really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 1
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
110,598 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 2 of 3)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

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

problem #19

Dec 102014

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • 254,000 miles
"4lo" intermittently flashes when traveling at speed. "svc 4WD" may come on and go out for a few seconds, following by "4lock" flashing for a second or two. 4WD will engage/disengage on it's own with no indication. Transfer case motor will engage/disengage on it's own while vehicle is parked, turned off, and key out of the ignition. Today, the 4WD engaged and bound up the wheels. Transfer case was overheating. Pulled in parking lot and can manually "4lock", then "2hi", then pulled FCM fuse to disable 4WD. Manufacturer and dealer have not been contacted at this time.

- West Leyden, NY, USA

problem #18

Oct 112014


  • 71,102 miles
Warning indicator flashed "4lo" multiple times, "4lock", then "svc 4WD". 4lock autonomously engaged with no visual indication.

- San Diego, CA, USA

problem #17

Jul 142014

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 114,916 miles


Driving down the road at 55 miles an hour the 4lo light started flashing like it was trying to shift into 4lo. It also shifted into tow neutral without even being started. You can hear the servo motor trying to engage the 4WD with the truck parked. I'm worried about what would happen if the 4lo engaged on the interstate at 70 mph.

- Caruthersville , MO, USA

problem #16

May 012014


  • 120,618 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while parked on an incline, the vehicle shifted out of gear independently and rolled backward crashing into a house. The fender, tire rod, bumper and tail lights were damaged. There were no injuries. The vehicle was taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure and later explained that they were not able to provide any assistance since the vehicle was no longer under warranty. The VIN was not available. The failure and current mileage was 120,618. Updated 8/29/14 updated 11/18/2014

- George Town, KY, USA

problem #15

Jul 052014

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • 82,000 miles
Rear wheels locked up after pulling onto roadway from a grade and turning left. Accelerated to approx. 25 mph to enter roadway, heard loud bang and felt vehicle shudder. Drive shaft separated from rear differential, rear wheels would not move; vehicle stopped in middle of 35 mph roadway. Metal shaft appears sheared off. Used 4X4 mode to power front wheels to pull onto shoulder. Had I been merging onto highway my truck could have stopped without warning, potentially causing a serious accident. Vehicle removed by flatbed tow - again rear wheels would not roll. Vehicle serviced regularly including rear differential pinion seal replaced on 11/5/10 and again ON11/29/13 by Dodge dealer. 2005 Dodge Dakota laramie 4X4 quad cab with tow package; very little towing performed over vehicle life.

- Mcdonald, PA, USA

problem #14

Mar 162014


  • 28,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while sitting at a stop sign, he heard a loud bang. The vehicle was towed to the dealer for inspection where they stated that the rear end had seized and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was repaired. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The failure mileage was 28,000. Updated 5/27/14

- Harpswell, ME, USA

problem #13

Oct 292013

Dakota 8-cyl

  • 115,000 miles


Upon slowing to enter a garage the truck slowed further as if it was about to stall (svc 4WD dash light came on) but regained power. After parking, the truck was turned off but I began to hear mechanical noises from the undercarriage. When departing later in the day, the same slowing motion started as I emerged from the garage but the truck regained full power and operated normally. After arriving home, I parked and locked the truck from my key fob but again the undercarriage noises started again and sounded like the power locks were running amok. A couple days later, the same occurrence. Took the truck to my trusted garage (not a Dodge dealer) who called Dodge (no clue) and another mechanic hotline service to check for any technical service bulletins/recalls, but no good results. Next, the chief mechanic road tested the truck and could not replicate the undercarriage noise but did see the svc 4WD dash light. The truck was returned with an admonishment to return if it crops up again. Two days later it did and I return where upon driving up, the chief mechanic heard the noises and declared it was trying to shift into 4WD. By this time I was seeing the 4 hi dash light in addition to the other warning light.the team at the garage went back to work and contacted another mechanic helpline that wasted no time in identifying the issue. As a matter of fact, after explaining the situation the helpline guy asked if the truck had rolled on it's own - because if it has not it would eventually. This is supposed to be a documented problem in these truck that Dodge has not seen fit to fix/recall for safety. Fix was test and replace the transfer case shift motor assembly.

- Upper Marlboro, MD, USA

problem #12

Oct 292013


  • 68,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while traveling 55 mph, the rear wheels seized. The vehicle was taken to a private mechanic where it was found that the differential along with several other components needed to be replaced. The vehicle was being repaired. The manufacturer was contacted about the failure. The failure mileage was 68,000.

