Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid — most common problems
Find out which Dodge Ram 1500 years you should steer clear of.
Though the Dodge Ram 1500 tows somewhat less than its competitors, it is most treasured for its smooth rides. The Dodge Ram 1500 has been a popular and reliable full-size pickup truck since the early 1990s.
While most Ram 1500 models are known for their durability and performance, there have been some years in which certain issues have been more prevalent. This article takes a closer look at Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid, minimizing the risk of encountering significant problems with your vehicle.
Why you can trust REREV’s advice on which car model years to avoid: Our car experts look at official data, ask real drivers what they think, and talk to experienced mechanics to make sure our list is useful. This reliable info can make buying a car easier for you. Want to know how we do it? Find out more about our research methodology.
Most common Dodge Ram 1500 problems
Like any vehicle, the Dodge Ram 1500 is not immune to problems, which are more common in older Ram 1500, as newer models have been designed with these issues in mind. You must know what problems the Ram 1500 is prone to developing so you can plan an effective preventive maintenance schedule.
Here are the common problems you can expect to find on the Ram 1500.
It may start as a minor problem, considering that it does not affect the vehicle’s drivability or make it revolting at first glance. However, with time, this issue becomes one of the most terrible things you may have to consider. Drivers who had let it progress report that the dashboard falls away from the car, inch by inch over time.
The dashboards of the 2001 to 2003 Ram 1500 were most susceptible to cracking and falling off. The problem results from the sun’s glare continuously beaming down on the dash.
The best course of action you can take is to get a dashboard cover to protect the dashboard from the sun’s rays, especially if you live in hot climates. Whether your Ram 1500 is most prone to suffering from a cracking dashboard or not, the investment in a dashboard cover will ensure you do not have to pay over $700 in repairs.
These issues can range from minor problems, such as hesitation or slipping when shifting gears, to more severe issues, such as complete transmission failure. In some cases, these transmission problems have been caused by faulty parts, while in other cases, they may be due to issues with the transmission’s software or control system.
The 1994 to 2000 Ram 1500 models are the most affected by transmission issues, and drivers reported that it usually manifested after 90,000 miles.
If you own a newer Ram 1500, you need not worry much about transmission issues as Dodge modified the Ram 1500 to its current state, which has fewer transmission problems.
Fuel system problems
Some drivers have reported issues with the fuel pump, fuel tank, or fuel injectors, which can cause problems with starting the vehicle or can cause it to run poorly. These issues are caused by various factors, including faulty parts, contamination, or wear and tear.
Also, drivers have reported some common problems after changing the fuel pump, so it’s crucial to inspect the fuel delivery system before buying a used RAM 1500.
These issues can range from minor problems, such as intermittent power failures or problems with the vehicle’s lights, to more severe issues, such as complete electrical system failure. In some cases, these issues may be caused by faulty wiring, while in other cases, they may be due to problems with the vehicle’s battery or charging system.
Drivers have identified 2002, 2009, and 2011 Ram 1500s as having the most electrical issues compared to the other Ram 1500s produced. For these models, these electrical issues are usually followed by problems with the accessories as they mainly thrive on electricity to perform responsibly.
Suspension problems cause issues with the handling and stability of the vehicle, while engine and drivetrain problems can cause issues with power and performance. Various factors, including wear and tear, faulty parts, or improper maintenance, can cause these issues.
The 2014 Ram 1500 carries the rank of the Ram 1500 with the worst suspension issues. With the many other problems the 2014 model has, it is best to avoid this model at all costs, especially when buying from the used market.
The Dodge Ram 1500 suffers from a list of engine issues. When looking for a Ram 1500 to purchase, remember that more recent models have few engine problems, unlike older models.
Many drivers have reported engine stalling at odd times and other issues caused by many factors. For one, some engines of the Ram 1500 consume excessive oil; others experience coolant leaks, while some are prone to developing faulty exhaust manifold bolts. These issues all cause damage to the engine, which, if left unchecked, eventually causes engine failure. Along with excessive oil consumption, drivers have complained about oil coming out of exhausts.
Which Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid
While most Ram 1500 models are known for their durability and performance, there have been some years in which certain issues have been more prevalent.
Second-generation Ram 1500 (1994, 2003-2004 model years)
Generally, one would want to avoid models from the 1990s, except the person is a car collector with other purposes for the vehicle other than driving. The models of the 1990s were quite excellent for their time, with the 1994 model turning out to be the black sheep. It received significant criticism and is known for having several issues, including problems with the transmission, engine, and electrical system.
