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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Too long, didn't read? I really want to buy a used Pacifica Limited (either from Hertz or a private owner/dealer) but am skeptical of the mixed reliability reports as everything on the internet is 50/50 love/hate.

I've rented countless vans with Stow-N-Go seating (Caravans, T&C's, maybe a Pacifica) over the last dozen or so years while traveling for work and lately I've found myself needing that versatility in my personal life. Simply put, nothing matches that design and it's a testimony to the great engineering that went in to it.

Yesterday I saw a news article about Hertz selling off many of their rental vehicles due to the bankruptcy, so I figured I'd check to see how much a used Dodge Caravan is going for and found myself all the way down the Pacifica Limited rabbit hole instead. Love the styling, features, versatility, technology, and potential of this platform . . . but the stories of reliability quite frankly scare me and I need some convincing that I should buy this as a second vehicle for road-trips, camping, etc.

For a little background, I saved my money from working at McDonalds to buy a used 1992 Accord in 1997, which I kept until 2002 when I traded it in and bought a new Subaru WRX. In 2010 I bought a new loaded Accord which I still have to this day. I sold the WRX in 2012. That's my entire car history. I take great care of my vehicles, returning to the dealer for all recalls, scheduled maintenance, and regular fluid changes. The original Accord had window regulators and power antenna motors go out, and as the internet became prevalent I was able to order and replace these parts on my own, and I never found myself stranded on the side of the road despite being a kid with his first car and really pushing it by driving it all day, every day. It just worked. The Subaru broke down a couple of times over the years due to a belt failure in town and a blown radiator on a road trip. It was in the shop for warranty clutch judder due to factory warped flywheel, and I paid half out of pocket for a fuel rail leak that missed the factory warranty. I drove it pretty hard but responsibly and it was still a good car when I sold it because I just didn't have the passion for it anymore. The 2010 Accord has never been in the shop, has 110,000 miles on it, and runs like a dream. I don't fly around corners or over speed bumps, I accelerate and decelerate smoothly, I treat it like a machine and operate it within it's intended tolerances and it has always been reliable for me. I give you this background to explain that once i grew out of being a kid myself, I go easy on and take care of my cars, and I have no kids of my own slamming doors or kicking seats. I was an active member of the DriveAccord forums for a few years and recall some issues here and there with variable cylinder management causing misfires, minor interior problems, and definitely a dedicated forum for these issues.

I've never bought an extended warranty because I know that if I have a $1000 transmission problem in year 6 it's still cheaper than a $2999 warranty that I never used, and I have no problem coming out of pocket that way at a moments notice. I don't believe in pre-paying to resolve problems that way, but understand how many would rather wrap that in to a monthly payment and not have to think about it. I can say I've definitely come out ahead for myself in the long run.

That all said, I'm not sold on the Pacifica quite yet. I see the stories about pretty chronic issues with suspension, start/stop system, wiring, technology, and other failures that require more dealer time than I'm comfortable with. Don't get me wrong, I know that a Limited has more tech in it's steering wheel than my loaded EX-L w/Nav Accord has throughout and that is more room for failure. I also recognize that when it comes to the internet, every product ever made is simultaneously the best and the worst product of all time, and it averages out to 2.5/5 stars. I also understand that some people treat things like garbage and expect the world from them.

In defense of the Pacifica, I often see a lot of people say "Mine is great, I've had 5 of them" and I have to wonder how great it is if you are replacing it so often. Maybe someone wants the latest and greatest and they are just leasing endlessly? I see others say it broke several times in 30,000 miles and they dumped it. Either way, I have been lurking in these forums all night and day and see a great community of really helpful people who are passionate about this van and I want to be convinced I should join in ownership. I think I'd need to be sold on Chrysler as a manufacturer as well as there are a lot of mixed opinions out there and it's hard to tell if those who have had problems are just understandable more vocal.
 

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You should put your TLDR at the top!

