In this blog, we are going to highlight the problems you should keep an eye out for when you are in the market to buy a RAM 1500. However, let’s first start with a quick answer.
What are the problems that are faced by the owner of a RAM 1500?
RAM 1500 is known for its transmission failure in its 2014-2015 models. The early 2000 model years have dashboards prone to cracking. The 2014-2019 years have fire hazards and engine coolant leakage problems. Power steering failure in the 2019 Ram 1500, air suspension problems, tailgate opening abruptly, vehicle rollaway, cam and lifter in the 2011 model year, and damaged airbag problems in the 2010-2020 model years are also present.
This is the simple answer that we can give. In the article below, we’ll discuss every problem in detail. This includes identifying it, fixing it, and how much it cost to fix.
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Also read: The Expected Mileage Of A RAM 1500
1. Air Suspension Does Not Work Properly
Owners of the 2014 RAM 1500 have complained that their air suspension does not work properly. Most of these problems are reported during cold weather. In cold weather, the system shows different error codes in the instrument panel. The low temperature of the area, compressor failure, and blown-out fuse are the main reasons behind these errors.
Another problem that haunts the air suspension of the RAM 1500 is its crumbling of airbags from the right to the left position. The truck cannot adjust itself in the upper and lower direction according to its different ride height capacities. In rough terrains, this problem can hinder your car mobility. It can also lead to unbalancing of the car which can result in an accident.
The main symptom of this problem is getting different error codes in the instrument cluster regarding the suspension. You can properly inspect the working of your airbag by moving underneath the truck, and verifying the assembly of the airbags. If they are straight then your suspension is in perfect condition. If they are leaning in the right or left direction then you need to get your air suspension checked by a mechanic. There can also be a compressor failure.
The typical repair cost for this problem is around $2,260. If you own a RAM 1500 and are facing its problems then a hefty repair bill is on the cards.
2. Power Steering Failure
The owner of the 2019 RAM 1500 model has complained about intermittent power steering loss. The main culprit of the problem is an open electric circuit. FAC has stated that a fastener that grounds the battery was not secured as required by the design during assembly. It may detach, disabling power steering in the process in the affected vehicles.
The company said that a loose connection can lead to an open circuit that can cause the power steering system to come and go frequently. This problem can lessen the driving experience and safety standards – since it can lead to crashes if the driver is not experienced enough to handle the inconsistent steering tantrums.
The main symptom of this problem is getting a power starting failure message, or the power steering getting stiff. Chrysler has recalled 182,000 vehicles that were built after October 25th, 2018. If you own a RAM 1500 after this date you should get your car looked at a Chrysler dealership near you. The fix involves simply tightening the fastener.
3. Transmission Problems
Owners of RAM 1500 have reported issues with their transmission. The most common problem is the driver experiencing a bump in the transmission when he/she released the brake or during acceleration. This problem was reported while the truck’s mileage was under 14,000 miles. This problem is not a serious one but can damage your car’s transmission.
Many owners have to replace the driveshaft or they were asked to update the software. This problem is also notoriously difficult to replicate – since a lot of the affected owners were told by their dealers that they couldn’t replicate the problem, and thus there was nothing they could do about it.
The main symptom of the problem is experiencing a hard shift, jerk, or slip while turning or gear shifting. The 2014 model of RAM 1500 was the most affected vehicle.
If you own the car then a simple software update will solve the issue, or if the issue is extensive then you have to change the drive shaft which will cost you $750. It is unlikely that you will be asked by your mechanic to replace the transmission completely.
4. Cracked Dashboard
Earlier models of RAM 1500 were victims of the cracked dashboard. A cracked dashboard is not a fatal flaw but can turn a beautiful truck into an untidy-looking piece. Owners have reported that their RAM 1500 dashboard starts to crack at around 83,000 miles.
The main cause is the sun taking its toll on the Dodge RAM 1500 dashboard. The dashboard’s plastic is prone to splitting up as well as cracking over time.
The easy way to avoid its problem is to get a dashboard cover that will protect the dashboard from the sun, especially in hot climates. If you want to repair your cracked dashboard it will cost you $700.
5. EGR Cooler Leaks Coolant And Sparks
The RAM 1500 models from 2014 to 2019 come with a serious issue. The exhaust gas recirculation (ERG) cooler of RAM 1500 forms micro-cracks that allow coolant to leak and cause a fire. The crack in the cooler allows pre-heated vaporized coolant to enter the ERG system. The mixture may combust inside the intake manifold. This causes engine fires that are very dangerous as they can cost a human life as well as the whole truck.
It has been reported that at least 4 people got injured trying to put out the flames before their truck was totaled. Almost 160,000 vehicles were recalled in October 2019. What’s more agonizing is that people have to wait for a month to get their fixed truck back.
