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How Reliable Is the Chrysler Pacifica Minivan?

Chrysler relaunched the Pacific as a minivan in 2017

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BY The Drive Staff / LAST UPDATED ON March 16, 2021

Chrysler Pacifica
Stellantis

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After an initial run as a crossover in the mid-200s, the Chrysler Pacifica reemerged for the 2017 model year as a handsome minivan. In addition to its sleek looks, it caught the attention of the automotive media and consumers alike with an available plug-in hybrid option. 

Since then, what was once shiny and new has become a part of the used car market, and prospective buyers are wondering the same thing they wonder about every previously owned vehicle: Is this thing reliable? Determining reliability can be difficult on cars five years old or newer, but that’s more than enough time to determine initial quality.

The quality of a vehicle can also be investigated using several methods, and The Drive wants to handle all the work and heavy lifting for you. We’ve combed through pages and pages of data and customer reviews to help you find the answer to your question. Let’s discuss.

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What Makes a Reliable Brand?

Reliability depends on a host of variables, but the two biggest structural supports are the development and manufacturing of a vehicle. When auto manufacturers spend the time and money developing a car and its manufacturing line, a car tends to last longer. Hastily designed, poorly manufactured, and cheaply constructed materials will all reduce a car’s longevity and reliability.

There’s also a work ethic variable that cannot be ignored. Honda and Toyota’s cultures of reliability-over-all embody that ethic and have thus kept each’s legendary reliability in the minds of consumers for decades. Lexus spent 15 years creating the perfect paint, for goodness’ sake. Add longer-than-normal warranties and good customer service, and it’s easy to see why these Japanese companies have enjoyed their strong standings for so long.

Yet, once a car leaves the dealership lot, outside factors impact a car’s durability.

What Impacts a Car’s Reliability?

Short answer: you. The longer answer is that a car’s reliability and longevity are inextricably tied to how you take care of your vehicle, your maintenance schedule (if you have one), your conservative or brash driving habits, and whether or not you live in climates where extreme weather could affect the car’s construction.

Preemptive maintenance like regular oil changes, fluid flushes, tire rotation, and fuel system cleaners, along with keeping the exterior and underside of your car clean, will all increase the life expectancy of your car. Keeping it out of the harsh desert or tropical sun, as well as away from the rust-inducing salted roadways of winter, will also extend its life.

And lastly, keeping the Mario Andretti driving antics to a minimum will keep your brakes, engine, tires, and chassis under-stressed and happy for far longer compared to hitting every trip to the grocery store like it’s the Indy 500. 

2021 Chrysler Pacifica Specs

Vehicle Type: Minivan

Doors: 4

Engine options: 3.6 L V6, 3.6 L V6 with hybrid.

AWD available: Yes.

Is the Chrysler Pacifica Reliable?

Reliability is generally something that depends on the person, the car, and the situation, so we cannot make a definitive statement that the Pacifica is reliable or unreliable. However, we have assembled several data points from numerous sources to present you with as much information as possible. 

Let’s start with common problems, as told by comments listed in the Pacifica’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) archives.

The Chrysler Pacifica Minivan’s NHTSA History

As collected by the NHTSA, these are the second-generation Pacifica's issues throughout the years.

