pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
91,250 miles
Total Complaints:
14 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. not sure (14 reports)
2002 Dodge Dakota brakes problems

brakes problem

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2002 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments

problem #14

Feb 192018

Dakota V6

  • Manual transmission
  • 93,000 miles


Entire rear brake, plate, etc. separated. Mechanic said he has never seen anything like it.

- Ken G., Northford, CT, US

problem #13

Sep 152015

Dakota SXT 6 cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,000 miles

My right brake caliper locked up, I had to have both front calipers replaced along with shoes etc.... Now 3000 miles later, it looks like the same thing is happening. How in the world can there not be a recall on this, the net is full of people with the exact same issues!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

- Steve C., Portland, OR, US

problem #12

Jun 022004

Dakota SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,000 miles

Well I still have my 2002 Dakota. The brakes are always hot and smoking bad. Had new brake pads and rotors replaced 3 times now. Truck just turned 72000 miles One month its the front pass side and the next month it is the drivers side front hot and smoking away. I am so used to it now. There is no fix. It does not like streets where you have to stop and start a lot so beware. One or the other has gotten hot and smoked about 15 to 20 times. So since no one can fix the stupid problem, we just have to smell the stink of hot brakes and watch the smoke. Does anyone have a plan? I have no other complaints except the mileage sucks.

- ralphstiresbj, Grand Rapids, MI, US

problem #11

Jun 042014

Dakota 2.5L V6

  • Automatic transmission
  • 153,800 miles


On Tuesday I noticed that my truck was acting a little funny. It lagged a lot when I tired to go up hill or accelerate too fast. I also noticed that my brakes got a little tight and it pulled a little to one side or the other. after the truck sat for a little while and I drove it again it was fine. Then I drove it a lot on Wednesday and when I finally stopped the smoke just POURED out from the drivers side behind my tire. It sat for a few hours then I had to drive home and I took it pretty easy didn't have to brake as much and I made it back home with no problems. When I got to work today I checked everything out and on my rotors there is a huge groove on both sides of rotor and both sides of truck. I have had problems with my brakes but NOTHING like this. they have never been that great but I just thought there was something wrong with my ABS. Guess I was wrong! :-( anyways I couldn't figure out what was wrong til I found this site and started reading some of the complaints and my truck is doing the same stuff; tight brakes, smoke behind tires, pulling to one side when I brake, lagging when accelerating. I guess I am lucky it has taken til 153800 miles for it to get this bad. Since there have been so many complaints (and i'm sure this isn't the only place) I will be calling those numbers I have seen on here.

- Amber C., Lincoln, AR, US

problem #10

Aug 092013

Dakota Sport 4.7L

  • Manual transmission
  • 58,000 miles

This is the third time this has occurred. The first time I had rotors, pads and calipers replaced. This was about two years ago. The second time was about a month ago. I took off the right front wheel and sprayed WD 40 around the caliper careful not to get any on the pads or rotor. I thought it had maybe solved the problem. It just occurred again. A lot of smoke came out of the wheel well and the rim was super hot. The truck pulls to the right when this happens. I am looking for a different caliper manufacturer or permanent fix for this problem since just replacing the calipers ect. does not solve the problem for long. This is an obvious safety defect which can cause a crash or fire. Chrysler corporation should have stepped up to the plate and corrected this problem under an extended warranty a long time ago. I will say that my Dakota has been trouble free otherwise since I bought it new. I lke the Dakota a lot and was sad to see that it has been discontinued. My next truck will be from a different manufacturer since a mid sized truck suits me best.

- Gill M., Franklin, NC, US

problem #9

May 102013

Dakota 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 134,000 miles

Had right front brakes heat up to the point they were smoking badly. Just pulled wheel off and everything looked great. Found this site and saw all the complaints on the brakes. Where is Dodge when you need them?

- Mike B., Duncanvillea, AL, US

problem #8

Nov 032011

Dakota XLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 46,000 miles


I purchased this vehicle in 2003. The front brakes locked up the first year I had it. It was under warranty and the dealer fixed it. At 35000 they locked up again. Everything was replace under the extended warranty. Now at 46000 I can't go further than 10 miles without the drivers side brake getting hot. I'm afraid to go to far with it. At 44000 I had the rubber brake lines to the wheels replaced and the fluid changed. They still get hot. I have several vehicles so in 2011 I only have 46000 miles on this truck. Its like new because I'm afraid to go too far with it and I'm not going to continue to throw money at a problem until there is a solution. I've filed a complaint with the NHTSA but have not heard anything from it. Has anyone found a solution to this problem?

Update from Nov 23, 2011: Everyone who is having a problem with there dakota brakes either Locking up, pulsing , dragging and smoking etc. is this the solution to the problem. The brake pads wear a groove in the knuckle which binds and causes all of the above problems.


Check out the Link above. Very Informative!!!

- Henry H., Huntingtown, MD, US

problem #7

May 272011

Dakota Sport 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 32,600 miles

2002 Dakota Quad Cab 2WD. I purchased the truck new August 2002 and it has approximately 32,690 miles on it as of 7/15/2011.

At 17,XXX miles, just outside the time period of the 3/36 warranty, the RF caliper stuck and tried to lock up. Cooled down and got it to the selling dealer the next day. Due to the truck's mileage and condition, Chrysler agreed to split the cost of new rotors, pads, and calipers on both sides, so that's what we did. Cost me $300 for brake repair at 17,000 miles, even though the pads probably had 90% thickness remaining.

