I bought a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan. It has
146,000 miles. It has a pretty significant exhaust
leak. When the engine gets warmed up the
transmission starts to act up. There is also tge
smell of burning wires. Also, when the ac is on it
idles rough when you stop. I only paid $300 and its
a work car but I need to get it repaired. Any ideas
about what could be wrong?
Well hopefully you didn't get into a money pit. The mileage alone isn't enough to condemn this car, but if it had poor maintenance it will be hard to suggest where to begin with repairs... For starters, check all the fluid levels. By exhaust leak, do you mean at the manifold (which may be accompanied by a ticking), or are referring to just a bad/rotted exhaust (like a muffler or tail pipe?) If it's the former, get it to a mechanic and have the gasket replaced or tightened back up, if it's the latter, it may sound bad but will have minimal impact on performance. Just replace it when you can. The "burning wire" smell - it's easy to confuse the smell of an overheating engine/overheating coolant with the smell of burning wires, they have a similar acrid tang to them, but if you really had wires burning up you would immediately see other problems with electronics and with blown fuses. My suggestion as a precaution is pick up a mini- and maxi- fuse kit at any parts store, and go through the fuse boxes replacing any bad fuses using the little tester the kit comes with. Then to address the smell, which my guess is actually overheating coolant, you will want to take care of some basics with the cooling system. 1) test coolant for hydrocarbons with a product called "Block Tester" at Napa (or similar product) - if it fails this test stop wasting your money on this car now, its a blown head gasket and not worth the money to fix, if it passes continue: 2) check all hoses and flush coolant. 3) replace radiator cap (should be done every two years anyhow). 4) replace thermostat. 5) refill with proper premixed coolant, and bleed air from system. 6) keep an eye on engine temp - continued overheating may be a sign of a bad water pump or temp sensor (or a dreaded head gasket). For the rough idle, check the PCV valve and elbow for a vacuum leak. Like any car, a good tune up and replace filters will always help, problems that persist will then be easier to diagnose.
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