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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
5 / 7
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
41,958 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Dodge Dakota brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments (Page 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #38

May 022010


  • 37,000 miles


Driving at interstate speed, vehicle started abruptly pulling hard to the left. I stopped the vehicle, the brakes were hot, and I needed to accelerate greater than normal to get the car to move. Let the truck sit until brakes cooled off, and the problem didn't re-occur even after taking it to the Dodge dealer. They could not replicate the problem. Said they could start replacing brake parts in hopes of fixing it. The first incident was at 37,000miles, and just out of warranty. (Sept. Of 2005 was first time) the problem has happened about 8 times in the 54,000 miles I have on it now. No mechanic can tell me what's wrong, and it occurs intermittently out of the blue. I'm finding out that many, many other owners of the same make/model of vehicle have had similar incidents.

- Benson, NC, USA

problem #37

Aug 112009

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 35,670 miles
Front brake calipers, brake lines, brake pads, and rotors had to be replaced. Brakes were binding up and would not let the brake pads to release.

- Absecon, NJ, USA

problem #36

Aug 102009


  • 75,000 miles
At low speeds or when panic stopping at higher speeds rear wheels ABS will lock up. At 40mph approaching an intersection light turned yellow and I hit the brakes and rear locked up, I let off and applied/lockup/skid, let off applied/lockup/skid, let off applied/lockup/skid then stop, lucky I had sufficient room to stop. Simply trying to park has become an adventure. Took it to a dealer before above incident and was told that the brakes are fine but that rear were out of adjustment, and they swapped drums left to right and adjusted the brakes and it made it better for maybe a week or two.

- Chandler, AZ, USA

problem #35

Jun 132008


  • 48,000 miles


2002 Dodge Dakota front brake calipers sticking. Left, right or both calipers will not fully release after multiple brake applications resulting in heat build up in rotors, pads & calipers. This can be reduced by using the brakes less or expedited by using them more. The failure occurs consistently with multiple brake applications. The result is hot brakes and wheels with speeds <40mph or very hot, once igniited brakes at highway speeds. Pad rotors, and brake fluid have been changed & sliders greased, zero change. First incident occured at approximate incident date, then exponentially more frequently after.

- Avon Lake, OH, USA

problem #34

Jun 252009


  • 52,970 miles
Front brakes locked up while driving. Occurred once, was able to pull to side of road without causing an accident. Had to replace front L&R, rotors, calipers, pads, hoses and fluid.

- Atlantic, IA, USA

problem #33

Jun 112009


  • 42,000 miles
While driving the vehicle, the front brakes lock on. This has happened at least 3 times. The most recent time, I was driving 60 mph on the highway then I noticed a burning smell. The only solution is to park the vehicle and allow the brakes to cool down. At 60 degrees outdoor temperature, this took about an hour.

- Mundelein, IL, USA

problem #32

Apr 162009


  • 96,005 miles


Left front brake overheated, vehicle pulls hard to the left and very poor braking. Nearly had a bad accident at an intersection. Looked on the internet and found several other people had same problem. Will do my own maintenance when I found out the true fix.

- Milledgeville, GA, USA

problem #31

May 062006


  • miles
Bought truck new in 2002. Since then, the driver's side front caliper has seized up and locked that brake 4 times. The caliper squeezes the pad against the rotor causing the steering wheel to pull hard left, then the rotor overheats and smokes. I pull over before a fire starts. Have replaced calipers, pads, hoses, but symptoms still persist. I have to stop and wait until the brakes cool down (about an hour) before they function normally. Once I get to a repair shop, the brakes function normally and they tell me everything is fine. I looked online and found that I am not the only one this is happening to. On one site alone ( there are 15 others who are dealing with brake failure.

- Mims, FL, USA

problem #30

Jul 282008


  • 70,000 miles just view the web site above. The brakes on the passenger side of my 2002 Dodge Dakota lock-up and a significant amount of smoke came out of the wheel well. I was surprised to find out that this is occurring on many other Dakotas. Do a search online for Dodge Dakota smoking brakes and you will be amazed at the number of complaints out there. I truly think this is a safety issue that should be addressed.

- Riley, KS, USA

problem #29

Jun 042008


  • 25,250 miles
Truck operating normal until braking at intersection. Truck then pulled violently to the right upon braking. Smelled and noticed smoke coming from front of truck. Upon stopping had smoke coming from passenger-side front wheel/rotor. Got to the point where I was concerned that a fire was imminent due to the excessive heat. The tire/wheel on the front passenger-side was extremely hot. Next morning, the truck drove normal, no sign that the brake/rotor was damaged. Plan on taking in for thorough inspection. Noticed fifteen (15) similar complaints for 2002 Dodge Dakota with unexplained master cylinder lock-up.

