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really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
113,070 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.

2005 Dodge Dakota drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2005 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #39

Nov 102016


  • 140,000 miles


Transfer case shifting into 4 wheel drive on its own. You can sometimes here it shifting when you open the door no key even in the car yet " it tries to shift into 4 wheel drive at all speeds. It sometimes goes into 4 wheel drive when turning at low speeds ? I don't have a problem paying to fix the problem but no one seems to have a solution ? change front control module?, transfer case shift motor?,change wiring from module to transfer case " change 4 wheel drive selector switch. Which one, where do you start. Need help! should be a recall. Seem's very dangerous. Sounds like hundreds with the same issue and no answer's.

- Gilbertville, MA, USA

problem #38

Oct 232016


  • 75,186 miles
Shifting on its own. My truck has 75,186 miles on it and has always been well maintained. For the past 10,000 miles or so, it has been shifting in and out of 4 wheel drive and lo 4X4 randomly by itself without any human interaction. Even sitting parked you could hear it cycling and shifting electronically in and out of 4X4. I recently parked it in a grass field near a pond and left it - was working fine when I pulled in. Came back about an hour later, got in, started it and tried to go... nothing at all. It had shifted into neutral (red "N" lighted) and it would not shift into any gear forward or reverse. Rolled freely now both directions. Had to get it towed out of the field and up to the roadway and then another company to come load it and tow it to the shop. Searched online - there are many similar instances about this vehicle shifting in and out of gears randomly on its own. Why hasn't this electronic shifting mechanism been recalled before someone gets killed? my truck easily rolled regardless of the shifting position. Just lucky I was on flat land in a field at this time and not on a sloping street - horrible to think what could have happened last week when I parked in the sloping parking lot at teh school above the football crowd at the game below. Too terrible to imagine if it would have shifted into neutral by itself at that time.

- Elk Horn, IA, USA

problem #37

Sep 302016


  • miles
4 wheel drive is trying to engage on it's own even if it is not running. I am not going to go into detail because there are several complaints for the same problem. I am kind of curious as to why, with so many complaints, something hasn't been done about this problem.

- Mt. Sterling, OH, USA

problem #36

Jul 152016


  • 137,780 miles


Driving down the road in motion the transmission slams and the vehicle struggles to move it comes up with 2 codes which are P2706 and P0700 and when it sets this code off check engine light comes has caused us to almost accidents as vehicle wont move.I am scared to drive with kids in vehicle in fear of an accident.

- Warren, OH, USA

problem #35

Jun 132016


  • 134,000 miles
Transmission slips in and out of 4 wheel drive on its own. When I hit a bump in the road the service 4 wheel drive light comes on, hit another bump and it goes off. While sitting in my driveway truck has been shifting in and out of 4 lo by its self, this has happened while the truck was off, and while the truck was running. This has happened now about 10 times in the last week. Then on Saturday, 06/11/2016 when pulling into my driveway, making a left hand turn, truck went into 4 lo by itself, I had to put the truck in reverse to get it out of 4 lo. After doing some research on this issue on the internet I hit the reset button on the 4 wheel drive switch, truck ran fine for 1/2 day, when I stopped to check my mail the truck went in and out of 4 lo by its self 3 times.

- West Valley City, UT, USA

problem #34

Jun 082016


  • 160,325 miles
Truck is going into 4WD by itself. I almost crashed going at a high speed. Truck steering wheel locked up, tires locked up, truck lost all power and turned off. The 4X4 light turns on and off. When using the keyless entry button on remote I can hear a clicking and grinding noise under truck. The 4WD engages without me even being in the truck it happens sometimes when I ise the remote to unlock truck. I jad the 4WD engage also while making a turn. The wheels ceased up and couldnt get truck to advance. This has been happening since 2 weeks ago. Started with the 4WD light turning on amd off and progressively getting worse.

