2017 Chrysler Pacifica Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Transmission, Electrical and Engine issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

The Chrysler Pacifica seamlessly blends form and function, making it one of the most popular minivans on the road. For 2017, the Pacifica was offered both as a traditional model and as a hybrid. Although it’s less than a year old, the trendy van has begun to have problems. According to owner submitted complaints to the NHTSA, the most common issues are with the engine, electrical system and transmission.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2018   2019

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Problems with the Engine

On older Pacifica models, the engine is known to fall out of the vehicle while driving, due to a rusted cradle. So far, the 2017 model hasn’t shown signs of that concern. There are, however, engine problems that have begun to surface.

Rough Engine Idle

Chrysler recently released a technical service bulletin (TSB) about 2017 Pacificas with a rough engine idle. The 3.6L V6 engine found in these vehicles may have an incorrect number of balance holes drilled into the crankshaft.

The crankshaft is the primary rotating component inside engine. Pistons and connecting rods attach directly to the crankshaft. As combustion takes place inside the engine, the crankshaft turns and the pistons move up and down.

Needless to say, the crankshaft is vital engine component. It’s also very labor intensive to replace. But, that’s exactly what must be done if the crankshaft has an incorrect number of balance holes.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Engine Problems:

I PURCHASED A BRAND NEW 2017 CHRYSLER PACIFICA AND WAS HAD 309 MILES ON THE CAR WHEN I HAD THIS INCIDENT. I WAS DRIVING APPROXIMATELY 65MPH IN THE LEFT MOST LANE WHEN I SUDDENLY LOST ALL POWER TO THE ENGINE, STEERING, AND BRAKES AND WAS UNABLE TO ACCELERATE OR BRAKE NORMALLY. I USED QUITE A BIT OF STRENGTH TO MANEUVER THE CAR TO THE RIGHT SHOULDER AND NEARLY WAS REAR ENDED BY A SEMI TRUCK IN DOING SO AS THERE WAS NO SHOULDER ON THE LEFT HANDS SIDE. DURING THIS TIME PERIOD, ALL OF THE LIGHTS IN THE INSTRUMENT CLUSTER WERE FLASHING VARIOUS WARNINGS AND FAILURE SYMBOLS. I WAS ABLE TO GET TO THE SHOULDER, SHUT OFF THE CAR AND RESTART IT AT WHICH POINT THE CAR WAS VIOLENTLY SHAKING AND AGAIN GIVING MANY FLASHING WARNINGS. I DROVE AT A MAX SPEED OF 16MPH TO A SAFER LOCATION OFF THE HIGHWAY AT WHICH POINT THE CAR AGAIN STALLED AND STOPPED. THE CAR WAS THEN TOWED TO THE DEALER.

THE FIRST PROBLEM WAS THAT THE CAR SHUDDERED AND MADE LOUD “CLUNKING” NOISES WHEN SHIFTING GEARS. IT WOULD OFTEN QUIT RUNNING WHEN AT LOW SPEEDS AS IN PARKING LOTS. WHILE AT HIGH SPEEDS ON THE INTERSTATE CAR JUST DIDN’T FEEL “RIGHT.” WANTED TO QUIT. TOOK IT IN THE FIRST TIME AND THEY REPROGRAMMED THE TRANSMISSION WHICH SEEMED TO HELP FOR A SHORT WHILE. THEN, IT STARTED ACTING UP AGAIN AND WHEN RETURNING TO THE DEALER THIS TIME THEY ADVISED A LUBRICANT WAS NEEDED. NOT SURE WHAT OR WHERE THIS WAS APPLIED.

THIS CAR HAS HAD MULTIPLE STALLS, WHEREAS WHEN DRIVING, THE ENGINE WILL SHUT DOWN AND STEERING BE AFFECTED. THIS HAS HAPPENED IN THE MIDDLE OF AN INTERSECTION WITH MY CHILDREN IN THE CAR. THERE ARE NO WARNING SIGNS THAT THIS WILL HAPPEN, THE CAR JUST SUDDENLY BECOMES INOPERABLE. YOU HAVE TO PLACE IN PARK FOR 30 SECONDS AND THEN RESTART THE CAR. THIS CAR IS EXTREMELY DANGEROUS TO DRIVE. THE DIAGNOSTIC IS A FUEL PRESSURE SENSOR, BUT FURTHER RESEARCH INDICATES THIS IS A WIDESPREAD PROBLEM THAT CHRYSLER MAY BE AWARE OF.