I sound like me, two years ago. I hated that the Pacifica appealed to me so much... Sienna and Odyssey just seemed so boring. I was terrified of Chrysler and FCA. I've owned my van for one year now, and have one problem, the touchscreen will be unresponsive when the rearview camera is enabled, only while my kids have watched something on the rear entertainment system. Hasn't been enough of a problem to take it in.
My wife is the primary driver of it hauling the kids around. But each time I drive it, still to this day, I say "wow, this drives so nice." Not sure if I would be saying that with a Honda or Toyota. I also loved the stow-and-go. We have 3 little kids... always drive with one of the side seats folded down. Makes it easy to hop in the car with them, help them change clothes, sit and eat, change baby diaper and a place for the dog to lay down.

I'm not going to try to convince you to buy a Pacifica... in fact, I still have the same fears as you. I dread the day when I go push the start button and nothing happens. I'm not aware of any mechanic within 50 miles that is familiar with this van except the dealership. Yes I read the horror stories here too... good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks, I really appreciate the feedback, and I'm glad to hear your experience has been positive so far.

I forgot to mention that it's also understandable for those who have had problems to express concerns online while those who are lucky enough not to are simply out enjoying the ride. I've been on both sides before.

Ps - good idea on the tldr, will move it up.

Thanks!
 

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We have had our 2017 since new. The only significant problem has been the air conditioner smells, as apparently there's a drain design flaw. Dealer cleaning only lasts a couple months so I spray Ozium into the air intake once a month which takes care of the smell. You can get a Chrysler Mopar extended warranty at the Zeigler Auto Group for less than 1/2. I don't think I'd buy a Hybrid too many issue reports. A van that carries this much & gets 32mpg going 80mph is pretty good.
 

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If you are really concerned about reliability, don't do it. We like our Pacifica very much as a vehicle, but its the most unreliable vehicle we have ever owned. There is always something wrong with it. Little annoying stuff but that stuff adds up.
 

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If you are really concerned about reliability, don't do it. We like our Pacifica very much as a vehicle, but its the most unreliable vehicle we have ever owned. There is always something wrong with it. Little annoying stuff but that stuff adds up.
Most (maybe all) of the problems you've experienced in your 2017 model have been addressed by 2019 and 2020. The quality of the dealer service department plays a big part in how the issues are handled.
 
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Most (maybe all) of the problems you've experienced in your 2017 model have been addressed by 2019 and 2020. The quality of the dealer service department plays a big part in how the issues are handled.
I've seen people here with 18s and 19s that have similar issues, but they do seem to be better. My dealer is excellent, they're the bright spot in all of this. Its just not a very good product. However, the OP is looking to buy a rental car from Hertz, I wouldn't.

And if reliability is a main concern for you, I still wouldn't buy any year Pacifica or any FCA product.
 
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Discussion Starter #8
I've definitely read many anecdotes about 2019 resolving issues, and it will be interesting to see if time and stats will eventually back that up. I do hope that it's true, but I'm not holding my breath as based on what I've read (here and elsewhere), reliability is not FCA's legacy.

The Hertz sales are really what just got me thinking about buying a Pacifica when I saw the relatively cheap prices. A rental car purchase would be made with great caution, no matter the manufacturer. Some do argue though that if you can get a used rental cheap enough, you are getting a broken in vehicle whose problems would have surfaced and been repaired by the time it is put up for sale.

This would be a secondary vehicle so the reliability concern is more toward not being stranded transporting bicycles for rides around town, on road trips, or the occasional utility need like transporting furniture. How much do people here work on their Pacificas themselves? I'm ok with tackling basic engine stuff myself and have no problem pulling apart the inside to repair/replace convenience/luxury/electronic parts. Are there good dealers online who sell OEM parts at a discount (maybe Ziegler? I know they do warranties and such?)?

I've been really fortunate with dealers in the past, having a great Service Manager at Subaru who moved over to the Honda dealership next door. I do see Chrysler Cares is pretty active on this forum and they seem to be able to escalate issues with local dealers, but I'm not familiar with the Las Vegas area FCA dealers at all. Most of the interactions end with private messages so I'm curious if they've really been able to save the day.

