Dodge Caravan Shift Solenoid Problem? Causes and Fixes

Dodge Caravan Shift Solenoid Problem is common to prevail and seen as a nightmare by many owners of this vehicle. If your Caravan has refused to shift, it may signal a transmission problem.

Dodge Caravan Shift Solenoid Problem

There are several possible causes of this issue, so diagnosing the problem may be slightly tricky. This article provides a simplified breakdown of these causes and how you can fix them.

Why Is Your Dodge Grand Caravan Not Shifting?

Your Dodge Grand Caravan may not be shifting because it has dirty transmission fluid or a faulty solenoid. Low fluid levels, a bad throttle position sensor, and a damaged shift cable contribute to this problem as well.

When this happens, your vehicle will be unable to shift. We recommend consulting a professional mechanic for the most accurate diagnosis.

– Dirty Transmission Fluid

Dirty transmission fluid is a common reason why your Caravan isn’t shifting. These fluids lubricate transmission components for smooth operation. Over time, this fluid can become worn or filled with debris, particles, and other contaminants. The dirt affects the fluid’s properties and the operations of different parts.

You’ll notice that your Caravan cannot shift between gears at all. Even when it does, moving would become rough and challenging. You may also see that your vehicle makes unusual noises, and the engine overheats. The inability to reverse is another tell-tale sign of a dirty fluid that needs replacement.

– Low Fluid Levels

Having low fluid levels is also responsible for your Caravan shifting problems. When your transmission lacks the fluid needed to function correctly, it’ll start giving you trouble. In this case, you will find it difficult to shift gears, and you will experience rough shifts.

You may also detect a grinding noise whenever you start your car. Your check engine light will come on, indicating a problem with the transmission and engine. If left unchecked, your engine will also start to stall and misfire.

Hence, you will likely detect a burning smell inside your minivan’s cabin whenever you start it. If you continue to drive with low fluid levels, it can cause severe damage to the entire transmission system and car.

– Damaged Shift Cable

The shift cable in most automatic transmission vehicles is essential for putting the transmission into the right gear. A shift cable can become damaged due to natural wear and tear. Stretching and rodent damage are other common reasons the shift cable may fail.

Perhaps the earliest sign of a damaged shift cable is that your Caravan may refuse to shift. You’ll also notice an excessive gear lever play, that is, your gear lever is loose.

A damaged shift cable makes gear shifting difficult and uncomfortably stiff, primarily affecting reversing. You may notice your transmission whining, sputtering, or making a grinding noise. In extreme cases, your vehicle may even refuse to start.

– Faulty Solenoid

A faulty solenoid is another culprit to watch out for if your Dodge Caravan refuses to shift. A solenoid converts electrical current into mechanical energy needed for the ignition system to reach the starter motor. This makes it possible for your car to start whenever you turn your keys.

Dodge Grand Caravan Not Shifting Causes

A solenoid can get damaged when worn, or the battery charge is too low. Corroded battery terminals and heat are also responsible for this defect. Damaged wirings and loose/overtightened bolts also contribute to this problem.

A common sign of a faulty solenoid is that your vehicle refuses to shift when you engage gears. You may also notice that your engine is inconsistent in coming on and off. You may notice a repeated clicking sound whenever you start your engine. A grinding noise when you turn your key also indicates a defective solenoid.

– Bad Throttle Housing

If you’re wondering, “Do I have a Dodge Caravan Shift Solenoid Problem?” a lousy throttle housing may be the reason. The throttle housing makes it easy for you to step on the gas pedal and increase or reduce acceleration.

These can become worn or damaged due to wear, dirt, or lack of proper adjustments. You’ll notice that your Caravan doesn’t shift appropriately in this case. Acceleration or deceleration becomes more complex, which can be dangerous when driving on a highway.

– Damaged Throttle Pedal Pad

A damaged throttle pedal pad is a common Dodge Grand transmission issue.

Damaged Throttle Pedal Pad

A throttle pedal monitors the amount of air that comes into the engine and, in turn, controls the vehicle’s speed. The throttle pedal pad makes it easy to step on the pedal and adjust the speed.

Over time the pad can become worn due to excessive use. A damaged pad makes it hard for the pedal to work correctly. There’s a very high chance the pedal’s inability to function well will affect shifting and make it difficult.

– Defective Throttle Position Sensor

A throttle position sensor (TPS) measures how open the throttle valve is and monitors the air in the intake manifold. The TPS can get damaged if it lacks proper contact with a wiper. The throttle position sensor is also responsible for informing the transmission to shift gears.

If the TPS gets faulty, it becomes difficult and sometimes impossible to shift gears. Hence, you may notice your Caravan is unable to shift correctly. Other symptoms of a defective TPS include excessive and rough idling, increased fuel consumption, and unexpected acceleration.

How Can You Fix Your Dodge Grand Caravan Not Shifting?

You can fix your Dodge Grand Caravan not shifting by replacing and topping up the transmission fluid. Replacing the damaged throttle pedal pad, sensor, and housing will also resolve the problem. You should also repair your shift cable and other components to eliminate the problem.