2021

Recall: 0

Complaints: 0

2020

Recall: Rearview Image Can Remain On Display

Complaints: 11

2019

Recall 1: 12V Connector Post May Overheat Causing Fire

Recall 2: Rearview Image Can Remain On Display

Recall 3: Rearview Image Can Remain on Radio Display

Recall 4: Engine Stall or Loss of Power Steering Assist

Recall 5: Voltage Regulator May Fail and Cause Stall

Complaints: 69

2018

Recall 1: Rearview Image Can Remain on Radio Display

Recall 2: Engine Stall or Loss of Power Steering Assist

Recall 3: Control Arm May Separate From Steering Knuckle

Recall 4: Voltage Regulator May Fail and Cause Stall 

Recall 5: Loss of Drive From Incomplete Transmission Weld

Recall 6: Axle Shaft May Disengage Causing Loss of Drive

Recall 7: Unintentional Vehicle Movement

Recall 8: Cruise Control Cannot Be Canceled

Recall 9: Fire Extinguisher May Be Clogged or Inoperable

Recall 10: Second Row Left Seat Belt May Be Unlatched

Complaints: 310

2017

Recall 1: Engine Stall or Loss of Power Steering Assist

Recall 2: Unintentional Vehicle Movement

Recall 3: Cruise Control Cannot Be Canceled

Recall 4: Engine Stall Due To Software Issue

Recall 5: Second Row Left Seat Belt May Be Unlatched

Recall 6: Rear Pinion Brackets May Crack

Recall 7: Rear Brakes Possibly Crossed During Assembly

Recall 8: Center Passenger Seat Belts May Become Inoperable

Complaints: 778

Investigations: 1

NHTSA Investigation Into 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Stalling

On December 1, 2017, the NHTSA announced recall No. 18V049000 for 153,859 2017 Chrysler Pacificas due to the engine stalling because of a “software issue.” The NHTSA investigation filing says: 

On January 11, 2018, and after technical discussions with ODI, FCA filed a defect information report advising the agency that it would conduct a safety recall of certain MY2017 Chrysler Pacificas to address a condition resulting in engine stalling without warning. The recall would address nearly 154,000 MY2017 Pacificas manufactured with engine control software that did not contain a routine intended to address the loss of crankshaft position information required to keep the engine from stalling. FCA noted the condition could lead to a stall without illuminating a Malfunction Indicator Lamp, and without setting any Diagnostic Trouble Code. Given these conditions, dealer technicians would be unable to properly diagnose, much less correct the cause of the stalling, which resulted in additional stalling events and significant consumer frustration.

“ODI reviewed consumer complaints it received through the date of FCA's recall filing and identified 88 alleging engine stalling. The ODI complaints generally describe stalling that occurs at the low engine (RPM) and/or vehicle speeds and are consistent in that regard with most of the 445 reports FCA provided. Also, both the ODI and FCA reports note that the engine could be readily restarted after stalling. Both circumstances are consistent with the root cause FCA identified and is conducting a recall to address. Additionally, FCA was able to identify an older vehicle population that used the same engine as the MY2017 Pacifica, however, the vehicles were manufactured with the remedy level software; according to FCA reports of stalling in this population were significantly lower. No crash or injury reports were identified in either the ODI or FCA reports. Certain MY2017 and all MY2018 Pacificas were manufactured with the remedy level software and are thus not included in the recall action.

Other Major Chrysler Pacifica Recalls

Engine Stall or Loss of Power Steering Assist, May 9, 2019

NHTSA number: 19V348000

Model year: 2017-2019

Vehicles affected: 198,731

Unintentional Vehicle Movement, June 14, 2018

NHTSA number: 18V395000

Model year: 2017-2018

Vehicles affected: 240,242

Cruise Control Cannot Be Canceled

NHTSA number: 18V332000

Model year: 2017-2018

Vehicles affected: 4,815,661, including several other FCA vehicles

Common Chrysler Pacifica Problems and Repair Costs (H2)

As with other car brands, not all of Chrysler’s models are built to the same exacting standards. Here’s a quick rundown of problematic Pacifica offerings, including the issues, customer complaints, and repair costs that will help you make the best decision when purchasing your next car.

2017 Model Year: Hard Shifting 

Average Estimated Repair Costs: $3,300, according to CarComplaints.com

Customer Complaint

“Usually while driving slow (ex. slow roll right-hand turn, driving through a parking lot, or in stop and go traffic) letting off of the accelerator and upon using the accelerator to start slow acceleration the car kicks upon acceleration. Feels like someone hits you from behind. Also appears as though the transmission is trying to find a gear and finally engages with a kick. This vehicle has been at the dealership, for this reason, multiple times with no resolution, stating the issue could not be replicated. Have also opened three cases with Chrysler care which were closed for the same reason. The transmission kick occurs at random times and can't be replicated on-demand.

