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pretty bad
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
8,262 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 transmission problems

transmission problem

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2003 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments

problem #13

Jan 152005

Dakota 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 22,300 miles


Truck shifts out of gear when stop and is left running. 1)events leading to the failure: Stop to get some information on a neighborhood store, stop the truck shift the truck into park, open the door got out of the truck, close the door, as I was waking towards the front of the tuck and I was approximately 5? feet away from the door of the truck started to move in reverse. I quickly chase the truck back, open the door jump into the truck (while the truck was moving) apply the brakes and stop the tuck. The shift indicator it showed that he truck was in park. 2) failures and consequences: If the truck start to move while you getting out of the truck the open door can push you down and kill you. If some one is behind the vehicle the person kill or the object/property damage. 3)what was done to correct failure: Truck will be taking to the Dodge service department for analysis and correct failure.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #12

Apr 042004

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 12,000 miles
I have this 2003 Dakota truck with 22,000 miles and the transmission slip at first startup and it is random maybe twice a month. The truck has been in the dealer three times and their position is they need see it slip before they can fix it. 2003 Dodge Dakota quad cab 5-spd automatic transmission 5-45rfe 4.7L magnum V8 air conditioning heavy duty service group

- Orlando, FL, USA

problem #11

Feb 202004

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 1,000 miles
While driving at any speed the transmission slipped. The vehicle vibrated uncontrollably. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic informed the consumer that the transmission needed to be replaced.

- Shrub Oak, NY, USA

problem #10

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 #9

Jun 012004


  • 100 miles
Vehicle will either go into neutral when put in reverse or while reversing pop out of reverse into neutral. This mostly occurred when the vehicle was in 4-wheel drive. The dealership serviced the vehicle several times for this issue, but since they were unable to duplicate or resolve the problem. The consumer had two transmission problems. The transmission module shorted out on four separate occasions. This problem caused the consumer to be nearly rear ended three times. The transmission shift indicator showed that the vehicle was in reverse but acted as if it were in neutral. The vehicle pulled to the left, the brakes would squeak and the vehicle had poor gas mileage. The battery was replaced because the vehicle did not start at times.

- Racine, WI, USA

problem #8

Mar 162004

(reported on)


  • miles
While driving the vehicle stalled. The driver tried to restart the vehicle and was able to restart. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The cause has not been determined.

- Hyde Park, NY, USA

problem #7

Jan 122003

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 200 miles


Truck will not shift properly when going up grade. Engine will rev at 4500-5000 RPM but will not shift until I slightly release the gas pedal. Truck will also perform multiple hard up shifts when in cruise control going up grade... had the truck in for service 3 times. First time in may, 1 month after purchase, the dealer reprogrammed the computer with a "flash update" and adjusted throttle linkage. That was no help. Several months later I took it in for the same problem, and dealer found nothing wrong. The third time, January 2004, I took a technician for a test drive, and he agreed that the truck was not shifting properly. They replaced the "valve body" in the transmission and the problem has now gotten worse. They informed me that the truck is now having problem shifting out of park. They claim they need to replace the same part they just installed, they say it must have been a defective "valve". furthermore, the technician is now saying the original shifting problem is normal because Dodge reprogrammed the transmission to avoid multiple up & down shifting when going up a grade. This was down to put "less stress" on the transmission. Doesn't make sense, Dodge is saving the transmission by making it work less and destroying the engine by letting it rev at 5000 RPM..... P.S. this shifting problem has been occurring since the day I drove the truck off the lot.

- Pitsburgh, PA, USA

problem #6

Dec 262003

Dakota 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 50,000 miles
While driving 50 mph the vehicle vibrated. The dealerships mechanic informed the consumer that the problem was due to transmission failure. The dealership could neither determine the cause of the problem nor repair it.

- Plainfield, CT, USA

problem #5

Nov 202003

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 8,976 miles
Automatic transmission will not shift to third gear unless the gas pedal is almost fully released. Transmission will not downshift to pass.

- Portales, NM, USA

problem #4

Nov 102003

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,200 miles
Engine malfunction light illuminated. Tranmission will not shift from third gear. Dealer confirmed problem, ordered replacement transmission module. Replacement did not correct problem. Further investigation from dealer found broken wire in wiring harness leading to transmission.

- Champaign, IL, USA

problem #3

Jun 232003

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 6,000 miles


At 6,000 miles the upper ball joints failed. When riding over any size bump in the road the front end collapsed. The vehicle pulled to the right when driving and when braking, the flapper door for the fuel filler neck was missing and or fell inside the tank, the transmission did not shift properly, the front and rear rotors were grooved, worn uneven and pitted.

- Castleton, NY, USA

problem #2

May 142003

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 20 miles
The day I brought my 2003 Dodge Dakota quad cab home, I noticed a howling noise coming from the rear brakes when in reverse. Took it back to dealer to find out what was the cause and for it to be repaired. Service manager said that the breaks needed to be broken in and then the noise would stop. Took truck back for oil change after 3000 miles and informed service manager that the truck was still making howling noise. Told me there was a service bulletin on this problem and that as soon as the parts came in he would call. I'm still waiting. Also I am having transmission problems. When I am climbing a grade the transmission seems to get stuck in second gear. I have to let off the gas for it to shift. Sometimes the shift is very harsh and at other times it misses a gear altogether. Truck has a hard time maintaining set speed when cruise control is set. Seems to wait too long to shift to bring the truck up to speed

- Rosemont, PA, USA

problem #1

Jul 062003

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,600 miles
After driving approx. 4 hours from fresno to reno on July 6, 2003 we were coming over interstate 80 at 70-75 mph, when our truck slipped out of gear, making the truck sound as if it had downshifted. We pulled off the highway thinking the transmission overheated and checked fluid levels. They were fine. We got back on the highway and not 5 miles later it did the same thing again. We thought we might be stranded.the dealer could find nothing wrong with the trucks computer and could not find anything on its memory. We got the truck back with no repairs. Today, August 2, 2003, the transmission seemed to slip again at 70mph trying to pass a slower vehicle. Looking through the tsb's the transmission problems I discovered(overheating) stated every transmission on a 2003 Dodge Dakota quad cab except the one in my vehicle a 45rfe. Could the problem stated for the other transmissions possibly be a problem for mine" if so how do I get the dealer to fix it before it gets worse".

- Chilcoot, CA, USA

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