Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

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definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,903 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.

2003 Dodge Dakota engine problems

engine problem

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2003 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments

problem #14

Jul 012016

Dakota 8-cyl

  • miles


2003 Dodge Dakota. Consumer writes in regards to dealership unable to diagnose and repair engine stalling problems. After having a computer update performed, the vehicle continued to stall.

- Mount Juliet, TN, USA

problem #13

Mar 262012

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 131,505 miles
I have owned a 2003 Dodge Dakota V6 for the past 3 years and never had a problem until I took it to the dealership in union city ga yesterday for a routine oil change. After waiting 2 hours, they told me they were having a problem getting oil in the engine because there was sludge in the engine which was causing the oil to go in slowly. They recommended adding an oil additive. An hour later they returned my car to me. I started driving out of the lot my car was running rough. Two blocks later the oil light came on, engine started a little ticking and ran rougher. I turned around, driving about 5 mph, barely made it back to the dealership. They said there was 6 qt of oil in the engine. They would have to start over. Half hour later, they came out and said now they had no oil pressure at all and they would had to remove the oil pan and maybe have to replace the oil plump and other parts. I may need a new engine or have it rebuilt. They would call me today and let me know. Mind you, I have never had a problem until they did the oil change this time. Now that I check the computer, I find hundreds of people have a problem with sludge and loss of oil pressure in the Dodge Dakota for no reason. This is very dangerous. All of a sudden there is no oil pressure while you are driving.

- Atlanta, GA, USA

problem #12

Oct 012010


  • 90,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that the vehicle stalled intermittently, without warning. The vehicle was taken to a local mechanic several times for the failure. The mechanic was unable to diagnose the failure. The local mechanic replaced the spark plugs and the O2 sensors, but the failure was not corrected. The vehicle continued to stall intermittently. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 90,000 and the current mileage was 135,000. The VIN information was not available.

- Harman , WV, USA

problem #11

Feb 032009


  • 82,000 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota quad cab. The contact stated that the radiator in the vehicle failed. He went to thompson Chrysler and Dodge and had the vehicle repaired; however, he was not satisfied with the repairs. The radiator still leaks fluid and the contact would just like his vehicle repaired properly. The VIN was not included in the recall. The NHTSA campaign id number and VIN were unknown. The current mileage was 88,000 and failure mileage was 82,000.

- Augusta, GA, USA

problem #10

Apr 242003

Dakota 8-cyl

  • 5,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota quad cab. Whenever the brake pedal was applied, the brakes would pulsate, overheat, and lock up. The stopping distance would also increase. The dealer stated that wet conditions and high speed braking caused the rotors to warp. In addition, the vehicle idles high and roughly when approaching a stop sign or traffic light. When accelerating from a stop or merging into traffic, the vehicle would idle roughly. There was no throttle response for approximately 10 to 20 seconds, but then the vehicle would surge forward. The vehicle has been taken to a dealer approximately five times for these issues, but the failures still persist. All the sensors were replaced, but the failure is becoming worse. The dealer replaced the front rotors three times and the contact replaced them four times. The current mileage was 132,655 and failure mileage was 5,000. Updated 11/06/08. The rotors and brakes were replaced several times. The consumer was told the vehicle had a faulty master cylinder that was not letting the rear brakes ever work. The air conditioner was built to drain into the front passenger floor. The computer in the vehicle would not accept updates. The intermediate shaft was replaced. The wiper motor was replaced. Updated 11/06/08.

- Franklin, NC, USA

problem #9

Jun 012003


  • miles
Two weeks after purchasing the vehicle and upon making a right turn there was a loss of power. Vehicle continued to run, but the vehicle would not move. This has happened four times. Also, check engine light illuminateed, and evaporation leaked. Took vehicle to the dealer, but problem recurred.

- Long Grove, IA, USA

problem #8

Apr 182004


  • Automatic transmission
  • 11 miles


I have a light knocking in my engine. The first time I took it to the dealer, they stated there was something wrong with the engine, but unable to indentify the problem. I took it back again. They had it for 3 days, and said there was nothing wrong with it. They say all Dodge engines make that noise. Unknown to them, I have 2 and my other does not make the same noise. It has occasionally stalled both backing up and going forward. There is a pulling to the right even after having it aligned and balanced. It does not shift properly and won't stay in cruise control while climbing a hill. Also my oil hose was loose causing a rattling under the hood. The light showing you the gear your in did not work properly. Over all the worse vehicle I have ever owned with a hefty tag.