Again, I appreciate everyone's feedback and dialogue. It's really nice to know that the community here is so helpful and constructive.
 

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Too long, didn't read? I really want to buy a used Pacifica Limited (either from Hertz or a private owner/dealer) but am skeptical of the mixed reliability reports as everything on the internet is 50/50 love/hate.....
Can you just rent a Pacifica when you want/need one? It seems like you will be expecting a perfect van without troubles and it seems like you will be setting yourself up for frustration if you get a Pacifica.

I don't know how much you will be able to fix yourself, but there are many knowledgeable members who are very helpful. There are also Mopar parts available online. You can download more extensive owner's manuals from the Mopar website if you want to read about the van.

There is a lot of new technology in the van which contributes to issues and repairs. It is a computer on wheels and a low or bad battery can sometimes give unrelated messages that make owners panic. They consider towing vs jumpstarting the van since there isn't a message that says "bad battery". Reading the forum made me aware of this so when my van's battery died when the van was 28 months old I tried jumpstarting it and drove it to the dealer who replaced the battery under warranty.

I like my 2017 van, but I didn't expect to not have any issues. I don't know if my van's 15 mph jolt transmission issue has been resolved in the newer models. My van (at 54,000 miles) is in for the 4th time to try to get it resolved. Resetting transmission adaptations works for about 10,000 miles and then has to be redone. Chrysler headquarters is supposed to call the dealer today to suggest the next attempt at repair while it is there again.

I have a lifetime extended warranty and a dealer service department that works with me pretty well. (Edit: The lifetime extended warranty is no longer available.)

Maybe some of the van's issues have been worked out in the newer models. There is also a new front end grill look for 2021, so you might want to compare it to 2020.

You just need to decide if the van's features are worth having to take the van in occasionally. It's worth it to me.
 

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My in-laws are frugal millionaires that only purchase used Lexus SUVS from Rental companies. 3 vehicles with no issues. I bought a Camry from Hertz while in grad school and owned it 5 trouble free years. We’re talking Toyota vs FCA but at the prices I’m seeing in NorCal, I think it’s a risk worth taking. If I search for a used Pacifica within 200 miles in NorCal, it’s 99.9% previous rental anyway. If you want used for a decent price where I live, I guess you go rental. Otherwise, spend a few grand more and buy new.


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Discussion Starter #11 (Edited)
Can you just rent a Pacifica when you want/need one? It seems like you will be expecting a perfect van without troubles and it seems like you will be setting yourself up for frustration if you get a Pacifica.

I don't know how much you will be able to fix yourself, but there are many knowledgeable members who are very helpful. There are also Mopar parts available online. You can download more extensive owner's manuals from the Mopar website if you want to read about the van.

There is a lot of new technology in the van which contributes to issues and repairs. It is a computer on wheels and a low or bad battery can sometimes give unrelated messages that make owners panic. They consider towing vs jumpstarting the van since there isn't a message that says "bad battery". Reading the forum made me aware of this when my van's battery died when the van was 28 months old so I tried jumpstarting it and drove it to the dealer who replaced the battery under warranty.

I like my 2017 van, but I didn't expect to not have any issues. I don't know if my van's 15 mph jolt transmission issue has been resolved in the newer models. My van (at 54,000 miles) is in for the 4th time to try to get it resolved. Resetting transmission adaptations works for about 10,000 miles and then has to be redone. Chrysler headquarters is supposed to call the dealer today to suggest the next attempt at repair while it is there again.

I have a lifetime extended warranty and a dealer service department that works with me pretty well.

Maybe some of the van's issues have been worked out in the newer models. There is also a new front end grill look for 2021, so you might want to compare it to 2020.

You just need to decide if the van's features are worth having to take the van in occasionally. It's worth it to me.
Yeah I'll definitely be renting one and taking it on a road trip before making a purchase, but one of the primary uses is that we want to get bicycles and be able to take them to different places around town to ride so renting wouldn't be convenient for that.

