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Ram 1500 Reliability and Common Problems

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Both old and new model years of the Ram 1500 have something to offer drivers looking for a reliable pickup. Aside from being one of Ram’s most popular trucks, it’s also the easiest and cheapest to maintain. Its resale value is also better than most vehicles, depreciating by 50% in five years according to CarEdge.com.

Are Ram 1500s Reliable?

Red Ram 1500 Sideview
Aside from being one of Ram’s most popular trucks, the Ram 1500 is also arguably the easiest and cheapest to maintain.

The Ram 1500 enjoys above-average scores on all major reliability ratings. Cars.com rated it a 3 out of 5 and ranked it second out of six pickup trucks in its category. RepairPal gave it a 3.5 out of 5.0 and placed it fourth out of the 17 full-size trucks in its class. With proper handling and regular maintenance, your Ram 1500 can also enjoy a long service life.

Top Ram 1500 Problems

Although the Ram 1500 is one tough truck, it’s had its fair share of issues over the years. Here are the most widely reported problems for different model years:

Steering Problems

Steering wheel binding is one of the most widely reported 2019 Ram 1500 problems. The steering wheel may get stuck in the 11 o’clock position while making a turn. Unfortunately, Ram hasn’t issued a recall to address this issue.

Power steering failure has also been a problem for owners of this truck. The feature would engage intermittently, sometimes even shutting down completely. This prompted Ram to announce Recall V04 in the first part of 2019.

Ram 1500 Steering Wheel
Steering wheel binding is one of the most widely reported 2019 Ram 1500 problems.

More than 150,000 Ram 1500 trucks were included in this recall. The power steering assist malfunction was traced back to an improperly secured ground battery fastener. The automaker offered to tighten the loose fastener for free and required dealers to complete the service for new and used trucks before they were sold.

Electrical Problems

The 2017 Ram 1500 has had electrical problems that are pretty minor. Owners have had to deal with multiple warning lights activating out of nowhere, power door locks that don’t work, and faulty USB charging outlets. If you come across any of these issues, the best course of action is to have a mechanic check your truck.

Engine Problems

Many drivers who own a 2015 Ram 1500 truck have reported that their engine blew and shut down without warning within the first 20,000 miles.

Owners of the truck recall hearing a loud noise from the engine before their vehicle stalled. However, what particularly frustrated them was the lack of active warning lights to indicate that there might be an issue with their engine.

Fourth Generation Ram 1500
Many drivers who own a 2015 Ram 1500 truck have reported that their engine blew and shut down without warning within the first 20,000 miles.

Some got their dealer to agree to replace the blown engine, while others are not as lucky. Unfortunately, Ram hasn’t issued any recalls to address these engine problems.

If you’re considering buying a used 2015 Ram 1500, have a trusted mechanic check and make sure that its engine is in good condition before making your decision.

Air Suspension Problems

One of the worst 2014 Ram 1500 problems is a malfunctioning air suspension system.

There have been reports of trucks failing to maintain their adjusted height. While these vehicles rode well at slow speeds, they became more bouncy as they reached highway speeds.

Other drivers have noticed that their air suspension fails in the winter months because of the cold weather. Some brought their trucks to the dealer to get their air suspension compressor replaced. However, a few of them have had to replace the faulty part more than once because the issue recurred whenever temperatures dropped.

Worn Rear Window Seal

Worn rear window seals are a common issue reported by owners of the 2010 Ram 1500. The faulty seal causes rainwater to enter the cab and drench parts of the back seat. Although this may seem like a minor issue to some drivers, there have been worse cases where it caused flooding in the rear seats.

Fortunately, it’s easy to buy new seals and have them installed on your vehicle. A rear window seal replacement can cost you around $40 to $100 plus labor costs.

Before buying a used Ram 1500, check if the rear window seals have been replaced and make sure that they’ve been installed correctly.

Exhaust Manifold Issues

Owners of Ram 1500s equipped with Hemi engines have reported hearing a loud ticking noise from their pickups during startup. The noise either became less noticeable as their engines heated up or became worse and turned into loud knocking over time.

passenger side exhaust manifold
Installing a set of new exhaust manifold bolts and gaskets resolved exhaust manifold issues for many owners of the Ram 1500.

RepairPal reports that broken or missing exhaust manifold bolts are the likely cause of these noises. Installing a set of new exhaust manifold bolts and gaskets resolved the issue for most drivers.

Transmission Problems

If you drive a 2014 Ram 1500, you may have encountered issues with your truck’s transmission. Problems ranging from poor acceleration to rough shifting have been reported in pickups with less than 14,000 miles. Other reported transmission problems for this model are hard shifting during start-up, excessive noise, and slipping of gears.

Dodge Ram 1500 Laramie Quad Cab 2014
If you drive a 2014 Ram 1500, you may have encountered issues with your truck’s transmission. Image source: Wikimedia.

Unfortunately, most owners had to replace their faulty transmission. Depending on which components you need to replace, you might spend at least a thousand dollars plus labor fees.

Because of the severity of these transmission issues, this model year was included in several recalls. For instance, Ram released Safety Recall P13 to deal with improperly machined transmissions.

Coolant Leaks

Coolant leaks seem to be a generational problem in the Ram 1500. Many drivers who own the fifth generation of the pickup report smelling coolant from their new trucks but failed to find the source of the leak.

Some drivers discovered that the reservoir cap was loose and was causing coolant to evaporate and fall below optimal levels. In most cases, what worked was replacing the coolant reservoir cap to ensure a tight seal.

Researching common Ram 1500 problems will help you anticipate how much repair and maintenance your truck will need during the remainder of its service life. And if you’re in the market for a new or used Ram 1500, knowing these things before heading to the lot will help in narrowing down the right model year for you.

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