Which Dodge Ram 1500 Years to Avoid? (The Best and Worst Years Explained)

Most Dodge Ram 1500 trucks offer advanced technology features, top performance, and longevity. A Ram 1500 truck is so versatile that it suits all family activities. 2019 saw the release of the fifth-generation Dodge Ram 1500 model, and people did not like it.

Fortunately, the 2020 Ram 1500 solved all 2019 problems. Knowing which Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid is crucial when searching for a truck to buy.

Whether you need an older model or one of the newest, do not buy the options everyone else hates.

“Most people dislike the 2003, 2010, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 model years. They have received many customer complaints and recalls. We will explain why these are the worst Ram 1500 years to purchase.” 

Read More > Dodge Ram Maintenance Cost.

What Year Ram Is The Most Reliable?

If you want to purchase the most dependable model year, choose the 2017 Dodge Ram 1500. Of all fourth-generation trucks, the 2017 model has proven to be the least bothersome truck.

Although it has so far received nine recalls, it has continuously ranked higher than any other Ram 1500 model year.

Also, its 8-speeds transmission and air suspension offer an aerodynamic advantage.

Dodge Ram 1500 Years to Avoid

Without a doubt, Dodge Ram 1500 is the most dependable and stylish truck. No wonder there are several of these on various American roads.

Dodge Ram 1500s can be work trucks and family leisure travel cars at once. Because of their versatility and ruggedness, these trucks can handle different terrains.

Unfortunately, some Ram 1500 model years are not good enough. We can advise you to avoid them at any cost. Due to a share of complaints, recalls, and mechanical problems, it is best to avoid the following Ram 1500 trucks.

Dodge Ram 2003 Trucks

After purchasing a new 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 truck and driving it for a while, most people began noticing cracks on the dashboard. While these were minor cosmetic issues for someone who used their trucks for work, they occurred too fast.

After the first small cracks, users would notice severe dashboard damage they could not ignore. In addition, the 2003 Ram 1500 had many engine problems. Some of these were minor issues you could solve at home.

Regardless, users disliked that this model had several problems occurring in different engine areas. Once you solve an issue today, another one would crops up soon. 

Check engine light will come on multiple times when it has several failures. Putting up with the check engine light that won’t turn off once in a while is okay, but many times can be annoying. If you want to enjoy being a Dodge Ram 1500 owner, avoid the 2003 model year.

2010 Dodge Ram Trucks

Trucks for the 2010 model year have the 5.7L V8 engine. Like the 2003 model year, the 2010 option had multiple engine problems.

Can you imagine a truck engine shutting down in the course of driving? Now that is what anyone risking buying the 2010 model might encounter. In some situations, the engine will pick up when you try to start the car, but it will not start.

Another prevalent problem with these 5.7L trucks is that they use lifters that damage the camshaft, one of the most expensive engine parts.

Users complain about its faulty drivetrain, transmission issues, and suspension failure. In short, the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 has multiple hitches. As a result, the base 5.7liter engine’s horsepower to MPG ratio is poor and is terrible for towing, unlike other comparable trucks.

2013 Trucks

Again, the 2013 model year vehicles use the 5.7Liter V8 engine. As we have noted above, this engine has endless problems.

Thus, we ask you to avoid trucks made in 2010 or 2013. We will not deny that the 2013 model won the Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year award. However, the twelve recalls it received were due to electrical hitches.

Dodge Ram 2014 Trucks

Did you know that the 2014 Ram 1500 model marked the release of the first EcoDiesel engine? Despite that, this model has some issues many users dislike. As of now, the model has received fourteen recalls.

Even if some of the recalls were not about the engine itself, many had a link to it. Most people reported poor transmission as the worst problem with their EcoDiesel engine.Producing noises at cold starts or low speeds is one of the issues with its transmission.

Also, the transmission not downshifting well, getting out of the drive when on the wheel, and experiencing revs without acceleration are other issues. All these are symptoms of an impending transmission failure, which can be expensive to fix.

2015 Ram Trucks

Also featuring the new EcoDiesel engine, the 2015 Ram 1500 model received up to fourteen recalls. Many complaints related to electrical, engine, transmission, and fuel system issues. Hence, Dodge did not pioneer anything new for the 2015 model.

Other hitches had to do with the failure of some of the most crucial features for any Ram 1500 driver. Failed driver-friendly features include the U-Connect system, radio, dashboard warning lights, screen display, etc.

Although these may look like minor issues, they are annoying because no one knows their source or why they appear regularly. For that reason, once you repair one of these features, expect it back anytime soon.

2016 Trucks 

We are about to end our list of what year dodge ram 1500 to avoid? Like its predecessor, the 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 used the EcoDiesel engine.

Hence, it has received eleven complaints. While its predecessors suffered mainly from engine issues, the 2016 Ram 1500 had more problems.

Trucks that had power locks soon had a rear tailgate latch failure. Also, the 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 presented airbag and cruise control issues.

