Dodge Grand Caravans are designed to carry heavy loads with seven passengers and their luggage, or 1,800 pounds of freight. Engines that move this much weight produce heat and must be cooled to stay functional. Dodge Grand Caravans overheat because the coolant doesn't circulate through the entire engine, the fan fails, or some part of the engine fails, producing more heat than the cooling system can handle. The owner of the Caravan can take steps to find an overheating problem before he takes it in for service.
Check the coolant level. The coolant in a Dodge Grand Caravan has to move through the engine, soaking up heat as it goes, then back to the radiator to rid itself of the heat. If the water pump fails or the radiator cap fails, the coolant won't be able to pick up the heat and disperse it.2
Look for leaks. Examine the garage floor after the car has been sitting overnight. Coolant is usually colored yellow or green. The position of the leak on the garage floor will help the mechanic narrow the location of the leak. Is it under the radiator or the back of the engine or the passenger compartment? The freeze plugs, the radiator, the hoses or the overflow tank might be the site of the leak.3
Check the thermostat. The thermostat contains the coolant inside the engine until it warms up before it allows it to circulate to the heater core. If the thermostat fails to open, the coolant won't circulate through the entire system and the engine will over heat. Start the engine with the hood up and the engine cold. Feel the upper radiator hose. It should remain cold until the engine warms up and then become warm. If it doesn't become warm, the thermostat isn't opening and must be replaced.4
Check the fan. The Dodge Grand Caravan uses an electric fan to blow air through the radiator. If it isn't turning or turning fast enough, the coolant won't cool down. A broken relay, bad wiring, a blown fuse, electric motor failure or a bad temperature control sensor failure can stop the fan from working.5
Take the Caravan in for a tuneup. If the engine is not firing as it should or there is a leak from the engine oil pathways into the coolant, the radiator won't be able to handle the heat load. Only a trained mechanic can spot this kind of problem.