definitely annoying
Crashes / Fires:
0 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
39,512 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 steering problems

steering problem

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2003 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments

problem #10

Mar 272014

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 111,800 miles


Upper ball joints determined to be seriously worn. Need to be replaced asap. Was told Dodge had recall/extended warranty on these parts but Chrysler will not cover replacement at current time and with current mileage. Was told by Chrysler to initiate NHTSA contact relative to Chrysler case #[xxx]. information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6).

- Mount Horeb, WI, USA

problem #9

Jul 232012

Dakota 8-cyl

  • miles
I have purchased several tires for this vehicle, and the problem is mainly in the front. I have had it aligned as required and it continued to eat the tires in a very few months. I recently (within the last 6 - 8 months) had the brakes, rotors, idler arm, bushings and other items replaced that dealt with the steering and the braking of this vehicle and it is doing the same thing again. When turning left or right, it will pop, and when pressing on the brakes it will grab, release then grab again. The brakes are not making a noise and I know when new brakes are installed that they have to allowed to maintain their fit, however, once they maintain their fit, they shouldn't start grabbing. When I have to press the brakes in a hurry the ABS light comes on and it concerns me the vehicle will not stop in time. This has been a problem for the last 4 or 5 years.

- Lebanon, TN, USA

problem #8

Mar 102013


  • 91,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while parking the vehicle and in reverse, the contact attempted to steer the vehicle to the right and the steering wheel seized. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic for diagnosis and the contact was informed that the steering shaft needed to be replaced. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 91,500.

- Richland Center, WI, USA

problem #7

Oct 182011

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • 123,000 miles


Steering shaft universal joint has excessive wear, appears it is due to poor design as road splash hits the lower steering joint and poor seals allow rust and cause it to seize, making steering difficult and then when it is lubed by spraying a lubricaant on it it fails a short time later. Survey the Dodge dealers and see how many of these joints they are replacing... this part is also on national bank order per my local dealer. Information redacted pursuant to the Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA), 5 U.S.C. 552(B)(6)

- Manistee, MI, USA

problem #6

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 #5

Nov 152006

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 48,318 miles
2003 Dodge Dakota 4X4 4.7 automatic: Steering/handling looseness, instability, skittishness on roadways worse at higher speeds, very pronounced over bumps. Inconsistencies in roadways. Vehicle "walks" sideways when going across road discontinuities. Dealer service return for diagnosis: Major safety component intermediate steering shaft defective/worn.

- Naugatuck, CT, USA

problem #4

Dec 102004

Dakota 6-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • miles


I purchased a 2003 Dodge Dakota on 02/01/2003. Since I have had this vehicle I hear a metalic popping noise when I turn sharply. I was told by the dealer that the noise is probably my spare tire lock but even if I secure the lock the noise continues. Because of the recent news stories about a possible recall I'm concerned that the noise I am hearing may be from the ball-joint defect that is being scrutinized.

- Grand Prairie, TX, USA

problem #3

Aug 212003

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
While driving 65 mph, the vehicle swerved in different directions. The consumer was able to maintain control of the vehicle and drove it to the dealer for inspection. The mechanic was unable to duplicate the problem.

- Shrub Oak, NY, USA

problem #2

Mar 012005

Dakota 6-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
When making a left turn at 30 mph consumer heard a popping sound. When the vehicle was serviced, the consumer was informed that a tie rod needed replacement. Consumer was still having the same problem, even after the repair was made. The consumer stated the dealer refused replace the wiper motor even though there was a recall.

- Rancho Cordova, CA, USA

problem #1

Mar 032004

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 15,500 miles
I own a 2003 Dodge Dakota truck. I have 15,500 miles on it and on 03/03/04 the left upper ball joint had to be replaced. In 2001 I owned a 2001 Dakota and had no problems with it. ( it was traded at 17,000) miles. From 1987 until 2001 I owned a 1987 Dakota, at the time of trade it had 187,000 miles with no ball joint problems, and it is still used on the road every day.

- Elkins, WV, USA

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