What Are The Dodge Durango Transmission Problems? (Causes and Maintenance Cost)

From 1998 to 2015 model years, the common Dodge Durango transmission problems include rough shifting of auto transmission, transmission failure to engage, a banging or clunking sound during shifting transmission and transmission delay at some particular speeds.

Your vehicle’s transmission is in charge of converting adequate power into a precise level of speed. So, even the slightest issues with Durango’s transmission should be immediately resolved. Don’t let a minor issue turn into a snowball. 

Know with us what your Dodge Durango transmission does, its problems and how to fix them in detail.  

How Is The Dodge Durango Transmission?

The performance of your Dodge Durango largely depends on its transmission. Transmission is an intricate mechanical system that provides power to the drive-train and wheels direct from the powertrain allowing you to drive as you want. 

Standard automatic transmissions in Dodge Durango employ sensors to identify when it should switch gears and use the internal pressure of transmission fluid to do so. The torque converter lock-up manages gear shifting by disconnecting the automated transmission from the vehicle’s engine. 

To produce different speeds of the transmission, it creates multiple gear ratios. The hydraulic clutch or the torque transmitting device uses a “fluid coupling” process to transfer the engine’s power toward the transmission. 

What Are The Common Dodge Durango Transmission Problems?

The common models of Dodge Durango transmission are 42RLE, 46RE, 545RFE, W5A590, and 65RFE (2012-up). However, they are not without issues.

The foregoing are the 10 most frequent issues associated with the Dodge Durango transmission system:

01. Shifting Problems 

Dodge Durango, equipped with 42RLE transmission, may face challenging and slipping gear shifting issues. Based on the transmission type of your Dodge Durango, this problem may respond in a different way. You may experience your SUV wobbling or jarring while shifting to higher gears. 

The link holding the gears in line may have problems if the vehicle’s transmission slips, even if it contains the right quantity of fluid. A technician should take a look at this as immediately as possible since it could be quite dangerous when you are driving it.

While hearing the Dodge Durango engine vrooming at the time of changing gears, you should understand that the transmission must have slipped. You’ll experience a lack of traction, as though you were driving on ice.

02. Delayed or Harsh Transmission Shifting 

A properly working transmission should seamlessly shift into the appropriate gear. But, Dodge Durango owners with 545RFE transmission sometimes can experience harsh or delayed 4-5 or 3-4 gear shifts.

While changing gears into or shifting gears into others, the most frequent reason for the severe delay is parking overnight or in the cold. In this situation, the transmission doesn’t appear to be looking forward to moving into a certain gear. 

Several issues with the transmission, including solenoid problems, low or filthy transmission fluid, a faulty transmission cooler, jammed transmission filters, and other problems, might be the cause of paused and slowed shifting.

03. Leaking Transmission Fluids 

Your Dodge Durango’s shifting ability depends on the fluid in the automatic transmission. Even a little fluid leak can be a signal of major issues with your SUV. You can easily spot if there is any transmission fluid leakage. The color of the auto-transmission fuel is usually bright red with a sweet odor. Also, it might get a black color having a blaze smell. 

If you notice weird fluids on the driveway, drive your Dodge Durango for a short trip and examine the transmission dipstick afterward. Since, while you drive your vehicle, transmission fuel abstains from being burnt up or consumed, a low level of fluid indicates there is the possibility of transmission fluid leaking. 

04. Transmission Grinding or Shaking 

Dodge Durango’s faulty transmission may cause shivering or shaking at a faster speed. The grinding can worsen with auto transmission since they change to the following gear. 

While the gear is moving up to the next or the drivers press the vehicle’s gas pedal, they can notice surging, bucking, stuttering and jerking. As a result, your Dodge Durango can have acceleration issues and a thump or clunk during this. 

05. Slipping Transmission: Refusing to Engage or Maintain a Gear 

Another evidence of acute transmission issues is shift slipping during moving gears. With Dodge Durango’s automatic transmission, shifting toward higher speeds can be more abrupt, and the vehicle may jerk as it shifts between gears.

06. Abnormal Transmission Sounds 

If your Dodge Durango starts making noises like buzzing, clunking or humming, it can have issues with the automatic transmission. You can even face noise while the transmission is on neutral. Transmission clunking or whining can lead to planetary gear or torque converter malfunctioning. Dodge Durango drivers may face a loud clunking sound with 65RFE transmission while shifting to neutral from the drive. 

To avoid such a situation, you should take it to a professional mechanic as soon as you notice any strange sound coming from the transmission. The root cause of the 65RFE transmission issue might be the early release of its underdrive clutch. If more damage or deterioration occurs, you should replace the entire transmission. 

07. Vibrating Transmission 

If yours is a 42RLE transmission-equipped Dodge Durango, there can be transmission shuddering issues. Such a situation can occur between 100° F and 130°F transmission temperature at the time of driving in a steady state while the torque converter is in EMCC or partial lock operation. The trembling gives the impression that your vehicle is racing over speed bumps. 

08. Vehicle Freezing

Dodge Durango that freezes and, after that, abruptly restarts might be because of transmission lines issues. In such conditions, the vehicle’s torque converter may not engage and disengage in the right manner leading to transmission slippage and vehicle stalling. 