- Burlington, IA, USA

problem #11

Oct 012013


  • 75,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while driving 25 mph, the vehicle shifted out of drive. The vehicle was taken to the dealer for diagnosis but was not repaired and the manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The approximate failure mileage was 75,000.

- Eeverly, MA, USA

problem #10

Mar 212011


  • 70,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while driving 70 mph he heard a loud grinding noise as the vehicle engaged into neutral independently. The failure recurred numerous even when the vehicle was parked and the vehicle shifted into four wheel drive with no driver or passenger inside the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to a dealer for diagnosis but the failure could not be duplicated. The failure continued to recur. The vehicle was returned to the dealer but again the failure could not be duplicated. The manufacturer was notified of the failure. The vehicle had not been repaired. The failure and current mileage was 70,000.

- Baden, PA, USA

problem #9

Mar 012013


  • miles
2005 Dakota club cab. Consumer writes in regards to problems with vehicle gears and rear axles. The consumer stated when he applied the accelerator, from a stopped position, the vehicle lurched slightly forward and a high pitched whining sound emitted from the vehicle. The consumer then realized, he didn't have any gears. He was able to drift the truck off the road, since he was on a slight upgrade. The truck was towed to a repair shop. An inspection revealed, the pinion gear had metal fatigue and fractured on the shaft behind the spline and ahead of the gear.

- Easton, PA, USA

problem #8

Feb 192013

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 85,000 miles
The contact owns a 2005 Dodge Dakota. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the steering felt loose. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was found that the trans cooler line failed and was leaking. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not contacted. The failure and current mileages were approximately 85,000.

- Downing Town , PA, USA

problem #7

Mar 062011


  • 65,942 miles
The pinion gear shaft to my differential sheared off just aft of the tapered roller bearing in the front of the housing. The portion of the shaft still attached to the drive shaft through the universal joint and the roller bearing pulled out of the housing and fell to the ground. This appears to be a fatigue failure of the gear shaft. This occurred while driving on a maintained dirt road. No modifications of any kind have been made to the vehicle and aside from occasional use on maintained dirt roads, no off-roading or other severe driving conditions have been encountered. Considering the mileage and light usage of this vehicle, this is a very unexpected failure. A gear shaft of this type should not fail, certainly not before the U-joint itself. This would then seem to most likely be a result of a manufacturing defect. This is clearly a serious safety concern as this failure is followed immediately by the drive shaft dragging on the ground and a complete loss of power. A failure of this type at high speed would have been extremely dangerous.

- Mesa, AZ, USA

problem #6

Jun 122010


  • 36,000 miles
There's an existing tsb (Chrysler/Dodge 05-002-06 supersedes 05-004-05) that covers the repair of the rear axle shafts and braking system. There was a defect in the design of the parts that can cause the rear wheels not to brake and can cause the driver to lose control of the vehicle at highway speeds. Dodge issued the two aforementioned tsbs to correct the issue, but it wasn't widely performed. Lots of 05 and 06 Dakotas with the defect are still on the road.

- Albuquerque, NM, USA

problem #5

May 052010

Dakota 6-cyl

  • 1,000 miles
Problem is with the rear axle on the 2005 Dodge Dakota. I have had the dealership rebuild the axle at 15,000 and 50,000 miles. It's being rebuilt for a 3rd time by a independent auto shop. I tried to take it to a Dodge dealership in santa maria ca to see if they would repair it since it was a ongoing issue but informed me that it's not and would cost $2200. Of course the independent shop is doing it for roughly half that. I went to Dodge.com and filled out a complaint with them. I faxed the repair documentation with them and left messages but my rep (david) never calls back. I did receive a email from Dodge for a customer survey but it's funny how their links don't work and their website security certificates are out of date. I guess if they can't maintain a website it's probably asking too much to fix a truck.

- Santa Maria, CA, USA

problem #4

Oct 102009


  • 77,513 miles
On my 2005 Dodge Dakota it randomly shifts in and out of 4 wheel drive. This occurs even after the vehicle has been shut off and the key removed. I disconnected the selector switch in the cabin and the problem still occurred. My mechanic pinpointed the problem to the crank case position sensor. After contacting the dealer for a replacement part he was told they are on national backorder and they dealer has no idea when they will be released. Now I have a vehicle that I can't drive because of a safety defect.

- Groton, CT, USA

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