Here Are The Worst Dodge Ram 1500 Years to Avoid for Used Models

Patrick Oziegbe
Updated On:

Are you on the hunt for a used Dodge Ram 1500 that won’t leave you stranded on the side of the road?

Don’t be caught off guard by unexpected problems – some model years are more prone to issues than others. You need to know which years to avoid before making a purchase, and we’ve got you covered.

In this guide, we’ll reveal the specific Dodge Ram 1500 model years that could leave you with a lemon. Don’t risk your time, money, and sanity on a truck that’s not up to par.

Get the inside scoop on which years to steer clear of so you can drive off into the sunset with confidence. (NOTE: Our automotive site is filled with related guides!

Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid

Dodge Ram 1500 Years to Avoid

2003 Model

In 2003, the Dodge Ram 1500 experienced various issues, such as problems with the transmission and engine. You might want to avoid this year as it is known for its various problems and recalls.

2010-2013 Models

For the 2010-2013 Ram 1500 models, specifically those with a 5.7-liter V8 engine, there have been reports of engine failure and other issues. It’s advised to be cautious when considering these years.

2014-2015 Models

The 2014 and 2015 Ram 1500 models also had their share of issues, including transmission problems and electrical system malfunctions. You might want to avoid these years as well to reduce the risk of dealing with such complications.

2016 Model

The 2016 Ram 1500 is another year you should be wary of, as it is reported to have experienced various problems, such as engine failure and transmission issues.

2017 Model

Although the 2017 Ram 1500 is considered the most reliable of the fourth-generation models produced during the last decade, it still had some minor issues. Keep this in mind when considering this model.

2018 Model

There is limited information on the 2018 Ram 1500 model, but as a general rule, it is always essential to research thoroughly before purchasing any vehicle.

2020 Model

No specific issues or recalls have been reported for the 2020 Ram 1500 so far, and it is generally considered a reliable model. But, as always, be sure to do your research.

2022 Model

As the 2022 Ram 1500 is relatively new, it may be too early to identify any significant issues. Be observant of any long-term reviews and keep an eye on potential recalls for this model.

Remember, when looking into used trucks, it’s essential to research each specific model thoroughly before making a decision. Read reviews from various sources and weigh the pros and cons.

RELATED: Worst Dodge Dakota Years to Avoid!

Common Engine Problems

5.7-liter V8 Issues

One common issue with the Dodge Ram 1500 equipped with the 5.7-liter V8 engine is the faulty exhaust manifold bolts.

This problem particularly affects models with a 3.7L V6 and 4.7L V8 engine. When these bolts break, it can cause an engine knocking sound and lead to poor performance.

It’s important to address this issue promptly to ensure your truck remains reliable and efficient.

Another problem that may affect this engine is the malfunctioning intake valve spring. This issue can cause stalling, poor engine performance, and, in some cases, engine failure.

EcoDiesel Engine Problems

The EcoDiesel engine in some Dodge Ram 1500 models is not immune to problems either. Here are complete Ram EcoDiesel years to avoid listed and explained.

One notable issue is the fuel system and cylinder head concerns, which can cause engine performance problems and even engine failure.

These issues often result in various complaints from owners and pose a threat to the overall durability and reliability of the truck.

Here are some concerning aspects you should be aware of:

  • Fuel system problems: These can lead to reduced engine power, poor fuel efficiency, and even engine shutdowns. Regular maintenance and timely repairs can help you keep the fuel system in good condition.
  • Cylinder head defects: Defective cylinder heads can lead to coolant leaks, overheating, and other serious engine-related issues. Monitoring coolant levels, checking for leaks, and performing routine engine maintenance can help you prevent these issues.

Regular maintenance, timely repairs, and keeping an eye out for common issues will ensure that your truck stays reliable and performs at its best throughout its lifespan.

Transmission Issues

Understanding these concerns will help you make a more informed decision when selecting a Ram 1500 truck.

The 1994 Ram 1500 is one specific model year known for various transmission problems, such as slipping and hesitation when shifting gears, or even complete transmission failure.

Some factors contributing to these problems are faulty parts and improper maintenance. The 2004 Ram 1500 has also received much negative feedback due to transmission issues.

From 1999 through 2003, the Dodge Ram series experienced more transmission issues, mainly with the 45RFE transmission.

This transmission was infamous for creating problems caused by failing solenoids within the housing, resulting in an inability to shift between gears.

Additionally, the 2014 Ram 1500 model faced transmission problems, including not downshifting and noise at low speeds.

Some common indicators of transmission issues in the Dodge Ram pickup include:

  • Shifting into gear without pressing the brake pedal
  • Truck rolling away while parked and off
  • Inability to shift into park.

To reduce the risk of transmission issues in your Dodge Ram 1500, make sure to properly maintain the vehicle and address any minor problems before they escalate.

Electrical Problems

Dodge Ram 1500 trucks, particularly those from years 2003, 2010-2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016, have been known to experience various electrical problems.

One of these issues involves the electrical system and its components, which are essential for proper vehicle operation.

