Here Are The Dodge RAM 1500 Years To Avoid

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We've discovered eight Dodge RAM 1500 years to avoid. We'll run you through which years (and why) so you can pick the best used truck.

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The Dodge RAM 1500 is one of the most reliable trucks on the road. They can be work trucks, around the town trucks, or both. Not many have severe problems outside of typical vehicle problems, but like with all vehicles, you can save yourself some headaches by staying away from a few different years. Here are the Dodge RAM 1500 years to avoid.

Dodge RAM 1500 Years To Avoid

  • 2003
  • 2010-2013 (5.7-liter V8)
  • 2014
  • 2015
  • 2016

Each of these years has its share of problems and recalls, which we will go over down below. Depending on the drivetrain chosen, not every truck will risk having the issues listed below. Also, some of the problems might carry over to the RAM 2500 and higher, depending on the chosen drivetrain.


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Here Are the Dodge RAM 1500 Years to Avoid and Why

2003 Dodge RAM 1500

There are a lot of complaints about the engine problems with the RAM 1500. Although they are not significant complaints, they are in many different areas, meaning it could seem like you’re consistently chasing a knock here and a stalling problem there. And a lot of the issues will cause your check engine light to come on, which is a good thing if it’s a severe problem. Reports say that owners got so sick of chasing down the issue of the check engine light being on so often for really no reason they started putting tape over it, so they don’t have to look at it.

The biggest complaint about the 2003 Dodge RAM 1500 is the dashboard cracking easily and at low mileage. Although this is just a cosmetic problem and may not matter to someone if they’re using their truck for work purposes, it gets so bad so quickly that it becomes less of a cosmetic issue and more of a “my dashboard is falling off” issue.

2010-2013 Dodge RAM 1500 (5.7-liter V8)

The most common issues are engine problems. Some of these issues are the engine turning off while driving, lifters wearing out the camshaft (expensive), engine turning over but won’t start, and a mountain of other minor issues. Drivetrain, transmission, suspension, and electrical problems have also been reported as giving owners issues as the years go by. 

Another big complaint here is most consumers would say the power to MPG ratio is very poor. For a truck that is supposed to be able to do a lot of towing, the base 5.7-liter engine just can’t seem to muster up what other trucks from the same year can.


We want to make sure you walk away with the best year for the Dodge RAM 1500, so here we’ll tell you why the 2010 model is the best and what to look for in its various trim levels.

2014 Dodge RAM 1500

This 2014 RAM 1500 was the first release of the new EcoDiesel engine and had its share of problems. Like with the first release of anything, it’s most likely going to see the most problems, and this one sure did. The RAM received 14 recalls for the 2014 models; not all were engine problems, but most were in one way or another engine related. 

The transmission was the biggest issue for the year in adjustment to the EcoDiesel engine. There are all kinds of owner complaints about the transmission acting up in various ways. This includes not downshifting correctly, noisy at cold starts, noisy at low speeds, shifting out of drive while driving, revs with no acceleration, and bumping in transmission when releasing the brake or accelerating. Many of these may seem like minor problems, and they could be, but they could be problems leading up to a transmission failure.

2015 Dodge RAM 1500

There were 14 recalls alone related to the electrical, transmission, engine, and fuel system. These problems are still primarily associated with the new EcoDiesel engine platform’s failure. 

Other problems that became a consistent complaint were RAM’s GPS/UConnect system malfunctioning, radio problems, dashboard warning lights problems, and screen display problems. Unfortunately, a lot of these issues are like the boogieman; most technicians don’t have an answer to why they occur, so they make a temporary solution/repair, and the problem comes back. 

2016 Dodge RAM 1500

Still fighting the bugs in the EcoDiesel, there were 11 recalls for the 2016 RAM 1500. Among the engine, which was less than previous years, the RAM 1500 suffered problems like faulty rear tailgate latch on vehicles with power locks. Shifter linkage, cruise control, and airbag issues were among the other issues this RAM had.

Common Dodge RAM 1500 Problems

The Dodge RAM 1500 isn’t exactly a beacon of reliability, but it does have above-average reliability ratings. According to RepairPal, the RAM 1500 truck has a reliability score of 3.5 out of 5.0. Here are several of the truck’s common problems:

  • Faulty exhaust manifold bolts - Models with a 3.7L V6 engine and a 4.7L V8 engine have exhaust manifold bolts that are prone to breaking. The standard fix is to replace the exhaust manifold gaskets, which only cost about $15-$20.
  • Coolant leaks - Owners of 1994-2010 Dodge Ram 1500s have complained about their engine overheating due to the coolant leaking. The leaks usually come from the water pump, thermostat gasket, and intake manifold gasket.
  • TIPM issues - The Totally Integrated Power Module, or TIPM for short, can be a problem in many modern RAM pickups. When the module malfunctions, it may cause several electrical issues like airbags not deploying, faulty A/C systems, coolant fans may stop operating, power windows will stop working, and more.
  • Body structure issues - Frustrated owners have many complaints about the RAM 1500s body structure problems. Issues such as faulty lock mechanisms, defective paint job, rust buildup, and bumper holes drilled too large are common with this truck.
  • Defective TRW crash sensors - Airbag control units (ACUs) are designed to detect a vehicular crash, and determine which airbags to be deployed and when to activate the seat belt pretensioners. However, when there’s an electric overstress, the ACUs in certain RAM 1500 trucks may be affected and potentially disable the airbag deployment. This issue was mostly reported on the fourth generation of RAM 1500, and is a huge safety risk.
  • Oil sludge - Several Dodge vehicles were reported to have oil sludge problems, including the RAM 1500. According to the reports, Dodge’s 2.7L engine had a problem with thick, oily sludge that clogged the passageways in the cylinder block. With these clogged passageways, it can lead to oil starvation for various moving parts including the camshafts and pistons. When left unattended, this problem may cause engine failure.
  • Death wobble - Many RAM trucks reportedly struggled with strong front-end vibrations at faster speeds, and was ominously referred to as the “death wobble.” The violent shaking and vibrations were more prominent after the vehicle hit a bump on the road. This issue affected the 2004-2008 1500 trucks and led to a class-action lawsuit.


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Here Are The Dodge RAM 1500 Years to Look For: 2011, 2017

These years Dodge RAM trucks came up with the least amount of problems and owner complaints. If you can find one in good shape, you could have a low-maintenance truck that could last for a long time.

How to Shop for a Used Dodge RAM in Your Area

Trucks are probably the most accessible vehicle to shop for. Your main concern will always be how many miles the truck has on it, was it well-taken care of through those miles, and the rust situation. 

There are usually two different truck guys, ones that treat their truck as a part of their family and ones that treat their truck like work mules. Either way is acceptable; it’s just those guys that treat their trucks like mules. You have to imagine those trucks are probably pretty worn out. Guys who treat their trucks like their part of the family, those are the trucks you can put trust into; they’ll probably last as long as you keep it maintained.

Surfaced rust is something you will have to deal with when buying a used truck. Fenders, rocker panels, and tailgates are notorious for getting rust. How much rust is on the truck and how much rust you want to deal with is up to you. Remember, rust usually doesn’t go away; it multiplies, especially on trucks.

Low Miles and Well-Maintained

Here are the Dodge RAM 1500 years to look for: 2011, 2012, 2017. Even if these models have a lot of miles, if you find a good deal and you can verify the truck has been well-maintained, you might want to take a chance on them.

Here are the Dodge RAM 1500 years to avoid: 2003, 2010-2013 (5.7-liter V8), 2014, 2015, 2016. But just like the years from above, something well-maintained might offer you something worth buying; just know what you’re getting yourself into.

Frequently Asked Questions: RAM 1500 Years to Avoid

Q: What are the Dodge RAM 1500 years to avoid?

A: The Dodge RAM 1500 years to avoid are 2003, 2010-2013 (specifically models with the 5.7-liter V8 engine), 2014, 2015, and 2016. These model years have had various problems and recalls related to the engine, transmission, suspension, and electrical systems.

Q: Why should I avoid the 2003 Dodge RAM 1500?

A: The 2003 Dodge RAM 1500 has numerous engine problems that frequently cause the check engine light to come on. Owners have reported consistently chasing down minor issues like knocking and stalling. Additionally, the dashboard in this model year is prone to cracking easily, even at low mileage.

Q: What issues are common in the 2010-2013 Dodge RAM 1500 with the 5.7-liter V8 engine?

A: Common problems with the 2010-2013 Dodge RAM 1500 (5.7-liter V8) include the engine turning off while driving, lifters wearing out the camshaft, and the engine turning over but not starting. Owners have also reported drivetrain, transmission, suspension, and electrical issues as the vehicle ages. The power-to-MPG ratio is also considered poor compared to other trucks from the same years.

Q: What are the Dodge RAM 1500 years to look for instead?

A: The 2011 and 2017 Dodge RAM 1500 models are recommended, as these years have the least number of reported problems and owner complaints. If you find a well-maintained truck from these years, it could offer low-maintenance and long-lasting performance.

Are Dodge RAM 1500s typically reliable?

The Dodge RAM 1500 is generally considered a reliable truck except for specific model years. Examples (called the RAM 1500) built before 2010 carry the Dodge brand. Starting with the 2010 model year, RAM became its own brand, and this truck came with the simplified 1500 label. Regardless of the moniker, here are Dodge RAM 1500 model years to avoid.

How much does a used Dodge RAM 1500 typically cost?

Although Dodge has sold the RAM pickup since the 1980s, buyers should look for newer examples for better reliability and longevity. After all, trucks often endure more use (some would say abuse) than the typical vehicle. A 2011 RAM 1500 costs $10,000 to $20,000, depending on mileage, condition, and equipment. A recent CoPilot Price Pulse report reveals that the typical 2019 RAM 1500 has an asking price of $36,089, which is 19% higher than what it might sell for under normal market conditions.

Is the Dodge RAM 1500 a good car to purchase?

With diligent research and careful shopping, the Dodge RAM 1500 can be an excellent second-hand truck. Importantly, you’ll want to thoroughly review features like towing capacity before buying because this truck can be configured in many ways.

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