Problems with the Electrical System

The 2017 Chrysler Pacifica hybrid has an EPA estimated combined fuel economy of 32 mpg. Not bad for a van. Unfortunately, the hybrid was the focus of a major recall issued in June 2017.

Power Inverter Module Failure

An inverter is a device found in a hybrid that converts DC voltage into AC voltage. This is necessary because the hybrid battery supplies DC voltage and the electric motors use and create AC voltage. Typically, the inverter assembly also houses a DC to DC converter, which is used to charge the 12-volt battery and power the 12-volt system. The DC/DC converter takes the place of a traditional alternator.

On the Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid, the inverter assembly is called the power inverter module (PIM). The PIM is the brains of the entire hybrid system that directly controls the hybrid motors.

A recall has been issued regarding the PIM, which has diodes inside it that may fail, leading to an overvoltage condition. When this happens, the vehicle will not move under its own power, increasing the risk of a crash.

Chrysler recently announced a campaign to address the issue. The repair campaign involves reprogramming several onboard computers, including the PIM. On vehicles with less than 700 miles, the PIM must also be replaced.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Electrical System Problems

WHILE THE CAR WAS IN MOTION AT APPROXIMATELY 20 MPH ON A CITY STREET I LOST ALL POWER AND CAR TURNED OFF, STEERING LOCKED AND WAS ABLE TO COAST HALF OFF THE ROAD. CAR STILL SAID IT WAS ON AND IN DRIVE BUT WAS COMPLETELY OFF. SCREEN SAID “CAR MUST BE IN PARK TO PLACE IN DRIVE”. DEALER HAS BEEN UNABLE TO LOCATE ISSUE AND RELEASED CAR TO ME. I FEEL EXTREMELY UNSAFE DRIVING THIS VEHICLE. 

WHILE STOPPED, THE VEHICLE LOST POWER AND DISPLAYED A MESSAGE “VEHICLE MUST BE IN PARK TO SHIFT” OR SOMETHING ALONG THOSE LINES. LUCKILY THE VEHICLE WAS STOPPED AND NOT MOVING WHEN IT LOST POWER. THIS IS VERY SERIOUS BECAUSE ALL PROPULSION FROM THE VEHICLE WAS LOST. THE CAR DID RESTART AFTER IT WAS SHIFTED INTO P AND THE START BUTTON WAS PUSHED (WITH A FOOT ON THE BRAKE). CHRYSLER HAS KNOWN ABOUT THIS ISSUE FOR MONTHS NOW VIA THE ONLINE FORUM DISCUSSING THE ISSUE AND APPEARS TO BE DOING NOTHING ABOUT IT PROACTIVELY AND IS CERTAINLY NOT COMMUNICATING ABOUT THE ISSUE WITH ITS CUSTOMERS.

WHILE DRIVING, THE ENGINE STOPS AND THE DASHBOARD AND SHIFTER LIGHTS START BLINKING. THE MESSAGE “VEHICLE MUST BE IN PARK TO SHIFT GEARS” DISPLAYS ON THE DASHBOARD. THIS IS INCREDIBLY DANGEROUS AND HAS HAPPENED 3 TIMES NOW. OUR FAMILY WAS ALMOST STRUCK BY ONCOMING TRAFFIC.

Problems with the Transmission

An illuminated check engine light is always unnerving. On some 2017 Pacificas, the check engine light may come on due to faulty programming inside the transmission control module (TCM).

Transmission Shift and Drivability Enhancements

Chrysler recently issued a technical service bulletin (TSB) regarding 2017 Pacificas with faulty TCM software. The TCM is the computer responsible for monitoring and controlling the transmission. Due to the faulty software, the TCM may cause the transmission to shift improperly. When this happens, the TCM will also turn on the check engine light. Per Chrysler, the fix is to reprogram the TCM.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2017 Chrysler Pacifica Transmission Problems