Many drivers reported transmission problems with the 1994 Ram 1500, ranging from slipping and hesitation when shifting gears to complete failure of the transmission. Several factors, including faulty parts and improper maintenance, caused these issues.
The 2004 model is another Ram 1500 that received much negative feedback. The model year is known for having issues with the transmission and problems with the fuel system and suspension.
The 2004 Ram 1500 is also known for having problems with the fuel system, including issues with the fuel pump, fuel tank, and fuel injectors. Some drivers also reported suspension, shocks, springs, and steering issues. These problems were safety hazards as they caused issues with the handling and stability of the vehicle.
The main problem the 2003 model has does not initially come up as a severe issue. Drivers complain that the dashboard of the 2003 model cracks easily and at low mileage. Since it is only a cosmetic problem and does not necessarily affect the vehicle’s drivability, it is often overlooked when starting.
However, with time, the issue of the cracking dashboard progresses and becomes an eyesore. The dashboard, at some point, gives the impression that it is falling off completely. For this reason, many drivers avoid buying the 2003 model altogether.
Fourth-generation Ram 1500 (2010-2016 model years)
The 2010 to 2016 Dodge Ram 1500s, equipped with a 5.7-liter V8 engine, all suffered from several engine problems. Many drivers of these vehicles suffered from a mountain of engine problems mixed with suspension, transmission, electrical, and transmission problems.
For the 2014 model, the transmission was the biggest problem yet. It was prone to acting up in many ways, mostly minor issues. However, these minor issues often lead up to transmission failure.
The 2015 Ram 1500 sported no significant improvement from the 2014 model, and it inherited transmission issues from it and added a bunch of fuel system, engine, transmission, and electrical problems. The accessories, too, had their share of issues, making the 2014 model a highly undesirable one.
2016 Dodge Ram 1500 suffered from a range of problems, including faulty rear tailgate latches, airbag issues, cruise control, and shifter linkage problems. The engine issues it had were less problematic than that of the 2010 to 2014 years. Nevertheless, many drivers avoid the vehicle altogether to avoid getting inconvenienced by the numerous issues.
Best Dodge Ram 1500 years
Certain model years of the Ram 1500 generally received more positive than negative reviews from drivers.
- 2011 Dodge Ram 1500
- 2015 Dodge Ram 1500
- 2017 Dodge Ram 1500
- 2020 Dodge Ram 1500
Most drivers regard the 2017 Ram 1500 model as the most reliable and durable vehicle in the Ram 1500 lineup. Aside from having fewer problems, the 2017 Ram 1500 is also one of the easiest Rams to repair, and you can find most of its parts anywhere.
The 2020 model is known for also being reliable and having few reported issues. They are equipped with many features that make them popular among pickup truck drivers.
The 2020 model year, in particular, has been praised for its refined and stylish exterior design and its spacious and well-equipped interior. However, if you are in the market for a used Dodge Ram 1500, consider the 2017 Ram 1500 first before 2020. The 2017 Ram 1500 has been in operation for much longer and has proven its worth over more mileage.
Is the Dodge Ram 1500 worth buying?
The Ram 1500 is generally considered a reliable and well-built vehicle worth your money. With its powerful engines and durable construction, the Ram 1500 is a good choice for those needing a vehicle for work or recreational purposes.
Overall, the Dodge Ram 1500 is reliable and well-built, has a good resale value, and holds well in the market. To get the most out of your Ram 1500, you must follow recommended maintenance schedules and address issues as soon as they arise.
What years of the Ram 1500 are most reliable?
2017, 2011, and 2020 models of the Dodge Ram 1500 have been rated as the most reliable models in the lineup. If you are looking for a Ram 1500 off the used market, you should go for the 2017 model.
What’s the worst year for Dodge Ram 1500?
Many drivers consider the 2015 Ram 1500 as the worst model. It had most of the common issues the Ram 1500 was prone to having but in severe amounts.
Which Ram 1500 is the best?
The current best Dodge Ram 1500 currently is the 2017 Ram. It has fewer problems and has proven its worth over a much longer mileage.
Which Ram 1500 engine is the best?
The best engine Dodge produced for the Ram 1500 lineup is the 5.7L V8. It is the most powerful and comes paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission.