Notes: The second generation Durango was introduced in 2004 and instantly came under fire for, well, catching on fire.

From 2004-2006 electrical overloading in the driver's side instrument panel caused numerous reports of interior fires. The interior infernos became so commonplace that Chrysler eventually issued a recall.

The problems didn't stop there, however. Owners of the recalled vehicles complained about being treated unfairly and given take-it-or-leave-it low ball settlement offers. "They offered me $2000 under NADA retail as a settlement," said one owner, "and have been rude and hostile to deal with." Nothing says awesome service like treating your customers rudely after their cars have caught on fire.

Have we mentioned all the reports of complete engine failure due to oil sludge?


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
3 / 2
Injuries / Deaths:
0 / 0
Average Mileage:
109,923 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.

2004 Dodge Durango drivetrain problems

drivetrain problem

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2004 Dodge Durango Owner Comments (Page 1 of 4)

problem #61

Feb 222019


  • miles


About a week ago my alternator and battery had to be replaced, a day or two after I had them replaced I was pulling out onto a state road and I heard something got crunched, so I stopped and got out ans looked and nothing. Got back in rhe car and put it in drive and I looked down at my dash and heart something trying to engage and on mh dash my svc 4WD light started flashing.. im not sure how ro fix it or what to do, it does it quite frequently. I opened the trunk and heard it trying to engage. Stopped at a stop light, I can hear it trying to engage to 4 wd. I have been looking into thia and I see several consumers have had the same issues. It seems Dodge should beable to come up with a permanent fix, but no recalls yet... my main concern is, what happens if im doing 80 mps on the freeway and it tries to engage into 4low?? thank you for your time!!

- Meridian, ID, USA

problem #60

Feb 232019


  • 204,000 miles
The transfer case randomly shifts into 4 wheel lock and even 4-lo. This happens even when driving. I currently only drive on city streets as I am concerned that it will cause any accident or damage the vehicle if it shifts into 4-lo at higher speeds. The transfer case is currently stuck in 4 wheel lock, which makes it very hard to turn. I have read in forums that most people disconnect their transfer case motor, losing functionality but making the truck safer. I cannot disconnect the transfer care motor while it is stuck in 4 when lock. Dodge should be held responsible and forced to fix all these vehicles.

- Tucson, AZ, USA

problem #59

Sep 152018


  • 120,000 miles
Key fhob's have not been working for a while. Replace battery still not working. Now my shift motor on the transfer case is randomly shifting and locking in 4WD high. This happens while driving down the road. It happens while parked in the parking lot then when you go to drive hard to turn or get out of 4WD. When it locks in 4WD it is nearly impossible to back up. It doesn't seem to matter whether you're parked driving on city streets or on the highway. However, when it happen it can lead to inability to steer and control the vehicle. This is very dangerous and can also lead to substantial costly repairs from being in 4WD and not on the correct surface. Reviewing many on-line forums I'm finding that there are several others that are experiencing the same issue. Although there have been many attempt to correct the problem there seems to be an unwillingness to help or diagnose the issue. Many repairs have been done and has not resolved the issue or temporarily fixs it and then right back to the same issue.

- West Point, UT, USA

problem #58

Feb 132019


  • 200,000 miles


The 4wheel/AWD vehicles will self engage transfer case causing equipment malfunction or serious bodily injury do to possibly vehicles crash do to equipment malfunction it needs to be addressed by Chrysler but the refuse to my option there for would cause a massive recall in numerous years that would cause the company a large financial back set this issue needs to be addressed before it takes lives of it hasn't already search the web for this issue there's numerous sites with forums regarding this exact issue numerous vehicles

- Glendale, AZ, USA

problem #57

Nov 012018


  • 180,000 miles
Truck switches to 4WD on its own and does not allow me to switch back to regular AWD. The "service 4WD" light comes on. Mechanics have indicated the transfer case shift motor may need to be replaced; but, none are available. Also, there is no guarantee that would fix the dangerous problem of switching to 4WD.

- Draper, UT, USA

problem #56

Jul 042018


  • 150,000 miles
The vehicle randomly switches from AWD to 4WD lock, does not seem to be any one thing that causes it. Also have looked up hundreds of other reports on this from other people. Everyone says that Dodge dealers claim they have never heard this before. Bullshit. Dodge is trying not to have to do a recall. That is obvious. Shame on Dodge

- Farmington, MN, USA

problem #55

Mar 212018


  • 174,000 miles


The transfer case will make noise when unlocking the doors, it will also engage and change the AWD by itself to 4lock when driving on the road. It can cause seriouse hard or accident. The airbags on both driver and passenger side light will engage and can cause seriouse harm. The fuel pump seems like it has an air bubble inside and shoots out gasoline and also can cause seriouse harm. All of these problems occurs when the vehicle is in motion and stationary. Please fix!!! recall!!! you have to hear the noise and drive when it happens.

- Las Vegas, NV, USA

problem #54

Jun 272016


  • 175,000 miles
Dodge Durango limited 4X4 engages 4 wheel drive randomly on the freeway at high speeds, without being told to. This is a huge safety issues and I see many people complain about it online.

- Glendora, CA, USA

problem #53

Sep 072017


  • 174,800 miles
Car has a new engine and third water pump. It failed after 5000 miles and engulfed in flames causing the failure of the belt, tensioner, main drive pulley and ac compressor. Today Dodge just recalled these pumps for the very same reason bearing failure and super hot conditions causing fires and failure. I was just redriving along the truck has been running well and showed no signs of issues, no noise, smell, lights or struggle. Car was at normal opperating tempurture and daytime traffic. Stopped for gas stayed for a couple minutes then drive on, within two miles without any warning or noise the car started smoking pulled over and smelled a rubber notices no leaks in the water delivery system oil, trans, or power steering, the belt was red hot and smelled like a house fire car was taken 200 yards to pep boys and repaired at the cost of $1300. Should not happen with 5000 miles on the water pump and 20,0000 on a new engine.