THE CONTACT OWNS A 2017 CHRYSLER PACIFICA. WHILE ATTEMPTING TO ACCELERATE FROM A RED LIGHT, THE VEHICLE FAILED TO ACCELERATE AND THE ONBOARD COMPUTER DISPLAYED A TRANSMISSION CODE. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO A DEALER. THE MECHANIC STATED THAT THERE WAS NO TRANSMISSION CODE AND THAT THE FAILURE WAS DUE TO THE CONTACT FUELING THE VEHICLE WHILE THE ENGINE WAS RUNNING. WHILE THE CONTACT WAS TURNING LEFT AT AN INTERSECTION AT 10 MPH, THE VEHICLE FAILED TO ACCELERATE AGAIN AND STOPPED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE INTERSECTION. AFTER 5-6 SECONDS, THE VEHICLE JERKED FORWARD AND ACCELERATED AS THE CHECK ENGINE INDICATOR ILLUMINATED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO THE DEALER AGAIN, BUT WAS NOT DIAGNOSED OR REPAIRED. THE FAILURE OCCURRED FOUR TIMES. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURES. THE APPROXIMATE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 7,000.

TRANSMISSION FAILED ON US 3 TIMES. FIRST WAS BACKING OUT OF A PARKING SPOT, TOTALLY LOCKED UP FOR 15 MINUTES. RESET AND RAN FINE. NEXT, WITH WIFE AND 3 KIDS IN THE VAN, TRANSMISSION LOCKED UP AT 45 MILES PER HOUR ALMOST CAUSING HER TO CRASH AND GET HIT. ALL LIGHTS CAME ON AND ELECTRONIC PARKING BRAKE ENGAGED. DEALERSHIP TOOK 2 WEEKS TO FIX AND SAID IT WAS FINE. NEXT, I WAS DRIVING AT 55 MPH AND TRANSMISSION LOCKED UP. ALMOST DIED. NO A/A BY THE GRACE OF GOD. ALL LIGHTS CAME ON AND PARKING BRAKE ENGAGED AGAIN. NOW, CHRYSLER IS REPLACING THE ENTIRE TRANSMISSION. WE WON’T TAKE IT BACK. FAMILY ALMOST DIED TWICE

AFTER PLACING THE VEHICLE IN REVERSE AND APPLYING GAS THE VEHICLE WILL START TO REVERSE AS INTENDED. HOWEVER, AFTER MOVING SEVERAL FEET THE TRANSMISSION COMPLETELY FAILS AND THE VEHICLE DOES NOT RESPOND TO ADDED PRESSURE FROM THE GAS PEDAL. IT’S AS IF THE TRANSMISSION SHIFTS TO NEUTRAL ON ITS OWN AND THE ENGINE REVS ITS RPMS WITH NO RESULT. THIS HAS HAPPENED AT LEAST 3 TIMES ON A SLIGHT INCLINE AND THE VEHICLE BEGINS TO ROLL UNCONTROLLABLY. IT CREATES MOMENTS OF CONFUSION FOR THE DRIVER SINCE THEY BELIEVE THEY SHOULD BE MOVING BACKWARDS IN REVERSE BUT THE TRANSMISSION LETS GO AND STARTS TO ACTUALLY ROLL FORWARDS. THIS HAS HAPPENED AT HOME IN THE DRIVE WAY AS WELL AS IN A PUBLIC PARKING LOT. AFTER THE SCENARIO HAPPENS, THE R ON THE SHIFTER BLINKS UNCONTROLLABLY. THE ONLY WAY TO RESET THE CAR IS TO TURN IT OFF AND RESTART IT. AT THAT POINT IT APPEARS THE TRANSMISSION RE-ENGAGES.

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18 COMMENTS
  • Lina M

    Ditto to it ALL! My van is right now at the second dealership to be “fixed” they replaced the batteries AGAIN, (it was this past March they were first replaced) I took videos and pictures of the dash to show my husband every time it did something new. Auto stop thing broke, hard shifting, not turning off, dying while I was driving, engine not turning on but all the accessories were on. We have been told every excuse that has been posted. I was stuck on the highway too with my 3 kids in the back. I YouTubed what to do. So we tried everything on our own to fix the problems because we stopped trusting anyone who were employed by Chrysler. I called them out on Twitter, so corporate now knows of all the problems. They paid for a rental vehicle and the battery replacement. I can honestly say this won’t be the last problem I have since NOBODY wants to say it’s the damn transmission or that the van is a total lemon!!!

