really awful
Crashes / Fires:
1 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
1 / 0
Average Mileage:
22,097 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

The NHTSA is the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints can be spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem. See the Back button — blue bar at the very top of the page — to explore more.

Get notified about new defects, investigations, recalls & lawsuits for the 2002 Dodge Dakota:

Unsubscribe any time. We don't sell/share your email.

problem #28

Jul 172010


  • miles
I am a owner of a 2002 Dodge Dakota sport. On certain sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks equipped with four-wheel drive (4X4), if moisture leaks into the front suspension upper ball joint, evacuation of the lubricant and corrosion of the joint may cause the joint to wear over an extended period of time. This could cause a clunking noise in the front suspension, which may not always be heard by the vehicle occupants. Excessive wear in the upper ball joint may allow it to separate, which could result in loss of control of the vehicle. Whole front end is messed up.

- Wheaton , IL, USA

problem #27

Jun 032010


  • 30,000 miles
We have a 2002 Dodge Dakota and a 2007 Dodge caliber that both have severe front end problems. The vehicles both shake uncontrollably, especially when hitting a bump or applying the brakes. We've tried to get this fixed but Chrysler says there is nothing wrong. A mechanic told us its our rotors but we've had them turned and have had the rotors on the truck replaced twice. It affects the braking speed and it is difficult to keep control of the steering wheel while braking and while driving in the rain. I know others have had this problem, is it going to take someone getting injured or killed to fix it?

- Easley, SC, USA

problem #26

Apr 042010


  • 82,885 miles
While driving my 2002 Dodge Dakota 55 miles per hour I was thrown to the left pushed on brake pedal and the truck shot right when I got out the front rotors were red hot and smoking truck would not move had it towed home where it still sits I thank god I was not killed or hurt or killed some one else come to find out this is a common problem with this truck and to try and repair it that it will only return.

- Rockford, IL, USA

problem #25

Feb 012002


  • 7,000 miles
Since I've purchased this vehicle, about six months into driving it, I began experiencing front end problems with the control arms & ball joints. I've had it back to the dealer(big valley Dodge) at least 10 times(@75.00 a visit) for them to repair/replace the ball joints/control arm. Now it's no longer under warranty and will cost $1500-$2500 from different quotes I received. I can no longer enjoyably drive the vehicle. And I can't even drive it on the freeway as the whole front-end shakes the entire truck above 50mph. Please help me. I love everything about the truck otherwise. I just want Dodge to be responsible and fix their problem. They made a recall for the 4X4, why not the 2X4 with a very similar issue. Please help! this is not fair. Out of all the new trucks I could have bought, I had to buy the one with a problem the manufacture refuses to acknowledge, everyone I've talked to with the same truck from similar years (2000-2003) says they have the same problem. Please help! also, front tires become excessively worn on the outside to where I have to replace at least once a year when I drive 10000-12000 miles a year(ridiculous). Please help!

- Calabasas, CA, USA

problem #24

Jan 262006


  • miles
I owe a 2002 Dodge Dakota and had a recall for upper ball joint that was repaired by merrick Dodge in merrick NY. The dealer advised me that the way they do the recall an alignmentwas not necessary. I was informed by Chrysler that a toe alignment was required. This recal was done in January 2005. The new tires that were installed in November of 2004 have excessive wear on the inner edges of both front tires evenly. The alignment was never done or done improperly and the dealership refuses to correct or even address said issue. All I ask is a front end alignment so that the tires will wear in a safe and correct manner.

- Freeport, NY, USA

problem #23

May 252005

Dakota 8-cyl

  • miles
2002 Dodge Dakota right front wheel bearings and the hub needed to be replaced. The consumer experienced intermittent problems with the air conditioner. Hot spot on the front rotors caused pulsation when braking. The vehicle's transmission made noise and intermittent delayed shifting. The right front hub and bearing were replaced. The right front outer tie rod end was replaced. The left front upper ball joint was replaced.

- Manahawkin, NJ, USA

problem #22

Oct 212003

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 500 miles
Ever since this truck was new it feels as though some component in the front end suspension is loose, I can feel it through the steering column. Five trips to the dealer to find and correct the problem have resulted in: Nothing out of specs on the first visit; replaced the front shocks on the second visit; replaced the rack and pinion assembly on the third visit; replaced the upper ball joints on the fourth visit; and aligned the steering column on the fifth visit. Looking though the consumer complaint section I found many other consumers with the same exact complaint with their Dakota trucks.