However, it’s not always necessary that vehicle freezing indicates transmission malfunction. Rather there can be other technical issues in the vehicle, like electrical or engine systems, for which the stalling is a sign. So, repeated stalling of your Dodge Durango requires you to take it for repair immediately. 

09. Escalating or Abrupt Deceleration of the Vehicle

Moving suddenly and powerfully forward or upward, or abrupt slowdown might be the sign that your Dodge Durango transmission is seriously damaged. In spite of continuously holding down the accelerator, the engine surging will lead to either exceeding the speed limit or slowing it down. 

Additionally, you will notice a change in the RPMs. A surging transmission may jump ahead and afterward go down backward. Nevertheless, you have kept your Dodge Durango in neutral or park mode. If it’s affected by transmission surging, it may unexpectedly dive or spring forward. 

10. Warning Light 

What is the trouble code for the transmission problem in Dodge Durango? The check engine light plays the role as there’s no warning light for transmission issues. For detecting anything weird or unusual, the transmission system comprises several sensors that convey error messages to the vehicle’s central computer. The check engine light appears upon receiving the error codes. 

However, there are several other reasons for the check engine warning light turning on that are not related to the Dodge Durango transmission. Regardless of the reason, CEL should be considered a primary sign of an issue that could worsen if not taken under repair. You can only precisely say why the warning light is on with a professional service provider. 

What Causes Dodge Durango Transmission Problems?

Torque converter malfunctioning is one of the common reasons for Dodge Durango transmission failure. As a result, you may experience shifting issues. 

The purpose of an automated transmissions’ torque converter is the same as the manual transmissions’ clutch. 

A malfunctioning torque converter will constantly do the same for a number of weeks or, believe it or not, months until it breaks down completely. This may result in your vehicle’s transmission fluid getting polluted, containing metal shards and causing serious harm to the transmission, necessitating a more expensive fix, maybe a total rebuild.

While you have transmission servicing and replacing its cooler return filter, it could enable the torque converter’s transmission fluid to leak back out. This can be the reason behind the initial delay or slipping gear engagement. 

If you notice clunking noise from the transmission, it’s probably due to the quicker release of the underdrive brake. On the other hand, failure in the wiring harness of the transmission or the transmissions’ harness connector failure can cause the CEL indicator to turn on. 

Another scenario that can lead to several transmission problems like fluid leakage, weird odor, low fluid, shaking or grinding, etc., is an issue with the valve body. This problem occurs in the valve body where the construction equipment for making check-balls has degraded to such a position that fluid can pass through and activate the underdrive brake through such shifts. 

Can I Drive With Dodge Durango Transmission Problem?

If you notice any symptoms of transmission problems with your Dodge Durango, consider it seriously and take your vehicle for repair. You can continue driving since the vehicle can still drive. But that wouldn’t be good for your vehicle.

You know, a transmission comprises several mechanical components, and malfunction of any of those parts can get worse if driven in such a situation.

Neglecting transmission problems can lead to the risk of severe accidents. So, better to avoid continuing to drive your Dodge Durango with transmission issues rather than taking it for repair. 

How to Fix Dodge Durango Transmission Problems?

There have been significant changes in the forms of transmissions employed in modern vehicles. You can diagnose the transmission issue by following the above mentioned signs in your vehicle.

However, Dodge Durango came up with automated transmission with a synthesis computer system that helps identify any transmission issues. This can be another way to find out the root of transmission problems. 

In order to diagnose any transmission issues, you will need a technician to connect first the diagnostic tool to the onboard computer of your Dodge Durango. A code will be generated stating the source of the issue. Followed by the technician would take your vehicle for test driving to observe the real-time behavior of the transmission. 

To replace the transmission on your Dodge Durango, you have to lift the truck from the surface so that you can reach all the components for unbolting. Afterward, use a transmission jack to bring it down to install a new transmission. 

If you are thinking of rebuilding your Dodge Durango transmission, don’t be surprised to know it is challenging. Rebuilding transmission all by yourself can damage far off repairing if you are unsure of the process. So, taking it to a professional transmission repair mechanic is best. 

Dodge Durango Transmission Servicing & Price 

Based on the way you maintain your vehicle determines how long the Dodge Durango will survive. In this equation, other things also affect factory manufacturing flaws and your driving style.

On average, Dodge Durango transmissions last for a maximum of 180,000 miles. Even your high-quality replaced transmission’s lifespan will be longer if you maintain it properly and address other manufacturing design flaws. 

Paying for maintenance servicing for your Dodge Durango might be expensive. But you can avoid paying extra by doing proper maintenance. 

Installing a new transmission for your Dodge Durango will cost between $3,000- $4,000, and for a replacement, you have to pay up to $3,500. The price can vary based on the severity of your Dodge Durango transmission problems and the charge of your regional service center. 

Final Thought 

Though you can guess what your Dodge Durango Transmission problems are there. But, it will only be accurate if you have the necessary tools along with enough experience.

Good luck to you if you are sure to replace your transmission yourself. But professional help would benefit you if you feel transmission rebuilding goes over your head.

Also Read More > How Much Can a Dodge Durango Tow?