– Replace Dirty Fluid

Replacing dirty fluid is the quickest fix if your Dodge minivan isn’t shifting correctly. You can tell a liquid is contaminated when it appears deep brown or red. In this case, you’ll need to replace the oil with a good one. Fortunately, you can do this without the help of a professional mechanic.

First, park and lift the car with a jack. Locate the fluid pan and its drain plug to drain out the fluid; without a drain plug, you may need to remove the fluid pan. Wear gloves, then loosen the drain plugs to drain the fluid or remove the fluid pan by loosening the bolts holding it in place.

After draining the old or dirty fluid, inspect the fluid filter for signs of leaks so that you can repair it fast.If there is no leak, secure the fluid pan back and refill it with new fluid. Your Caravan should start shifting properly almost immediately.

How often should you change the fluid of your vehicle’s gearbox? You can change your Caravan’s gearbox fluid every 100,000 to 120,000 miles. Driving with worn fluid can affect your transmission’s performance, hence the need for regular changes.

– Top Up Fluid Levels

It would help if you topped up low fluid levels when your transmission is running low. You can do this following the same steps used in draining old fluid. Before you top up your fluid level, it is essential to inspect the fluid filter and other parts of the transmission for signs of leaks.

If there aren’t any leaks, you can refill your fluid pan. But if there are, you should contact a mechanic as soon as possible. Overfilling can lead to Caravan transmission issues, so you must use a dipstick when filling your transmission with fluid.

– Replace the Damaged Shift Cable

Damaged shift cables also contribute to shifting issues, so they’ll need immediate repairs are needed if damaged. Replace the damaged cable with a new one and inspect other parts of the shifter system. Check that your shifter fork or bearings aren’t worn or damaged.

If these are, you should change them as well. Replacing the shifter components can be pretty technical, so it’s best to leave this job to a professional mechanic.

– Repair Faulty Solenoid

Another solution to try if you want your Caravan to shift correctly is to repair a faulty solenoid. If left unfixed, a bad solenoid can cause severe damage to your car’s transmission. Inspect the solenoid coils to be sure they’re in good condition.

Fixing Dodge Grand Caravan Not Shifting


If they’re not, it would be best to replace them immediately. You may also need to inspect and replace damaged solenoid plugs or sockets. In some cases, you may need to replace the entire solenoid with a new one for your car to start shifting.

– Fix The Entire Throttle System

The throttle system is one of the biggest reasons for improper shifting, so it requires immediate repairs. Inspect your throttle housing for signs of wear and damage. If you notice any defects, replacing the throttle housing will help.

Also, check the throttle pedal pad and throttle position sensor to ensure they work well. You can replace worn or frayed pedal pads and adjust your position sensor correctly.

Frequently Asked Questions

– Do All Dodge Caravans Have Transmission Problems?

No, not all Dodge Caravans have transmission problems, but most of them do. The most common among many customers is the vehicle’s inability to shift while driving. Another common transmission problem is that the Caravan’s transmission engagement is always delayed.

Some DTC codes related to Grand Caravan transmission problems include PO700, PO721, and PO733. Others are PO841 and PO870, all of which indicate different transmission difficulties associated with the Caravan.

You can get a new transmission to replace the old one, but take note that the cost of getting a new Dodge minivan transmission is between $2,000 and $3,500. Depending on your location, the labor cost may or may not be part of this price.

– How Can You Reset the Transmission Control Module on Your Caravan?

You can reset the transmission control module on your Caravan by disconnecting your car’s battery negative terminal . Leave it disconnected for 15 to 25 minutes before reconnecting. This should reset the transmission control module and you can then start the vehicle to see if it is better.

When it comes to changing the transmission of a Dodge caravan, you can change a Dodge Caravan’s transmission by first elevating the vehicle. After that, loosen all the screws and bolts holding the transmission in place. Then, you can drop the car on level ground and install the new transmission.

Conclusion of Why Is My Dodge Grand Caravan Not Shifting

Could a Dodge Caravan Shift Solenoid Problem Cause RV Lights to Not Work When Plugged in?

A Dodge Caravan shift solenoid problem is unrelated to RV lights not working when plugged in. Common reasons for RV lights not working include blown fuses, faulty wiring, or a faulty light fixture. It is recommended to check these potential issues before suspecting any transmission-related problems.


Several reasons are responsible for your Caravan not shifting gears.

Here’s a quick summary of the main points discussed in this article:

  • Dodge Caravan Shift Solenoid Problem? The causes include a faulty solenoid, improper lubrication, a bad throttle system, and a shift cable.
  • You can resolve this problem by replacing the old or worn fluid, topping up the fluid level, and replacing the faulty shift cable. You can replace the damaged throttle pedal pad, housing, and position sensor.
  • Always consult with a professional mechanic before carrying out any repairs.

Now that you can identify why your Caravan doesn’t shift properly, fixing the problem becomes faster and easier.

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