- Silver Spring, MD, USA

problem #21

Aug 022005

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Manual transmission
  • 27,000 miles
The consumer was upset that after the recall work was done the dealer recommended a full alignment, but Chrysler will only pay for one third. Specially, Chrysler will only pay for the tow in adjustment, after ball joint replacement. The recall was 04V596000. The tow in adjustment was not affected as much as the other camber and caster. The recall work was done on the truck. The owner was looking at a charge of about $60 that should be covered by the recall. The vehicle would have control issues without the alignment, which would be the owner's expense.

- Windsor, CO, USA

problem #20

Jul 012005

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 59,560 miles
I love this vehicle, however will join the masses reporting a failed upper ball joint at 55,000 miles, 3 sets of warped front brake discs and lack of proper braking for the ABS system.

- Livonia, MI, USA

problem #19

Dec 122004

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • miles
I have heard news that there may be a recall of Dodge Dakota trucks for reason of unsafe ball joints. I own a 2002 Dodge Dakota quadcab 4.7L two wheel drive truck. Since I bought the truck, I have heard a loud clunk noise when I turn a corner or go up a bump or driveway. This is not a normal noise on cars or trucks. For a truck that can haul heavy weight, this is not acceptable. I am always aware of the noise and know this is unsafe. Anytime you have metal making rubbing in such a manner, there is an obvious problem. I do not believe these vehicles are safe with parts that are not sound and durable for the weight of the vehicles. I ask that the two wheel Dakota trucks also be considered for recall for more durable and safe ball joints and suspension parts. I do a lot of highway travel and when you pay thousands of dollars, you should not have to feel your wheel may fall off at any time.

- Oak Forest, IL, USA

problem #18

Nov 092004

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 47,000 miles
1. after driving vehicle several miles, audible "groan" comes from front suspension of vehicle during turns. No problem with steering, no excessive play, but makes that moaning sound. Suspect ball joints. This is an ongoing problem. 2. at 46,000 (approx) had to replace 1 rotor, 1 drum on brakes for excessive vibration during stops. Problem cleared for about 18,000 miles, now doing same thing again. Suspect Dodge's supplier of rotor and drums is not very good.

- Kingsport, TN, USA

problem #17

Oct 102004

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 74,000 miles
1. preparing to drive from California to North Carolina ib 2002 Dodge Dakota quad cab 2wd. Having tires replaced and front end alignment. Front end ball joint and assy needed to be replaced due to extreme wear. Mechanic stated I was lucky the wheels didn't fall off. Had front end ball assy replaced.

- Cary, NC, USA

problem #16

Oct 132004

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 39,582 miles
Upper and lower ball joint failure, both sides. Replacement estimated at $1100.

- Valparaiso, IN, USA

problem #15

Jun 152004

(reported on)


  • miles
2002 Dodge Dakota has front end noise problems. The vehicle was taken to the dealer but they couldn't find anything wrong with it. The dealer indicated that the noise was a characteristic of the vehicle. The dealer eventually replaced the front end but the noise was still present.

- Unknown, DC, USA

problem #14

May 212004


  • 15,000 miles
While driving 50 mph the front passenger side tire and rotor separated from the vehicle. As a result, the vehicle rolled over four times. The driver sustained broken ribs.

- Detroit, MI, USA

problem #13

Mar 102004

(reported on)


  • 21,000 miles
While driving there's a vibration in the front end. Vehicle is currently at the dealership for inspection.

- Saint John, VI, USA

problem #12

Feb 102004


  • 21,000 miles
Front end and wheel vibrated while driving. Upon inspection by the dealership they indicated that the bushings deteriorated, and only bolt remained. Also, front end was loose.

- Saint John , VI, USA

problem #11

Mar 032004


  • 38,300 miles
When turning in either direction front end produces a knocking noise.

- Gilbert, AZ, USA

problem #10

Oct 212003

Dakota 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 3,000 miles
While driving at slow speeds and turning corners there was a clicking sound coming from the front end.

- Edinburg, VA, USA

problem #9

Aug 012002

Dakota 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5 miles
2002 Dodge Dakota quad cab, vibration in the front end, taken to dealership mult times with no luck, vibration has lasted since truck was new, now 24000 miles later same problem. Truck jerks in gear 1st to 2nd and popping when turns, taken it 2 different dealers, 1 said balance tires (3-4 times) no help, other said power steering pump bad, fix did not help. What can I do 30K+ truck has not been fixed since day one! what do I do from here.

- Locust Grove , VA, USA

Read the next 8 complaints »