  • Debbie D

    Looks like Chrysler still cant figure out how to put together a quality transmission/engine. We have a 2009 Town & Country. Shortly after buying it, we started having problems with the engine stalling on the exit ramp after highway driving. Took it to the dealer several times. Each time they told me there was nothing wrong with the car. Finally came across a Lemonlaw website with tons of people complaining about the same thing. I finally called Chrysler corporate to complain. The lady I spoke to said that she wasn’t familiar with any other complaints like mine. I then told her about all of the other folks online complaining as well and that Chrysler was probably looking at a class action lawsuit. I had also taken the van to our regular auto shop. Lucky for us, one of their mechanics used to work for Chrysler and knew exactly what was wrong without taking it for a ride. Told us it should be covered by our powertrain warranty and that we needed a new transmission. Once I explained all of this to Chrysler I told her that if they didn’t replace our transmission, I would be taking all of this info to our local consumer reporter. The problem stopped with the new transmission. There are so many features I still love in this van and might have considered a new Pacifica, but I dont want to go through those same issues again.

  • Guy S

    I have a 2017 Pacifica and as I stopped and applied the brakes the van engine races to 30000 RPM I also bought the safety to stop the van when you are close to a car failed I had to put the van into park to stop the van thic happens tee times. Chrysler says the could not find any problem. I therefore put Chrysler on notice that if I have an accident harm myself kill anyone or course damage Chrysler is now put on notice. Guy Spinelli 815-353-9177

  • DEBRA C

    2017 Chrysler unlimited,
    Been complaining about transmission finaly they took it in and said they had to retrain the computer brain. driving down the road at 30 mph car shifted so hard threw me forward and also my passenger . doing it again mentioned it to the dealer and they said they will have to try to retrain it again just make an appointment to bring it back in. the computers everywhere in the car are always failing. my dvd system had to be reprogramed , my radio had to be reprogramed last time I took the car back from the garage the reprogramed the transmission and now my buttons don’t work to fold down my back seats and my buttons in the front monitor don’t work to fold down my head rest and my back up camera is angled so bid it really doesn’t know where it is. to top it all of tonight I go to a friends house shut the car off . go in to visit come back out to leave and my car wont start says SHIFTING IS UNAVAILABLE , BREAK SYSTEM IS UNAVAILABLE , EVERYTHIN IS JUST COMING UP UNAVAILABE PAID 50 THOUSAND DOLLARS FOR THIS UNAVAILABLE PIECE OF CRAP THAT IS WAITING FOR THE TOW TRUCK. THE THING IS GOING TO KILL US.

  • Martha r

    Cluster screen is black

  • Largo

    Just bought a 2017 pacifica with 48000 miles, I was feeling a little stall at low speed, but it wasn’t until I felt like I got rear ended that I had major concerns. Took it to the dealer but they couldn’t find anything wrong. They told me to bring the car in and they are going to reset it. Something about the car needing to learn my driving habits and resseting it should fix the issues. Which I have to pay for, have only had the van for a week. I beginning to think I may have made a bad deal, but they won’t refund my money. What can I do?

  • Joseph J

    I have 2017 Pacifica Touring-L. Got 24K miles. Ever since after 8K miles the van jerks after coming from a stop, like I am rear ended. Took it to the dealer and they couldn’t duplicate the problem they said. Last week, while I was stopped at red light, the engine stalled and the screen said “Vehicle must be in park to shift”. Had to shift to park and press the start button twice for the engine to start again. Also at the gas stations, the pump clicks off most of the time. I don’t recommend this van at all.

  • Christopher K

    An update for everyone….. The new transmission was almost immediately followed by hard shifts. Dealer won’t doing anything. Chrysler won’t do anything. Newest issue….. the paint problem……….. This vehicle is a lemon but Chrysler refused to accept that so I’m stuck with a POS. I’m up to roughly 40K miles at this point.

  • Michelle

    I just got a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica 8 days ago with 30405 and the past three days it’s been jerking when coming from a complete stop today while driving it saying my key fob left the vehicle when it was in the cup holder next to me reading the reviews sounds like I might of got my self I. A big mess I’m calling the dealer tomorrow while there still has a warranty what do I do I’m not even all the way finance at this point still need to send more information can i get out of it

  • Michelle

    I just got a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica 8 days ago with 30405 and the past three days it’s been jerking when coming from a complete stop today while driving it saying my key fob left the vehicle when it was in the cup holder next to me reading the reviews sounds like I might of got my self I. A big mess I’m calling the dealer tomorrow while there still has a warranty what do I do I’m not even all the way finance at this point still need to send more information