- Yakima, WA, USA

problem #33

Mar 162016


  • 104,093 miles


The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. While driving various speeds, the vehicle switched into 4 wheel drive without warning. When attempting to make a left or right turn, the wheels locked and prevented the vehicle from making a complete turn. The contact took the vehicle to a certified mechanic who was unable to diagnose the cause of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the issue and informed the contact that there were no recalls that related to the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 104,093.

- Versailles, OH, USA

problem #32

Mar 012016


  • 79,700 miles
Shifts into 4 wheel drive by itself. Svc 4 wheel light comes on sometimes. Becomes difficult to drive.

- Killen, AL, USA

problem #31

Nov 102015


  • 54,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. While driving 45 to 70 mph, there was an abnormal noise. The accelerator pedal was applied, but did not respond. The contact had to apply force to the accelerator pedal. The vehicle randomly shifted from 2 to 4 wheel drive without warning. The vehicle was diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 54,000.

- Danville, VA, USA

problem #30

Apr 282013


  • 96,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while driving at an unknown speed, the gear shifted into four wheel drive independently. The four wheel drive warning indicator illuminated. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was unavailable. The approximate failure mileage was 96,000.

- Manassas Park, VA, USA

problem #29

Nov 172015


  • 120,500 miles


The 4WD transfer case motor sometimes operates while the vehicle is off, after doors are unlocked with the key fob. The 4WD randomly & spontaneously attempts to engage at highway speeds without any 4WD-related indicator lights. There is a moment of resistance - like an extreme headwind, then a violent thud in the drivetrain when it disengages. At times there is a rolling pulsation in the drivetrain, as if the 4WD is attempting to engage over longer distances. Engaging 4WD unexpectedly at highway speed could cause catastrophic failure of the drivetrain, loss of vehicle control, and potentially serious accidents. This complaint is posted literally thousands of times on internet forums and should be investigated.

- Johnstown, PA, USA

problem #28

Jun 302014


  • 132,000 miles
While driving, the amber service 4WD light comes on followed by a tone. The dash switch(2wd, 4lock, 4lo) is rendered inoperable. The vehicle will put itself into 4lo when you slow and try to turn. In many situations, this can be very hazardous to the driver and dangerous to the drivetrain. Sometimes the 4lock or 4lo lights will blink randomly while driving, then lead to the service 4WD light coming on. Checking online, many owners of Dakotas are having similar pro- blems, wondering why there hasn't been service bulletins, warnings on this de- fect, safety recalls, or acknowledge by the manufacturer of this situation.

- Lynn, MA, USA

problem #27

Mar 052015


  • 55,000 miles
The "check 4WD" indicator light comes on at random times and the 4WD engages on it's own. Even parked with no key in the ignition you can here the electronic hubs engage and disengage. This makes driving the vehicle a real hazard, since the handling characteristics change dramatically when in 4WD on dry pavement. I have done much research and found many people that have had or do have this exact symptom, including several on you complaints page.

- Cincinnati, OH, USA

problem #26

Sep 152015


  • 111,520 miles
Truck shifted into 4 wheel drive by itself. Event occurred without any warning lights or indication it was 4 wheel drive. I noticed truck was in 4 wheel drive when I was slowing to make a left hand turn at about 20 mph and the steering was difficult and front tires were hopping and jerking until I stopped. I think this is an unsafe condition and that the truck should failsafe and never allow the truck to go into four wheel drive if some component in system fails. A warning light should come on and the system should block any attempt to engage 4 wheel drive. Luckily this event occurred at low speed and without a vehicle in front of me.

- Bloomfield Hills, MI, USA

problem #25

Nov 192014


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. While driving at various speeds, the vehicle forward drive activated independently and unknown warning lights illuminated. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was taken to a dealer where it was diagnosed that the transfer case connection motor needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired, but the failure recurred. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was 70,000.