If you see smoke coming out of the car’s engine bay, you should turn off the car immediately and leave the car to ensure your safety. These fires can soon turn catastrophic and should be handled by professionals, therefore call the concerned authorities at the earliest.
If you are in the market to buy one you should keep an eye out for this problem. If you own a RAM 1500 from the 2014 to 2015 model years you should get in contact with a dealer. So that you can get your parts that are at the risk of failing replaced with more reliable parts.
6. The Engine Will Not Turn On / The Engine Is Frequently Stalling
Another problem that haunts the RAM 1500 owner is its engine not working properly. The car does not turn on when you turn in the key. You might get a clicking sound or sometimes nothing at all when you try to put the key in the ignition trying to start the truck.
Most of the time the culprit is a bad battery or loose cable connection. If you are lucky enough then it might only be the loose cable that can be tightened to restore the electrical flow. If you’re out of luck, then a bad starter motor can also be a cause.
The only way to get rid of this problem is to replace it which will cost you a minimum of $230. A bad sensor can also create problems for your truck which can stall the engine while driving. Replacing it should make your truck as good as new.
7. Bad Exhaust Manifold
RAM 1500 became a victim of yet another fatal flaw in 2016. The main problem lies with the exhaust manifold. The bolts holding the exhaust manifold break and harmful gases can leak into the atmosphere or compartment of the car. It is very dangerous as these leak gases can cause serious health problems.
The main symptom that is being observed by the owners is hearing a ticking sound coming out of the engine. If you hear one you should get your car checked by a nearby mechanic.
If you own a RAM 1500 and are facing this problem then the bolts change on the manifold will cost you $1,200 including labor. If you are in the market to buy one then you should keep an eye out for this type of problem.
Also read: What Gas Does A RAM 1500 Take? (Explained)
8. Cam And Lifter Failure
Many of the RAM 1500 owners have reported that their truck stalls when stopping or idling – or it seizes up unexpectedly. The most common cause of this problem is cam and lifter failure. This problem can affect any model of the RAM 1500 but the most affected ones are the late models (after 2011).
Many of the owners have reported that they faced cam and lifter problems at a mileage of fewer than 75,000 miles. This is quite problematic since Ram is known for its sturdiness and strength. Having a cam and lifter failure in the middle of a road can leave you stranded and might cost you thousands of dollars in repairs.
The symptoms include knocking or tapping noises, coming from a running engine. It is caused when two or three cylinders misfire with lifters seizing. This results in the cam showing premature wear and tear, with one to two lobes heavily grooved and damaged.
If you leave this issue unchecked, it might cause you major problems. This is the situation you don’t want yourself to be in. To avoid making your truck a lemon, if you hear any knocking or tapping sounds from your engine, you should get it checked by a nearby mechanic.
The only solution to this problem is a replacement of the cam and lifter which will cost you a minimum of $3,500. If you are in the market to buy one then you should avoid ones that have knocking sounds when running. Before the purchase, get a mechanic to check the cam and lifter status so that you can avoid this problem in the future – that is if you go on with the purchase.
9. Tailgate May Open Unexpectedly
The owners of RAM 1500 from the 2015-2017 model years have reported an issue with their power locking tailgate. This is not a truck-breaking problem but under certain circumstances, this can be lethal for others and yourself.
The problem lies with the tailgate – it abruptly opens or closes. It might happen anytime – when your truck is parked in the garage or when you are cruising on a highway. This can be quite problematic.
The cargo you have put in your truck bed could fall on the road and cause more road hazards. This also increases the risk of a crash. Also, the driver has no way to notice that the tailgate is opened and the cargo from the truck is falling off, and even if the driver notices, it is too late by then.
The main cause of the problem is the tailgate actuator limiter tab. That tab may fracture and cause the tailgate to unlatch and open while driving. There are no particular symptoms. If you observe that your tailgate is loose or is not holding its weight then you should get it checked from a nearby Dodge dealership. Or you can travel with no cargo so that even if the tailgate opens while driving there is nothing in the truck that can become a road hazard.
After several complaints from the customers, Dodge has recalled all the vehicles with this problem including RAM 1500. More than 1 million vehicles were affected by this problem. RAM recall no. is V44 and NHTSA recall no. is 19V347000. If you are in the market to buy RAM 1500 truck then you should first check with the seller about the problem before going through the purchase.
10. Cruise Control Cannot Be Canceled
Owners of the RAM 1500 from 2014-2019 are also plagued by an issue that can be fatal for their owners. The issue lies with the advanced cruise control of the truck. The cruise control once engaged cannot be turned off.
This situation increases the risk of a crash as cruise control is mostly engaged on highways at high speeds. If anything happens on the highway, the possibility of coming out of this unharmed is abysmal.
This situation is dangerous if the cruise control does not disengage after being manually turned off. Also, the driver can panic and make the situation worse as there is no way to control the truck.