- Fairfax, VA, USA

problem #28

Apr 112008


  • 95,000 miles


.. front passenger brake seized. Occurred during high traffic time with along with pull to right/could cause accident..came clear the next morning/ occurred again 1 mo. Later.. I replaced brake hose, caliper, rotor and brake pad, only been about 3 days since replacing.

- Nashville, TN, USA

problem #27

May 122008

Dakota 8-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
Front wheels (brakes) locked up on my 2002 Dodge Dakota for no apparent reason.

- Niceville, FL, USA

problem #26

Jan 092008

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles
The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Dakota. While driving 30 mph, the brakes failed. The contact stated that the brake pedal extends to the floor when it is depressed, but does not stop the vehicle. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 81,000 and failure mileage was 79,000.

- Halloway, NJ, USA

problem #25

Jul 122007

Dakota 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
Purchase 02 Dodge Dakota report brakes 3 time Dodge found now problems. Brakes, crash no injuries, also @40K miles intake leak, water pump @36 Dodge will not help with any repair cost they say its out side of warranty.

- Spring Hill, FL, USA

problem #24

Nov 302002

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 17,000 miles
No single incident. Many ABS braking problems every day. Replaced rotors, calipers, drums, brake shoes and rear sensor. Problem persists.

- St. Augustine, FL, USA

problem #23

Oct 172006

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 40,000 miles
: the contact stated while driving 1 mph and attempting to park in a garage, a noise was heard from the rear of the vehicle. Upon inspection, the contact noticed that the right rear brake shoe lining was destroyed. Also, on the rear left side the bonded lining was separated. The contact stated the parking brake had never been used. The vehicle was not seen by a dealer. The manufacturer was notified.

- Mindoro, WI, USA

problem #22

Aug 172006

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles
Within 29,500. Total miles covered in 4.5 years, there have been 5 episodes when either the front left or front right brake partially seized, which caused the vehicle to veer to one side upon application of the brakes, and emitted smoke. Two dealers have offered no plausible cause or remedy. Original brake pads, both front and rear, and the front discs and read drums were found to be badly worn at a mere 20,000. Miles of light service resulting in all pads being replaced and the rotors and drums being turned. Now at 29, 500. Miles the front rotors are showing signs of warpage. Ok, I'm not an expert, but I've driven about 15 vehicles over a total of a million miles and my feeling is that these brakes are undersized and constantly run too hot. The short brake life is nothing short of astounding. As the dealers seems stumped, my next move is to install racing brakes on the front complete with multiple piston calipers and drilled and slotted rotors. I'm betting that the smoking episodes will stop. One look at this vehicles complaints is all the NHTSA should have to see that there is a design problem, here.

- Hopatcong, NJ, USA

problem #21

Mar 102006

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 81,180 miles
2002 Dodge Dakota, 4 wheel drive,81,180 miles, front brakes seized. Had all brakes replaced on Aug 31, 2005. On November 10, 2005 left front rotor and pads seized, alert driving prevented possible vehicle. March 10, 2006, right front rotor seized and once again my alertness prevented another possible vehicle fire. This will be the fourth time the rotors and/or pads have been replaced on this vehicle.

- Highland, NY, USA

problem #20

Jun 242005

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,900 miles
While driving consumer saw smoke and the vehicle began to pull to the left and was shaking. The brakes locked up and it was difficult for the consumer to get the vehicle to move. The vehicle was taken to a mechanic but he couldn't get the vehicle's wheels to move. The mechanic told the consumer that the problem was that the calipers froze and the brake pads were so hot they appeared to be ready to catch on fire. The consumr had the problem repaired. The dealer claimed to know nothing about the failure and told the consumer to call NHTSA. The manufacturer has not been contacted yet.

- Redmond, WA, USA

problem #19

Aug 212004

Dakota 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 35,500 miles
Front disc brakes would not release while driving. Dealer could not find a problem. Occurred again on Dec 10, with front rotors turning bright red and smoking. Dealer found ABS system was not releasing hydraulic fluid, replaced ABS component, front rotors and brake pads. Occurred again on Dec 30 while driving, will return to dealer for resolution.

- Burgaw, NC, USA

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