really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
75,290 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 suspension problems

suspension problem

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2003 Dodge Dakota Owner Comments

problem #20

Jun 012015


  • 114,208 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. While driving approximately 3 mph and making a left turn, the front driver side upper left ball joint suddenly failed and caused the wheel to separate from the vehicle. The vehicle was towed to an independent mechanic who indicated that the failure was caused by rust and corrosion of the ball joint. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure and stated that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V596000 (suspension). The failure mileage was 114,208.

- Hiawatha, IA, USA

problem #19

Aug 232011


  • 100,497 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while driving at approximately 40 mph, there was an abnormal noise coming from the front of the vehicle. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that the ball joint failed on the front suspension. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V596000 (suspension).the approximate failure mileage was 100,497.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #18

Feb 012014


  • 220,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that the windshield wipers failed and the exterior lighting sporadically malfunctioned. Also, the side cap to the main radiator spewed antifreeze approximately five feet in the air. The contact shut off the vehicle. The vehicle was not diagnosed or repaired. The manufacturer and dealer were made aware of the failure. In addition, while driving at a low speed, a loud popping sound emitted from the vehicle. After inspecting the vehicle, the contact noticed that the ball joint fractured. The contact was made aware that the VIN was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V596000 (suspension). The vehicle was towed to the contact's residence where he performed the repair. The failure mileage was 220,000.

- Enta Green, IN, USA

problem #17

Dec 272014


  • miles


I've had my 2003 Dodge Dakota 4X4 for 2.5 years and the front suspension has always had a cluncking noise in it. I seen the recall from daimler/Chrysler in reference to suspension(front control arm:upper ball joint) NHTSA campaign id number: 04V596000. NHTSA action number: EA03023. I thought for sure that my truck would have been included in this recall, however, it appears to me that it isn't. my vehicle only has 75,000 miles on it now and I am worried that the ball joints may separate and cause me or my wife to loose control of the truck because of evacuation of the lubricant due to moisture leaks into the front suspension upper ball joints.

- Akron, OH, USA

problem #16

May 022014


  • 92,000 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. While driving over a bump or making a turn at any speed, the contact could hear an abnormal noise coming from the vehicle. The dealer stated that the central timing module needed to be replaced. The technician also stated that the ball joint was rusted and corroded and might fracture. The contact discovered that the underbody was corroded. The vehicle was not included in NHTSA campaign number: 04V596000 (suspension) and NHTSA campaign number: 08E064000 (suspension). The vehicle was not repaired and the manufacturer was notified. The approximate failure mileage was 92,000.

- Acron, OH, USA

problem #15

Jul 012014


  • 104,000 miles
While driving there is a loud humming noise in front end and knocking from front and a squeeky noise from underneath.

- Hampton, IA, USA

problem #14

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 #13

Aug 102013


  • 115,000 miles
I backed out of a parking spot, turned the wheel to straighten out the vehicle. As I straightened out the drivers side front wheel upper ball joint failed trapping the wheel beneath the truck.

- Upland, PA, USA

problem #12

Jul 042013

Dakota 8-cyl

  • 100,210 miles
While traveling over a set of railroad tracks, the driver side front tire along with the upper ball joints separated from the vehicle causing me to temporary lose control of the vehicle. When I researched to see if this was a common problem relating to this vehicle I found about the recall. However, when I contacted DaimlerChrysler I was informed that the recall was VIN specific and that my vehicle was not covered.

- Hillsdale, NJ, USA

problem #11

Oct 052012

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • 110,000 miles
When driving down the road straight no curve, the rear axle of my truck on the passenger side broke off and lost control of the vehicle fortunately, there was no traffic near by while vehicle was moving uncontrolled down the road. In a coincidence Dodge is have a recall of same issue for only the 2009 and 2010 models.

- Sun Prairie, WI, USA

problem #10

Jul 242012


  • 93,400 miles


The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while parked, the front driver's side tire detached from the vehicle as a result of a fractured ball joint. The vehicle was towed to the contact's home and was not taken to dealer. The manufacturer was contacted and stated that were not familiar with the failure as described by the contact. No assistance was provided and the vehicle was not repaired. The failure and the current mileage was 93,400.

- South Lake Tahoe , CA, USA

problem #9

Jun 292012

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 63,569 miles
I was told the ball joints are no good on my 2003 Dakota 4X2 and need to be replaced. The warranty on the ball joints was given a 10 year extension on 4X2 and recalled on 4X4. I was told that even though the ball joints are clearly the faulty ones my manufacturing date was 20 days after the Dec 31 2002 cut off for warranty extension. How is that my truck is not covered, despite being effected by the same recalled parts. It would seem 20 days is quite a small window to be completely excluded from the extension, and that there is a reasonable margin of area.

- Watertown, MA, USA

problem #8

Sep 012011


  • 88,500 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that the front upper and lower ball joint failed while attempting a right turn. There was a loud noise coming from under the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to the dealer who stated that the upper and lower ball joints needed to be replaced. The manufacturer was contacted and advised they were unable to assist because the vehicle was not included in the recall associated with NHTSA campaign id number: 04V596000 (suspension:front:control arm:upper ball joint). The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 88,500 and the current mileage was 89,000.

- Sag Harbor, NY, USA

problem #7

Dec 142006

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 60,000 miles
2003 Dodge Dakota, 2wd, 5 spd manual, V6. Although a recall has been generated pertaining to the 4WD version only, my truck has the same issue. When I am driving at any speed and turning or going through a bump I hear a clunk which sounds like what is described on the existing recall for the 4WD only. I am concerned about this.

- Menifee, CA, USA

problem #6

Mar 252008

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,700 miles
The contact owns a 2003 Dodge Dakota. While driving between 5-10 mph, the contact heard a loud thud coming from the axle area. The four wheel drive indicator light illuminated and the headlights, interior lights, and windshield wipers failed completely. Eventually, the horn began to sound intermittently, the windshield wipers began wiping automatically, and the low fuel indicator light illuminated and continued to chime. The contact believes that all the failures were related to the central timer module. NHTSA campaign id number 02V322000 (exterior lighting:headlights switch) was referenced. The purchase date was unknown. The current mileage was 66,000 and failure mileage was 65,700.

- Los Vegas, NV, 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

Sep 092005


  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
My 18 month old son and I were in a single car rollover, on September 9, 2005. I was driving a 2003 Dodge Dakota when my truck started to make a noise, then we were sent into a rollover. The right front tire was gone when we stopped. I was sent information from my uncle after I sent him pictures of the accident and he sent me information on the possible recall. I need to know what my options are and what do I do now.

- Bishop, CA, USA

problem #3

Sep 012004


  • 12,500 miles
The vehicle's ball joint had to be replaced at 24,000 miles. The rear limited slip differential fluid needed to be replaced.

- Washington, DC, USA

problem #2

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 #1

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

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