- Los Lunas , NM, USA

problem #24

Mar 232015

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • 97,120 miles
I'm left with a dilemma. I own a 2005 Dodge Dakota 4X4. This vehicle has a problem where the transmission electronically switches from 2 wheel drive to 4 wheel drive without the driver's consent. This is a well documented problem across the internet with other owners of this vehicle. We've known the transmission has had issues for a while, but (warranty company) has a theory of can't replicate it, won't fix it.and that is what occurred. On 3/23 while driving at 70mph, the vehicle attempted to electronically shift into 4lo from 2wd, a system that should only function under 20mph. It failed to engage, causing grinding noises from the transaxle case and a slow stop on side of interstate. Upon later inspection by a in network repair facility, the vehicle failed to produce a PCM code and mechanically could not be replicated in the 2 hrs at the shop. We were charged a $112.51 and sent on our way. Today 3/28, it happened again but in worse format, the transmission did engage 4lo at 70mph and it caused rear wheels to lock up and freeze. We were forced to swerve under control to a stop in the median of the interstate again. We immediately had a local automotive parts store drive to us where he was once again unable to pull any PCM codes. He tested the vehicle in the median and was able to immediately replicate the problem.

- Smyrna, TN, USA

problem #23

Feb 022015

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • 1,273,456 miles
Vehicle switched into 4WD by itself at high speeds occasionally. When the 4WD is engaged on dry pavement handling is reduced.

- Mendota Heights, MN, USA

problem #22

Jun 012014


  • 100,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. While driving various speeds and while the vehicle was turned off, the vehicle would shift into different gears without warning. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The approximate failure mileage was 100,000.

- Kissimmee, FL, USA

problem #21

Oct 012014

Dakota 4WD 6-cyl

  • 128,000 miles
Vehicle while on highway would flash 4lo on dash or illuminate svc 4WD. Vehicle at highway speeds would attempt to engage 4lo as well. While engaging, vehicle would lose acceleration and rpms would immediately increase. This would cause loss of control of the vehicle. With vehicle off and key removed, transfer case motor would try to change transfer case position. None of these symptoms occurred while 4WD was engaged using selector switch. Vehicle was taken to dealer for service. Codes recorded in computer were for transfer case position sensor being out of range. (both high and low values were recorded simultaneously) dealer originally found leads on FCM connector between wiring harness and pcb had corroded due to faulty sealant and were possibly shorting out. Manufacturer was made aware of fault. Manufacturer replaced FCM at no cost. After FCM was replaced vehicle would still exhibit symptoms. Vehicle was taken back to same dealer. After several days of testing, tech was able to get vehicle to exhibit symptoms in shop. Tech found that the range position sensor was failing. It was found that vibration would cause the sensor to short out or go open. Manufacturer was made aware but would not cover repair. Transfer case motor assembly was replaced at cost to customer. Vehicle has since been driven over 2000 miles without further issues.

- Rochester, NY, USA

problem #20

Dec 172014

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • 57,000 miles
The 2005 Dakota began showing a service light on the dashboard instrument panel, indicating to service the 4-wheel drive system. Service light was intermittent but frequent, and continues today!. four wheel drive gears would engage and disengage on there own, and the 4-wheel drive selector switch proved useless to disengage the 4-wheel drive upon choosing the various settings. Upon turning off the vehicle and exiting with the vehicle in park, the transfer case can be heard attempting to engage the 4-wheel drive gears, even with the key in the off position and after a number of seconds have passed. This would prove very hazardous if the vehicle self-engaged into 4-wheel drive at highway speeds, especially if it occurred and engaged the "lo-4-wheel drive" function, which would likely cause loss of control/steering and possibly damage to the rear chunk/differential resulting in highway debris. I see and read many instances from consumers on the internet about this problem in Dodge 4-wheel drive products from 2001 thru 2009, and it is supposedly caused by an electrical mechanism called the tccm or ipm (dependent upon your model) and which purportedly controls the transfer case motor that engages the 4-wheel drive.

- Bristow, VA, USA

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