I really wouldn't expect any vehicle from any manufacturer to be perfect, and I've had issues with vehicles before, but I've never gone in to a purchase anticipating them either, especially ones with the core engine/transmission. That said, your last sentence is about as true as it gets . . . I need to decide if the features that only this vehicle has are worth knowing it will likely spend time in the shop. That's a completely foreign concept to me so I really appreciate all the feedback. Being a second car definitely helps tip the scales in favor of buying one as unless it fails while on a long trip it wouldn't be a huge inconvenience.

Do I understand correctly that the lifetime warranties are no longer available? I was just looking in to that earlier today and it seems like they've ended that offer. The Zeigler warranties are cheaper than my research in to third parties so that is good, but I believe they also only apply to the in-service date if I'm not mistaken. EDIT: Just found that it's from the contract date so that is much better than I originally thought.

Sometimes when researching things like this the negatives are amplified more loudly than the positives so it's reassuring to have some discussions about it with everyone.
 

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Well, granted, I just bought my first domestic car ever in the 2020 Pacifica, so I'm rolling the dice a little. My head told me to go with the Honda/Toyota, but really, this is going to be my main car and... well... I know it is just a minivan, but I feel like this gives me much more of an excitement feel than paying the $40k for the other competitors. Yes, ask me again in 3-5 years and hopefully I'll still have a good experience, but for me, looks, features, and pricing ultimately won me over.

I do feel that I might sacrifice reliability, but I'd also say that vehicles nowadays have so much tech/electronics/motorized parts that you'll never see the same kind of perceived reliability from the 'old days' of Honda/Toyota.

I'm also putting the money I saved vs a 2020 Ody/Sienna towards a 8yr/100,000 mile extended warranty. But, with that said, I probably would've done the same for Honda/Toyota too, just too much motorized stuff in these cars now that could fail.
 

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... Do I understand correctly that the lifetime warranties are no longer available? I was just looking in to that earlier today and it seems like they've ended that offer. The Zeigler warranties are cheaper than my research in to third parties so that is good, but I believe they also only apply to the in-service date if I'm not mistaken. EDIT: Just found that it's from the contract date so that is much better than I originally thought.

Sometimes when researching things like this the negatives are amplified more loudly than the positives so it's reassuring to have some discussions about it with everyone.
You are correct that the lifetime warranties are no longer available.
 

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I'm bias toward Chrysler and that's the only thing I will buy. I can't compare it to a Honda or Toyota. I buy a new one every two years and have it converted to a wheelchair van. I put 31k on my 2018 TLP (FOR SALE) and 1k on my 2020 Limited. During this time I have had zero problems. The only thing was recalls, oil changes and tire rotations. This is my seventh Chrysler Minivan and I've had no issues with any of them. But maybe I'm just lucky because my son bought a used 2019 Hemi Ram with 15k and it left him stranded twice in the first month with a rod hanging out of the block the last time.
 

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I am a new Pacifica owner, my first Chrysler product, my first minivan and my first automatic for that matter... I have, in so far, put 509 miles on mine (purchased new) and I love it, my kids love it, my wife really liked driving it (although she prefers driving the manual Focus ST turbo when she needs to do things that don't require hauling the entire family around)

All I can say is that buying any kind of vehicle will always be a gamble... the Pacifica Limited S with the UConnect and all the bells and whistles I got is a nightmare waiting to happen if something goes wrong... however, with that said, there is a reason why I got a Pacifica Limited S model and not the Voyager barebones with no options... Sure, one can argue that the Voyager with no options has much less of a chance of things freezing out, power functions failing, etc.. but do I want a barebones van with hand crank windows, no cruise control with these ancient turn-to-open keyed doors based on the premise that all these "extra" things can fail? Not in a million years I don't.

When there is a problem you simply deal with it, reevaluate if keeping the vehicle is worth keeping, execute upon that decision and move on. Life throws problems at you, you can't plan things expecting you'll never have a problem.

