they are looking in the wrong place as the van’s computer doesn’t register that an error light came on. That is the starting point. We’ve told Dodge and the service department that that is the starting point, but they are still driving the vehicle around trying to replicate the problem. Why won’t they start with the obvious problem?

Van’s Computer Not Registering Error – we are getting shoulder shrugs. No one is taking this seriously. If the system is supposed to register an error, as in when the MIL light came on and the van lost power,  and the system doesn’t, this is actually a DEFECT. This is yet another huge problem. Even though I am not a technician, common sense tells me we either have an electrical problem or a computer problem. This would make sense when you look at the never ending issues this vehicle has had (including the repaired heating defect and U-Connect mic issue).

The Flashing Dashboard/Control Panel – After we started up the vehicle the second time after the power loss, every single light on the dashboard started flashing including indicators making the audible noise. I turned the key off, removed the key. Tried to start the vehicle a minute or so later and it started normally. Dashboards/Control Panels should not flash like that. It is another sign of a defect. Again common sense points to electrical or computer.

So here we sit.
It seems that Dodge/Chrysler’s protocol is to just drive around trying to “replicate the problem” but they refuse to look at ALL the problems.
We are pretty sure they just want to “appear” to be trying to solve the situation, which is what all the “driving around to replicate the problem” is. It is a facade.
We are pretty sure they are just trying to drag out the situation until we are so frustrated with having no vehicle that we take back the DEATH TRAP and drive it risking our family and others’ lives.
It’s a tactic……and when we are forced to put this very unsafe vehicle back on the road, and it ends in a fatality, the official statement will be “Dodge only produced .5% (or some other random percentage) of their vehicles with a defect.”……….which means the lives and safety of .5% of their customers are worthless.

If a company is going to produce vehicles, EVERY SINGLE VEHICLE ON THE ROAD NEEDS TO BE SAFE, there should never be ANY margin for error. A margin for error results in deaths.

 PS. We will be emailing Dodge/Chrysler on Monday and requesting a detailed, day by day account of what they have actually done with the vehicle. We have also asked previously about them looking into the origin of the vehicle (it has always driven like a “used” vehicle), but we have yet to receive any information; this request was made at the dealership level. Brush off and ignore seems to be company policy.

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