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Common Dodge Dakota Faults: Reliability, Problems And More!

When you’re in the market for a dependable truck, you can’t go wrong with a Dodge Dakota. Even so, you should make sure that you know the common faults of the Dodge Dakota so that no problem catches you off guard.

All of its model years have something good to offer, from advanced safety features and superb fuel efficiency to great steering and excellent engine performance. Its resale value is also good, depreciating only 12% in five years.

How good is the Dodge Dakota?

The Dodge Dakota enjoys above average reliability ratings, with some model years scoring better than others. Owners gave it a 3.5 out of 5.0 rating, ranking it 19th out of 32 compact trucks in its category.

Various reports rated the 2000 Dodge Dakota a 4.4 of 5.0 . Meanwhile, US News & World Report ranked the 2010 Dodge Dakota second of the 10 Best Compact Trucks of 2010, giving it a rating of 8.6 out of 10.

With these figures, it is clear that with careful handling and regular maintenance, the Dodge Dakota can easily enjoy a long life.

Common Dodge Dakota Faults

Although the Dodge Dakota is a reliable compact truck, it still has its fair share of problems. Here are the common Dodge Dakota failures reported for the different model years:

1. Intermediate steering axle noise problems

Many 2006 Dodge Dakota owners have complained of strange noises coming from the intermediate steering shaft of their vehicle. They say your truck steers in increments instead of smoothly. When braking, turning or going over bumps, the steering wheel would make noise or pop. In some cases, there was excessive play in the steering wheel.

To fix this problem, the upper intermediate shaft may need to be completely replaced . At the time of writing, Dodge has not issued any recalls to address this issue.

2. Exhaust Manifold Bolt Failure

According to owners of the 2006 Dodge Dakota, strange noises from the exhaust manifold during cranking are typical of some units of this model year. These ticking noises were most commonly observed during the colder months of the year. This symptom may also be accompanied by an illuminated check engine light and a shutdown of the engine.

Upon inspection, they determined that the exhaust manifold bolts were badly corroded or completely broken.

3. Failure of the upper ball joint

Upper ball joint failure is one of the most common problems with the 2003 Dodge Dakota. Many owners have complained of rattling and jolting from the driver’s side when turning the vehicle.

Upon inspection of the vehicle, they discovered that the upper and lower ball joints were leaking grease. Aside from making strange noises, faulty or worn ball joints can make the steering feel lopsided.

The upper ball joints on a 2003 Dakota can fail due to moisture damage . Dodge has issued a recall to fix the upper ball joint failure on its 2000-2001 models, but has not yet issued one for other model years.

4. Brake cylinder lock problems

According to owners of the 2002 Dodge Dakota, problems with the brake cylinder are common on some units of this model year. Your front brakes overheat, randomly lock, and the vehicle pulls to one side.

In some cases, they also noticed smoke coming from the front tires from overheated and cracked brake pads . In addition to replacing brake pads, other drivers had to change rotors, brake lines and calipers.

Although there have been many complaints about this particular problem, Dodge has not issued a recall to fix them.

5. Engine overheating and coolant loss problems

Loss of coolant and engine overheating are some of the most common 2001 Dodge Dakota failures reported. According to many owners, their truck leaks antifreeze, causing the engine to frequently overheat, even in cool weather. They would hear a knocking sound and notice steam rising from the grill as the engine began to overheat.

Coolant leaks are commonly caused by worn gaskets around the thermostat housing, water pump, intake manifold, and timing cover. Your truck’s warranty may cover the repairs needed to fix this problem.

6. Engine problems

Many 1999 Dodge Dakota owners reported a wide variety of engine problems affecting their trucks. Some noticed their truck shutting down randomly while driving or when it got hot. In some cases, the vehicle would start and run after it cooled down . These things often happened without warning.

Upon dealer inspection, they discovered that an intermittent connection to the crankshaft position sensor wire connector was contributing to reduced vehicle engine performance.

7. Oil leak faults

According to owners of the 1997 Dodge Dakota, oil leaks are common in some units of this model year.

Leaks typically occur around the valve cover, intake manifold, timing cover, distributor o-ring, and rear main pipe joint. Using a fluorescent engine oil dye can help determine where the leak is, while replacing the gasket should stop it.

To end

If you’re in the market for a Dodge Dakota, be prepared to take the good with the bad. As long as you know the common issues with the specific model year you’re planning to get, buying this compact truck should come with little risk. By doing your research, you can make sure the seller has cleared everything up before you take your used Dodge Dakota home with you.

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