Personally, given how good the financing options are for new Pacificas I would look for a new one if at all possible... if Hertz et. all has good warranty then I would consider... but compare financing deals, if you can get a 0% on a new van, I would certainly go for that vs paying some high interest rate for a used vehicle...

The other offerings, the Sienna, Odyssey, Sedona, et. all, they are all boring and ugly as heck, inside and out... the Pacifica was "love at first sight" the first instant I saw one parked at the bike trail...

G.
 

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All I can say is that buying any kind of vehicle will always be a gamble...
Some of them are a far bigger gamble than others lol. There is no question that Chrysler has very low ratings for reliability. Chrysler vehicles are in fact some of the lowest rated vehicles on the road for reliability. Now with that said, reliability isn't everything...and the Pacifica is a great van...unquestionably the best designed, laid out, featured and priced van on the market but if reliability is high on your list its something you really have to think about.
 

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It has not been noted yet, but people who have flawless ownership experiences typically do not spend much time on this forum praising their vans. FCA may have somewhat of a reliability problem when compared to others but in two years of ownership, I have had only one slight problem that was quality related - a loose connection in the evap system. Do not agonize too much over the decision. If you buy a Pacifica and you have a problem, get it fixed. It is not the end of the world. So far I am loving mine
 

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Some of them are a far bigger gamble than others lol. There is no question that Chrysler has very low ratings for reliability. Chrysler vehicles are in fact some of the lowest rated vehicles on the road for reliability. Now with that said, reliability isn't everything...and the Pacifica is a great van...unquestionably the best designed, laid out, featured and priced van on the market but if reliability is high on your list its something you really have to think about.
Absolutely, well said.

I was/am well aware what I was getting myself into when purchasing a Chrysler product, hence why I bought my Pacifica new: If it has a problem, take it in and get a loaner. With that said, it quickly comes to memory the fact that Honda/Acura did had great reliability ratings back in 2003, so I purchased a brand new '04 Acura TL 6-speed... unfortunately, it turned out to be a slow draining money pit disappointment, but I stuck with it until the engine blew up at 104k miles and had to literally "push it" to the Ford dealer and buy a new car on the spot... A few days after buying the ST, during a follow up visit to the dealer found out that something in the vTec failed and one valve ended up inside the cylinder, so that was all she wrote. Like I said, I traded it (junked it?) for my current ST turbo, which sans one small incident with the security engine lockout due to a keyfob issue, it runs like the first day after almost 7 years, and I haven't precisely babied the car either... if you know what I mean. At some point I considered trading it for the Pacifica, but having that extra utility vehicle around and the fact it hasn't required any fixing I figured I'll keep it until it blows up, like the TL... if it ever does... that little 2.0L turbo EcoTec engine is supposed to be near indestructible... we'll see...

Then, like you stated, there is more to it than reliability, and the Pacifica IMO looked so good the first moment I saw it that it instantly ended my dilemma about what was the least ugly duckling minivan to buy, b/c before seeing the Pacifica I was sweating about which one of the lesser of the four/five evils I was going to pick...

My brother currently drives a '15 Cherokee Limited (he purchased it in 2014) and he hasn't had a single issue with the engine, nor the transmission. He, like you stated, he doesn't ever post on forums... so it is hard to gauge people who have flawless experiences on Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge products.

In the end, whoever designed the looks, styling, and finish of the 2017-2020 Pacifica, be it a team, or an individual, did his/her/their job really well. So congrats whoever you guys/gals are. Thank you, and here is my $$$$, take it! :)

G.
 
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I would think the Hertz vehicle would have had any teething problems worked out. I would do an oil change immediately, so you know for certain when oil was changed and what's in it.
I am a LOT older than you, and remember when the best cars need more maintenance than the worst cars do now.
Forums tend to favor the 'squeaky wheel' - most people don't come online to post 'everything working fine'.
 

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Teething problems is certainly one thing, but how much life is really left in the vehicle critical components is another. Its an even higher risk gamble, b/c if the van has been abused by one or two customers then its pretty much going to be a nightmare once things start to go, especially when you start mixing new-old parts in critical components of the vehicle...

G.
 
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