- Kennesaw, GA, USA

problem #52

Jan 042017


  • 201,000 miles
I have an AWD vehicle. This vehicle has a knob that you can switch to go to 4 lock. My truck has been shifting into this mode all by itself. This is very dangerous as when it does the vehicle kind of locks up and becomes very difficult/impossible to move. I have 4 children and this is our main vehicle that we use. This is ridiculous. When researching this issue, there are a ton of complaints for the same thing. Dodge needs to take responsibility and fix this issue before someone gets hurt. This has happened to me on more than one occasion. Has happened at high speed, low speed, and stationary.

- Turner, ME, USA

problem #51

Dec 242016

Durango 4WD 8-cyl

  • 221,375 miles


While driving, the 4WD engages on its own and will not get out of position. It is stuck in 4WD. "svc 4WD" light on the dash appears. Tried doing a battery reset and the problem persists.

- St Amant, LA, USA

problem #50

Dec 062016

Durango 4WD 8-cyl

  • 98,400 miles
Truck svc 4WD light on. Truck goes into 4lo by itself while I'm driving. Later when I went out in truck svc.4WD is off I get to stoplight & I feel a loud thud like I'm being hit from behind. Now svc.4WD light stays on & car is hard to turn.

- Markham, IL, USA

problem #49

Sep 162016


  • miles
AWD truck puts itself into 4 wd for no reason. Causes vehicle to become hard to drive. This is rediculous. Tons of complaints of the exact same issue on forums. Does it while just idling in park and while driving down the road. Very dangerous, especially with my 4 kids in the car!

- Turner, ME, USA

problem #48

Sep 022016


  • 124,000 miles
The transfer case will shift into 4 wheel drive on it's on. This happens when the vehicle is off and I unlock or lock the doors with the key fob. It also happens when the vehicle is in motion. It is unpredictable and happens very frequently. This is not very safe and can also cause very expensive damage to the powertrain.

- Lobelville, TN, USA

problem #47

Jul 182015


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Dodge Durango. While driving at approximately 70 mph, the four wheel drive engaged independently. The vehicle shook violently, veered to the right, and the service four wheel drive warning indicator illuminated intermittently. The failure recurred numerous times. The vehicle was taken to an independent mechanic where it was diagnosed that there was an open short in the electrical system that needed to be repaired. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the failure. The failure mileage was approximately 150,000. The VIN was unavailable.

- Orwell, OH, USA

problem #46

Feb 152016


  • 150,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Dodge Durango. While driving various speeds while in two wheel drive, the transmission would suddenly switch to neutral, the vehicle would stop, and the four wheel drive sensor light would illuminate. After shutting off and restarting the vehicle, the transmission would make a grinding noise while in four wheel drive. The vehicle was taken to the dealer where it was diagnosed that the transfer case shift motor was faulty and needed to be replaced. The vehicle was not repaired. The manufacturer was not notified. The VIN was not available. The failure mileage was 150,000.

- San Antonio, TX, USA

problem #45

Feb 232016


  • 115,000 miles
The contact owns a 2004 Dodge Durango. The contact stated that the 4-wheel drive engaged independently without warning. As a result of the failure, the wheels locked and it was extremely hard to make any turns. The failure recurred several times. The vehicle was not taken to the dealer. The manufacturer was made aware of the failure. The vehicle was not repaired. The failure mileage was 115,000.

- Goddard, KS, USA

problem #44

Nov 272015


  • 80,000 miles
Durango decides to go into 4 wh drive at random without input from the driver to do so. Steering becomes heavy... often this occurs when the driver is making a turn at slow speeds. Depending of the strength of the driver this can easily cause a crash. The motor rpms are pulled down as the driver makes the turn and can cause the car to stall...making the steering very heavy. This is a known problem with the Durango... faulty transfer case motor. This should be replaced by Chrysler.

- Bexley, OH, USA

problem #43

Oct 262015


  • 109,000 miles
My 2004 Dodge Durango 5.7L AWD is engaging in four wheel drive at high speeds on its own on the interstate. It made a very loud grinding and clunking noise, the service 4WD light will come on and then turn off and then the 4WD lo light will come on and turn off. I was forced to pull off the road and it felt like the car was stuck in four wheel drive and will not come out. I tried to put it in gear while just sitting still and it just makes that grinding noise. I had to have the car towed as I am afraid that driving it would cause myself or others physical harm. Please consider looking into this matter because as I am reading on several Dodge forums this is a common problem and can be very serious to drivers and others. I have read that there are several problems with the transfer case in 2004 and 2005 Dodge Durango. A big company such as Dodge should investigate the need for a possible recall since these problems are being addressed on Dodge forums. As far as getting it fixed or trying to figure out how to get it fixed is the next problem.

- Roanoke, VA, USA

problem #42

Sep 152015


  • 158,000 miles
Service 4WD lite came on, truck started jerking and binding on turns. Cycled switch thru AWD, 4lock and 4 lo, seemed to be ok for awhile then locked in 4lock and stayed there until driven a mile down a bumpy dirt road. Repair shop serviced transfer case but now its stuck in 4lock, they suspect shift motor but none are available. Internet complaints seem to point to electrical issue, temporary fix is to unplug shift motor if you can get it into AWD but Dodge needs to come up with a permanent fix for this.

- Los Lunas, NM, USA

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