My dad bought this truck for 500$ in 2004. He daily drove it everyday to Orlando and back loading it with miles. When I got my liscence in 2011 he gave it to me. By the time he gave it to me the truck had 380k miles on it. 380k!!. I daily drove it to school and back until April 2013. When I got rid of it, it had 420k miles on and still going strong. Oh and the whole time me and my dad owned it the only things we did to it was change a clutch and a throttle positioning sensor!! We took great care of the truck though. Oil change every 3k miles. But I gave the truck to my uncle and its his daily driver to this day. He just drove it to Michigan and back twice. Starts right up 1st time every time
I bought this truck 3 months ago for $2500.00 and its the best $2500.00 I've ever spent.Truck has 180,000 and runs like a champ.The 6th dodge I've owned and as you can see it will always be this way. Dodge Dakota best truck on the road.
All things considered not a bad truck in a 140k miles. Bought used with 30k miles and 2k later transmission went and was repaired under waranty - no problems since. Have the 5.2l V8 with positraction. Used the truck for hauling a 4500lb boat just about every good weather weekend and commuting to work. Replaced dist pickup at 65k and 120K, O2 sensor at 120k due to a "21"error code, and blower resistor at 110k. Aside from normal wear items such as tires, brakes, plugs, fan belt, radiator hoses etc. no other problems - very reliable. Been using Mobil 1 at 7.5k oil changes and does not leak a drop of engine or tranny oil. As with all these dakotas, the headliner fails, and fuel gauge is whacky.
Great for towing with 3.73 posi rear and 5.2l V8. Easy on tires (lightweight truck). Handles fairly well. AC still works great. Handles a 1/2 ton load easily. Truck feels really solid - little frame twist. ample storage behind seat.
Dash gauges and controls are somewhat fisher price style. Rear jump seat is for looks only. OEM shocks were total crap - but a set of Bilsteins made this truck handle and ride great.
Bought this truck in 98 for $8900. Paid off in 4 yrs and drove maintenance free (virtually) for another 6 years. Replaced the fuel pump at 100k miles. Replaced engine computer just after that. Engine light still comes on but dealership cannot figure out why. Truck runs great. Air still cold and it always cranks. Needs paint now but I'm debating whether to put anymore money in it. May use it for Cash for Clunkers bill just signed. Best car purchase I've ever made. not sure how to get it to pass inspection now that check engine light keeps coming on but have a few months to figure that out.
Reliability, no question. For the money, you cannot beat this truck. V6 is strong - has always pulled whatever I have wanted. Two scoops of mulch barely slows it down.
Sure does ride rough when compared with other trucks in it's class.
I got this truck for utility functions in addition to going to work and back. The engine purrs like a kitten, which truly amazes me. The tranny (auto) is a little slow to shift in extreme cold, but warm her up and she does just like you'd want. I replaced the brakes in their entirety and all 4 shocks (Rancho). It handles like new... and I got it at a great price. The heat is a little weak when it gets cold, but otherwise, you will have a hard time finding such a wonderful truck at such a great price. I'd drive this thing over a same aged Toyota any day. The engine sounds just like new and I have 113,000 miles on it. It has minor leaks, but, not enough to require servicing between maintenance
The V-6 Magnum has to be one of the best engines ever made. HEMI sounds cool, but this baby is sweet. The handling is well above average, but as I mentioned, I put Ranchos on & Raybestos rotors (which are now made in China-thanks for nothing) and some US Goodyear Fortera Silent Armor's (love these!)
The bench seats were a mistake. The dash looks a little 70's like... but it's a '96, but it's a reliable instrument panel. The people who designed the second row of seats did not love their children. I just use that area for cargo as a kid would crack their head every speed bump.