All OK until 5/27/2011, at about 32,600 miles, when it happened again. Selling dealer was put out of business during the "bankruptcy," so the nearest dealer was polite enough but would not pursue any repairs unless I was willing to pay for them in full...and even then, they claimed they hadn't heard about the problem despite the well-documented presence of it on internet forums. And, of course, they really didn't know what was wrong with it.

'Called Chrysler and complained and was assigned case #20942343. Person on the other end was pleasant and said they would review my complaint and someone would get back to me within 24 hours. They did. The return caller said, in effect, "Your truck is too old and if it has a brake problem, it's yours to figure out what's wrong with it and pay to have it fixed." BS. I asked for a mailing address for the next step up and was given an Auburn Hills address to send my complaint.

I documented everything from Day One and sent it in; $6 in postage, to include a return receipt to verify they got it. Got the receipt back right away. About 4 weeks later, I got a kiss-off letter from CSR "Imran." No last (or first?) name; not even a signature. Just "Imran" typed as the person who sent it. He/she/it said, "We respectfully concur with our previous decision."

More BS.

'Called the National Traffic Safety Hotline 7/14/2011 and explained the problem. Was assigned Confirmation #10412305. Currently awaiting a formal package from them to confirm everything and return a formal complaint.

I am a licensed Industrial Arts teacher who has taught Auto Mechanics for a living and been in the auto hobby all my life (65 years). I have bought, worked on, and sold thousands of cars in my lifetime as, after Auto Mechanics teaching, a full-time buyer for several dealerships. I know what I am doing in and around cars. I am the Technical Editor (a paid position) for the international Studebaker Drivers Club. I have been a consultant or paid writer for several automotive publications.

Chrysler's denial of this problem is unacceptable. I hope their feet are held to the fire until burned as crispy as are the rotors and brakes of these Dakotas!

I wouldn't even mind fixing this truck now, at my expense, if I knew for sure what was wrong with it. But "the fix" seems elusive so far. It's ridiculous to waste money and time shotgunning parts at these trucks.

- Bob P., Brownsburg, IN, US

problem #6

Jun 062011

Dakota Sport 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 101,000 miles

This is the same problem I had in February. Only this time it wasn't as bad. The brakes released after they cooled down. Before they stayed locked up and had to be changed. I'm very afraid this will happen again if I brake a lot and the brakes get hot. This is an awful inconvenience and it makes me want to get rid of the truck! Anyone have a solution?

- Robert P., Lafayette, IN, US

problem #5

Aug 022011


  • Automatic transmission
  • 145,000 miles

Gas, now Brakes! I won't be able to drive to work. Anybody know why my brakes are burning, sticking,and smoking on my 2002 Dakota?

- padjr, Sandersville, GA, US

problem #4

Mar 072011


  • Manual transmission
  • 98,000 miles


Just purchased this Dakota and the front right brakes locked up driving at 50mph. Filed a complaint with the federal trade com. today. Lots of 2002 Dodge Dakotas have this problem...lets get a recall.

- williammullican, Cottage Grove, OR, US

problem #3

May 032010


  • Automatic transmission
  • 54,000 miles

Problem first appeared at 37,000 miles. Driving along at interstate speed, and my pickup started pulling to the left HARD! Thought I had a flat, but, the brakes were stuck ON, on the driver side. Same as the rest of the complaints here.. Took to dealer, they couldn't replicate the problem, so, couldn't fix it. Just OUT of warranty.

I was later told that they could start throwing "maybe fixes" at it, caliper, brake cylinder, pads, rotors, brake lines.. You add that up, and that's a CHUNK of money. I see I am not alone with this problem.

I can't afford to "trade vehicles".. and can't afford to replace the WHOLE BRAKING SYSTEM with a "maybe fix"...

Wonder if there's anything we (as consumers) can do about this COMMON problem? Am actively looking for a GOOD FORD RANGER 4X4 at this point. To trade, or whatever.


- adkinss, Benson, NC, US

problem #2

Feb 262010

Dakota 4x4 4.7L

  • Manual transmission
  • 100,500 miles

Bought the truck new in 2002, after 4 years I notice brakes felt different (pedal was harder to press on). I could feel a drag as I shifted gears, so I stopped and both front brake rotors were hot! Took it to the dealer, they said that the front cylinders had seized and weren't releasing from the rotor. Replaced cylinders, pads, rotor and bled the system of burnt fluid ($1000.00). 5 years later it just started again, same as before. what can I do, would this fall under lemon laws (it repeated itself) or am i just screwed by dodge!

- Scott M., Gales Creek, OR, US

problem #1

Aug 152008

Dakota SLT 3.9L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 150,000 miles

Bought the truck new in 2002 and had never had the brake pads changed and they were starting to squill so I took it to the brake shop and they ended up replacing the pads, turning the rotors, rear shoes, flushing brake lines, new fluid. About a month later, I was running late for work and was driving kinda fast and braking hard at times. When I got to work and parked, the brakes were smoking bad like they were on fire. On the way home that day I could tell something was different in the way they felt. Took it back to the brake shop when I had time and they looked at it and said that the pads definitely show signs of getting hot and ended up replacing pads and cylinders. They never locked up on me but after reading this site, I'm going to be more cautious about it.

- dannytexas, Fort Worth, TX, US

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