  • Ivan A

    I bought a 2017 Pacifica with 37K miles last year I drove only 3K in a year. On January 16 2019, the car just stopped in a corner when i was returned from NJ whit my family, it did not move, when I pressed the gas it did not move, it seems the transmission, i took it to the dealer and after two week they told me that it was a broken axle. The same day i drove for a few times and I could not park because the gear was not letting me, i took back to the dealer and they said it was a software issue which they “fix” it. Unfortunately, next day drove a few times during the day and every time I tried to park i receive this message “Service Trans Press Brake When Stopped Key Off Engine to Engage Park” I am planning to drop off the car on Monday to check again. So, what do need to happen for me to return the car to the dealer or Chrysler? any advise? I do not want the car anymore. to all: DO NOT BUY CHRYSLER PACIFICA.

  • james m

    i have a 2017 chrysler pacifica i can only get gas at only about 50% of the gas stations, after about 16 cents worth of gas the pump clicks off. at other gas stations it gas up like it suppose to with no problems I went to the dealer twice with negative results

  • Willard T

    I have a chrysler 2017 pacifica…..transmission problems…..I have taken it to galeana chrysler in ft. Myers, fl several times…..my issue is this: at low speeds, the car jerks, like I am rear ended…..it has happened umteem Times….I called chrysler headquarters…..they told me to take it to galeana again….I told them, this car only has 23000 miles and it has happened since I purchased new….I told them I want a new transmission….they said galeana has not mentioned a new transmission….I am losing patience…I told them, I would buy a Honda next time…..

  • KORAY A

    I HAVE 2017 CHRYSLER PACIFICIA AT MARYLAND MY CAR BEEN AT SERVICE 6 TIMES AND CANT FIGURE OUT WHATS WRONG , MY ENGINE LIGHT STILL ON , I CALLED CHRYSLER FOR RE-PURCHASE THE VEHICLE THEY SAID NO , I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO ? WORST CAR BUYING EXPERIENCE
    I DO NOT RECOMMANDED CHRYSLER

  • David R

    I have a 2017 Chrysler Pacifica that has transmission issues similar to some described above. Ironically I deliver transmission parts on a long courier route so the vehicle at 19 month old has 188k miles. Last week the transmission started to hard shift but only does it at low speeds and only when I accelerate slowly. I have had the fluid changed twice last time at 170k. Also there is a whirring sound that I’ve read can be attributed to the trans filter becoming clogged.

    Transmission shop got it to act up in a test ride but there scan tool doesn’t show any codes and there is no check engine light on. So they found a used trans from a wreck and installing for $2100 for the trans and $1234 for labor and fluid at $40 a quart X 6.5!

    Other issues have included the hood rusting from both sides toward the front in the same spot, occasional static sound coming from a speaker (started at 10k miles) only when turning. I’m thinking I should have bought a used Sienna with low miles for the same price. Live and learn, I guess. Lastly, yes I have 188k and that, under normal conditions, would be fine for a transmission to get to before going kaput. But with highway miles on delivery routes, another driver on a different route with a 2012 Ford Escape had his last until 460k!

  • Ann M

    My Chrysler Pacifica has been in the shop for transmission issues at least 7 times. At 12,000 miles Chrysler immediately replaced the transmission due to a THUD sound. The second transmission started the same thing when at 19K miles. NOW they say it just “makes that sound” I went to arbitration with them, they truly had no defense. Somehow I lost the arbitration? They told me again to go back to the dealership, I walked in and the dealer had no clue why I was there. It thuds when touching the gas. I now have 24K miles and a 70K mile warranty that they won’t honor. The rusting hood was repaired under the warranty.

  • Christopher K

    Just had my transmission replaced in my 2017 CP. I purchased in August of 2017 and almost immediately started having issues with tranny, engine, ASS, etc etc.. Dealer did not believe me until it finally broke down after getting stuck in 1st gear and throwing an actual consistent engine light. I’m hoping that the new tranny lasts……Not confident.

  • Danielle S

    My 2017 pacifica is doing everything listed above, plus the airbag service is on too. It is saying that the airbag system has an issue. ALong with that my engine stalled going around 65 mph the other day. Thankfully we weren’t hit by anything behind us! Along with all that, my passenger side seatbelt doesn’t work properly. I have had the vehicle into 2 dealerships multiple times for the transmission and other issues and have yet to have them fixed! I pay over 750 a month for a vehicle I am scared to put my family in! This is not okay!

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