- Medina, NY, USA

problem #7

Jun 012004

Dakota 6-cyl

  • miles
Various problems with 2003 Dodge Dakota. There were backfires at times, the pedal would barely move at stop signs, when backing out, the vehicle would stay in second gear for a long period of time and the consumer would have to let off of the gas pedal then shift into high gear, sometimes the vehicle wouldn't shift into overdrive, then as soon as it started to misfire, the vehicle would drop to overdrive, the cruise control was inoperative, there was a whine and or howl in the rear differential around 50 mph, the engine light would never come on, sometimes the shift lever would be placed in park and the vehicle would start, at times when shifting to reverse or drive, the vehicle would not move and the would have to be jerked around on the shift lever, the heater controls were inoperative, and there were noises when the lights on the radio were turned on. The valve on the transmission was change and helped the vehicle, but sometimes when the vehicle was shifted up or down in gear it would be a problem.

- Eldorado, WI, USA

problem #6

Nov 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
When the truck is started and put into drive it hesitates then shifts really hard. Also when the truck is started and allowed to warm up for around three minutes it dies when it is put in reverse. When it does this none of the lights on the instrument panel come on. The truck just dies. I have had the truck into the dealership four times now. The first time I took it in, the dealership told me that they couldn't get the problem to replicate and told me to bring it back when it got worse. I am now on my forth attempt to get the problem fixed and they are continuing to tell me that they can't get the problem to replicate. So I went to the dealership and replicated the problem for them. That was on 10-27-03. It is now 11-06-03 and they called me today to tell me that they still can't get the truck to replicate. But they have hooked up a "co-Pilot" which will read the trucks computer and hopefully catch the problem. I am having a really hard time believing that they can't replicate the problem. I have had the truck for three months now and the damn thing has died every single time I have put it in reverse. I am positive that I am being bent over. I know that I will never buy another Chrysler again.

- Mcclure, MO, USA

problem #5

May 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,571 miles
Transmission will not shift from 2nd to 3rd gear when climbing grades. Also truck will stall out with no warning or check engine lights.

- Linden, NJ, USA

problem #4

Jul 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 450 miles


As truck pulls out (1-5min.)it slows down and backfires real loud. Doesnt stall out, but no power. When you step on the gas nothing happens it still is crawling around 5mi.this will happen about 1-3mminutes then it automatically picks up by itself and resumes speed. Happening every 2wks then every wk. Sometimes a day apart.had co-Pilot on twice but results were O. nothing shows on the dashboard when it happend, but the backfiring is getting louder. Called consumer around 5 times but I am right where I started.

- Hazleton, PA, USA

problem #3

Oct 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 10,100 miles
Peeling paint from front grille assembly. Also at 10600 miles the transmission shifts hard. Both upshifts and downshifts cause a noise and a slight hesitation, followed by a very harsh shift. And the engine seems to engage the electric heat/exchanger fan assembly causing a tremendous amount of cab noise. No temperature change has been detected with the dash gauges when the electric radiator has engaged. Very noisy. There will be a follow up letter after the truck is taken to the dealer. Oct. 5th, 2003. 2:30 pm mst

- Park City, UT, USA

problem #2

Nov 152003


  • Automatic transmission
  • 0 miles
We have recently submitted a claim to the bureau of automotive repairs. Our truck has been in the shop 6 times for the same and new problems. We bought this vehicle in June with 12 miles on it. They recently had our vehicle for 3 days in a row and wanted to keep it for a 4th day, however we declined. Below please find a list of the problems: 1) loud howling noise when backing up in reverse 2) slips out of gear when in reverse or drive 3) idles roughly 4) occasionally dies when backing in reverse or going forward 5) wheel well guards are starting to peel away 6) runs in the paint job 7) there was electrical wiring issues 8) transmission issues

- Cotati, CA, USA

problem #1

Jul 222003


  • miles
While driving at any speed or stopping at a traffic light the vehicle would stall out. The dealership has been contacted. Please provide any additional details.

- Elizabeth City, NC, USA

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