When it comes to electrical issues, you might notice that your Dodge Ram 1500 has problems with its battery.

This could range from requiring frequent recharges, struggling to start, or even complete failure. It’s crucial for you to pay attention to your battery’s performance and address any concerns you might have.

Towing requires a reliable electrical system to function efficiently. If your Ram 1500 encounters electrical issues, it can directly impact your towing capabilities.

Components such as the trailer hitch wiring and brake lights need electricity to work correctly. If you are experiencing electrical problems, be cautious when towing to prevent malfunctions and ensure safety on the road.

Dashboard cracking could also be related to electrical problems in your Dodge Ram 1500 since the dashboard houses many electrical components, such as gauges and controls. If the dashboard cracks, it may lead to further deterioration of your truck’s electrical system.

The check engine light is another area where electrical issues might manifest. If this light comes on, it could indicate a problem within the electrical system or other components. It’s essential to have this issue checked by a professional to diagnose and fix any potential problems.

We suggest you pay more attention to your truck’s battery performance, towing capabilities, dashboard integrity, and check engine light will help you address any electrical issues that may arise, ensuring a smooth and safe driving experience.

Safety Concerns

Several Ram 1500 models experienced frequent recalls, leading to them becoming years to avoid.

For example, the 2014 Ram 1500 had multiple recalls primarily due to emissions problems, electrical issues, and rapidly dying batteries.

The 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 also faced a range of problems, including faulty rear tailgate latches, airbag issues, cruise control, and shifter linkage problems. Despite these issues, the engine appeared to be less problematic compared to the 2010 to 2014 models.

Airbag issues have been a common concern with some Ram 1500 models, putting you at potential risk during collisions. Recalls related to airbags often involve anything from problems with deploying to unexpectedly deploying while driving.

Visibility is another important safety aspect that should not be overlooked. Some model years of the Ram 1500 experienced issues with the turn signals, making it difficult to communicate with other drivers on the road – a crucial factor that contributes to safe and smooth driving experiences.

It’s also worth noting that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) registered multiple complaints regarding various safety concerns for specific model years.

The NHTSA has an extensive database that tracks these complaints, recalls, and other safety concerns, which is an excellent resource to consult when researching the safest Dodge Ram 1500 years to purchase.

Notable Repairs and Expenses

One common problem you might face is a faulty rear tailgate latch in the 2016 Dodge Ram 1500. This issue can be quite annoying, as it may require replacement of the latch mechanism to ensure proper functioning.

Another issue to look out for when purchasing a used truck is coolant leaks. While this might not be specific to a particular year, it is still something you should inspect carefully before buying the truck.

Coolant leaks can lead to overheating and possible engine damage if not addressed in a timely manner. Budget for potential repairs if you notice any signs of leaks.

To make your truck search easier, here is a list of Dodge Ram 1500 model years that you should consider avoiding due to various issues:

  • 2003: General reliability issues
  • 2010: Engine problems
  • 2013: Engine and electrical problems
  • 2014: Emissions issues and electric problems
  • 2015: Multiple complaints
  • 2016: Faulty rear tailgate latch, airbag issues, cruise control problems, and shifter linkage issues

Keep in mind that every used vehicle has its quirks and issues, and the Dodge Ram 1500 is no exception.

By staying informed about the common problems and expenses relating to certain model years, you can better prepare yourself for what to expect when it comes to repairs and maintenance costs.

Dodge Ram 1500 Competition

Ford F-150

When comparing the Dodge Ram 1500 with the Ford F-150, you’ll notice that both trucks offer a mix of power and luxury features.

The F-150 is known for its impressive towing capabilities, often surpassing the Ram 1500. However, the Ram 1500 is praised for its smoother ride and comfortable interior.

Two key problems with the F-150 can be the EcoBoost engine’s reliability and occasional transmission issues.

GMC Sierra 1500

The GMC Sierra 1500 is another worthy competitor for the Ram 1500. In general, both trucks offer a variety of engine choices and towing capabilities.

The Sierra 1500 has a slight edge when it comes to fuel efficiency, but the Ram’s smooth ride and impressive infotainment system give it an advantage in overall comfort.

Notable issues with the Sierra 1500 include excessive oil consumption and potential transmission problems.

Chevrolet Silverado 1500

The Chevrolet Silverado 1500 has long been a rival of the Ram 1500. While both trucks offer similar engine options and capabilities, the Silverado is known for its larger array of customization options.

The Ram 1500’s ride quality often surpasses the Silverado, making it the better choice for those who prioritize comfort.

The Silverado has also faced complaints about its brakes and electrical issues.

Toyota Tundra

Finally, the Toyota Tundra is a contender in the full-size pickup truck market. The Tundra boasts a reputation for long-lasting reliability, often outlasting other competitors in terms of durability.

However, the Ram 1500 has an edge in terms of the overall driving experience, with its superior ride quality and infotainment options.

Some concerns with the Tundra are its less-than-stellar fuel economy and Tundra’s outdated interior design.


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