The main reason for this problem can be traced down to a short circuit in the truck’s wiring. As a result, the driver might not be able to turn off the cruise control by depressing the brake pedal. The car maintains its current speed or possibly accelerates which then results in the truck being out of control.
There are no symptoms but if you observe your cruise control system acting weirdly then you should get it checked from a nearby Dodge dealership. On the other hand, it’s a better idea to not use this feature until it is fully repaired.
Due to several complaints by Dodge owners, Dodge has recalled all the vehicles having a faulty cruise control system. The NHTSA recall no. is 18V332000. If you are in the market to buy a Dodge RAM 1500 then you should look out for the ones that have bad cruise control.
11. Side Curtain Airbags Are Disabled
Another issue faced by the owner of the RAM 1500 from the 2013-2016 model years is the side curtain airbags and seat belt pretensions being disabled. This is a serious problem as in case of a crash or roll over the safety equipment not working properly can cause irreparable damage.
Since Ram 1500 is also used as an off-track road, safety precautions should be taken strictly. If the safety equipment in the truck such as airbags is faulty, it can cause serious problems.
The problem arises and is usually aggravated while driving off-road: the debris striking the vehicle may cause the roll rate sensor to trigger a fault within the occupant restraint controller. Due to this fault, the rollover side curtain airbag and the seat belt pre-tensioner will be disabled from deploying. This fault is not exclusive to the people who drive their RAM 1500 off-road but is also applicable to the people that use their truck as a normal vehicle.
But luckily Dodge has issued a recall on all the vehicles that have this particular problem. So if you own a RAM 1500 and see the airbag light illuminated then you should get it checked from a nearby Dodge dealership as soon as possible, so that you can make sure your life and your loved ones’ life can be secured. The recall number issued by Dodge is T25 and NHTSA recall no. is 17V302000.
If you are in the market to buy RAM 1500 then you should check from the seller if the truck was one of the recalled ones or not.
12. Vehicle May Rollaway
Owners of Dodge RAM 1500 from the 2007-2017 model years have reported another issue that is also quite concerning. The issue lies with the truck rolling off on its own when it is in the park and no hand brake or e brake is applied.
This is a concerning issue as the owner don’t know when their truck may roll off and cause problems for them and others. There any many reports of people getting injured and accidents happening due to the truck rolling away on its own.
The quick and easy fix to this problem is when you leave your truck, apply a hand brake or an e-brake so that your truck does not roll off on its own. If you hardly use an e-brake or hand brake and mostly rely on the parking gear, it will take some getting used to.
The main cause is the transmission shift without pushing the brake pedal. What happens is that if the brake pedal is being pushed for a prolonged period when the vehicle is running or in the park, it may cause the brake transmission shift interlock pin to stick in the open position.
As a result of the pin being in the open position, the transmission can be shifted out of PARK into any gear without the brake pedal being pushed or having a key in the ignition. This is bad for a truck that stands on the motto of reliability as braking only a little can make your truck roll away on its own.
Dodge took notice of the problem and recalled all the vehicles affected by this problem. If you own a RAM 1500 and observe that you can shift gear without any brake or ignition input then you should have your truck checked from a nearby Dodge dealership.
The recall no. issued by Dodge is T79 and NHTSA recall no. is 17V821000. You can also use a hand brake to avoid this problem. If you are in the market to buy a RAM 1500 then you should keep this problem in mind before purchasing anything.
What Is The Worst Model Year Of RAM 1500?
RAM 1500 is a very reliable truck that will last you for around 10-12 years on average. In a truck, you need a powerful engine and a high towing capacity which the RAM 1500 delivers. If you want to buy a used one, we will recommend that you avoid these model years that are mentioned below.
2014 and 2013 are the model years to avoid. They have the most unresolved issues and had several manufacturing defects for which there are no recalls. These model years are haunted by different problems ranging from transmission failure to engine problems that cost a lot of money to sort out.
The vehicles from 2007-2017 models faced vehicle rollaway and airbag failure issues as well. Thankfully, these issues were solved via a recall. The later models (2015-2017) also faced issues pertaining to an abrupt opening of the tailgate along with cam and lifter failures.
You should also avoid the 2019 model year car. This model year was victim to steering wheel problems as well as electrical issues that make the car un-drivable. These are the problems that have also been rectified in the latest models.
The best years for a Ram 1500 are 2008, 2010, and 2020. These models have the least number of problems and come with solid suspension, modified engine, and high towing capacity that rivals some of the V8 engines we know. You can’t go wrong with these models.
His interests in cars, motorcycles, and machines led him to the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore where he is currently a mechanical engineering sophomore.
His future aims include the development of an energy-efficient prototype vehicle for the Shell Eco-Marathon competition and getting a Master’s Degree in Automotive Engineering from Germany.