2018 Model Year Hybrid: Catalytic Converter Melting

Average Estimated Repair Costs: NA

Customer Complaint:

“The contact owns a 2018 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid. while driving at an unknown speed, the vehicle emitted a burning odor. The vehicle was towed to lia Chrysler jeep dodge ram Northampton (263 king street, Northampton, ma 01060, (855) 315-8182) to be diagnosed, but the dealer was unable to locate the burning odor. the dealer found that the battery was discharged. The battery was recharged, but not replaced. 

“The odor recurred while driving home and the check engine indicator illuminated. The contact took the vehicle to Bayside Chrysler jeep dodge (212 northern blvd, bayside, NY 11361, (718) 229-8700) where it was diagnosed that the catalytic converter was clogged and was not performing normally. the catalytic converter was replaced. The manufacturer was contacted. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 18v740000 (hybrid propulsion system, engine, and engine cooling). The failure mileage was 1,000.”

JD Power Consumer Quality and Reliability Score

According to JD Power, this score, “Measures the level of defects, malfunctions and design flaws experienced by vehicle owners. Covers the entire vehicle from engine to infotainment system. A higher rating means fewer problems.” 

Minivan, Second Generation

2021: 76/100

2020: 76/100

2019: 73/100

2018: 71/100

2017: 64/100

The 2004-2008 First-Generation Chrysler Pacifica Crossover

Regardless of whether or not a car is reliable, you should always have it checked by a certified trusted mechanic before you decide to purchase it. The Pacifica is no different, particularly when talking about the first generation. Between 2004-2008, the Chrysler Pacifica existed as a bulbous minivan-like crossover, and according to CarComplaints.com, it suffered from several rust issues, including the frame and the engine cradle. The 2005-2006 models have the most complaints on that website.

FAQs About Chrysler Pacifica Reliability

You’ve got questions, The Drive has answers!

Q: Is The Pacifica Expensive To Maintain?

A: The Pacifica should not be any more or less expensive than a car on a typical maintenance schedule.

Q: Is a Pacifica High Maintenance?

A: The hybrid variant might require some extra research to understand how it works and best charging practices, but overall, the Pacifica should follow regular maintenance schedules. Check the owner’s manual for specifics.

Q: How Many Miles Does a Pacifica Last?

A: According to Consumer Reports, new cars are all designed to exceed 8 years or about 200,000 miles, and a few used examples prove this is possible with the Pacifica. 

Q: Is the Chrysler Pacifica Overrated?

A: That depends entirely on how you feel. Overrated means different things to different people, but the Pacifica has received a lot of hype about its nice styling, its luxe interior, and its innovative hybrid powertrain.

More Information

Here are a few more resources you can use:

  • Chrysler.com
  • Chrysler Pacifica Recalls 
  • Chrysler Pacifica Reviews
EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

Endurance

Save $350 on an Endurance warranty plan with coupon code: DRIVE350

Going with a factory extended warranty is a good option for basic protection, but you can get more and save more with Endurance, ranked the top extended warranty provider by Consumer Advocates, Consumer Affairs, and Retirement Living.

Get a Free Quote

Save $350 with coupon code: DRIVE350

EXTENDED WARRANTY COVERAGE MORE … FOR LESS

CarShield

CarShield — USA’s #1 Auto Protection Provider

CarShield pays claims directly to a US or Canadian ASE-Certified® repair facility of your choice. Our contracts have low or no deductibles to prevent stress to your wallet at a critical time. Never worry about being stranded somewhere after a breakdown. All of our vehicle repair contracts include towing services to transport you and your vehicle to a safe repair facility.

Get a Free Quote