How to Troubleshoot a Dodge Dakota Transmissionby Alibaster Smith
There are several transmission options for the Dodge Dakota, depending on the model and trim level you get. Newer Dodge Dakotas offer a six-speed manual transmission (ST model), with a four-speed automatic as an option. Other ST models offer a five-speed automatic and higher power output on the engine. Dodge is known for making some of the best pickup trucks on the market. With that said, Dakota transmissions do break down, and when they do, it's helpful to know how to troubleshoot the problem or problems before taking the truck back to the dealership.
Check to see if the transmission fluid is brown or has a burned smell. Remove the transmission dipstick and wipe off the end of the stick. Replace the dip stick and pull it out again. This time, check the end of the dipstick to ensure the fluid is between the upper and lower marks on the dipstick. Smell the oil to see if it smells burned. If the color looks brown, instead of red, or if it's burned, have the Dakota serviced by a transmission shop.
Check to see if the transmission slips while in gear. For the home mechanic, simply check the transmission fluid. Since disassemble of a transmission requires not only specialized tools but specialized knowledge (and years of experience) of gear assemblies, it is not recommended that you take apart your Dakota transmission. If the fluid level is low, add more fluid. Otherwise, you'll need to have the transmission serviced by a qualified transmission specialist.
Check to see if your Dakota will start in gears other than park. If so, your neutral safety switch is malfunctioning. Have this fixed by a mechanic.
Check to see if the transmission will downshift during hard acceleration. If you are having problems downshifting the transmission when you floor the accelerator, you may need to adjust the throttle cable by turning the adjustment screw clockwise to tighten the cable.