Now you know the most hated Dodge Ram 1500s. Nevertheless, there is more information you should know before buying your Ram 1500 model. These are:

What Went Wrong with the 2019 Ram 1500? 

In 2019, Dodge launched its first fifth-generation Ram 1500 truck. Initially, the idea was to release the most helpful light-duty truck for daily driving and family use.

So, the 2019 model was full of modern technology features to assist drivers to feel safer and more comfortable. Beyond that point, nothing else was so great about the 2019 Ram 1500 model year.

Featuring 21 recalls and 413 registered user complaints, the 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 is the worst of all. Users’ complaints were mostly about its non-engaging cruise control, unsafe gas recirculation cooler, fragile windshield wiper arms, and poor seatbelt design.

Surprisingly, Motor Trend made it the Truck of the Year, and the IIHS ranked it as the top safest truck around. Unfortunately, users pointed out that the 2019 Ram 1500 was too young to attract many complaints and recalls.

Dodge responded by providing a more advanced 2020 Ram 1500. So people can purchase the 2019 revised version released for 2020.

A Summary of Prevalent Dodge Ram 1500 Problems 

Even if Dodge Ram 1500 series has above-average reliability ratings, it has unique problems. Here is a summary of these problems:

01. Frail Exhaust manifold bolts

You will find this problem in Rams using either the 3.7L V6 engine or the 4.7L V8 engine.

02. Coolant leakage

Dodge Ram 1500s made between 1994 and 2010 have the coolant leakage problem. Coolant leaks cause the engine to overheat.

03. Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) failure

Most Dodge Ram 1500 trucks have electrical issues that emanate from a failed TIPM. 

How Many Miles will a Ram 1500 Last?

Before purchasing a Dodge Ram 1500 or any other make, it is good to know its estimated lifespan. According to many owners of Ram 1500, Rams can last a long time.

As the trucks are rugged and ideal for hauling and towing, they need extra care and maintenance to last longer.

If you maintain your Dodge Ram 1500 on schedule, it might last more than 250,000miles. In real life, some trucks have lasted more than 300,000miles.

A few maintenance actions can add more miles to the Ram 1500. For instance, flushing the coolant, changing the oil, and changing the transmission fluid regularly can protect various engine parts.

Changing the oil regularly can promote any engine type because it prevents friction between metal parts, which adds to their longevity.

Dodge Ram 1500 truck series is as popular as Ford F and Chevy Silverado lines. Among other things, the ever-high rank on the market shows that people love Ram 1500.

What year did Dodge Ram 1500 have transmission problems?

Generally, all Dodge Ram 1500 trucks suffer from one or more transmission problems. Nevertheless, some models seem to have more transmission issues than others.

If we have to choose the Dodge Rams with the most transmission issues, we would go for the 1999 to 2003 models. One of the causes of transmission problems in these trucks is the use of the 45RFE.

History shows that this transmission type causes solenoid issues that prevent the truck from shifting from one gear to another. People experienced so many transmission issues with the 1999 to 2003 Dodge Rams that they spread negative word about them.

After that, few people wanted to purchase these models due to their bad reputation. In reaction to that, Dodge decided to focus more effort on producing the best transmission technology for their newer trucks.

And it successfully did it as newer Ram 1500 models do not have as many transmission issues as the prior ones. As you can see, all Dodge Rams have transmission issues, but the newer models have infrequent problems.

What is the best Dodge Ram 1500 truck to buy?

If you want to purchase an older Dodge Ram 1500 model, you now know the model years to avoid. If you must select the trucks made from 2010 to 2013, then we highly recommend the 2011 model. Of all Dodge Ram 1500 model years, the 2011 model year is the second most reliable truck.

Boasting only four recalls, but a lower fuel economy rating, the 2011 Ram 1500 is comfortable and reliable for its category. Even the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500 is a good choice. Most users love it for having many interior features, excellent ride quality, adequate storage area, and seven recalls.

Even if it had a few transmission issues, the 2012 model is one of the best trucks for hauling heavy loads. Earlier, we said that the 2017 Ram 1500 is the most reliable model year. Choose it if you want to experience what it means to own a Dodge Ram.

People Also Ask (FAQ’s)

Would I be right to choose a truck running on the 5.7L Hemi Engine?

Yes, you can select the 5.7L Hemi engine truck because it is fairly reliable. Although the engine may produce a lot of ticking noise, people still love Hemi engines.

Usually, the excessive vibrations are due to faulty lifters, springs, or weak manifold bolts.

Users of the 5.7liter Hemi engine have noticed that the exhaust manifold bolt breaks easily due to a rapid contraction and expansion cycle.

Once the bolt breaks, the truck will produce excessive noise but they are easy and cheap to replace.

What are the features to consider when buying a used Dodge Ram 1500 truck? 

A used truck is a good choice when your budget is low. When looking for a used Ram 1500 truck, jot down your requirements. What is the purpose of your old truck? Some people want a truck that can do light family duties and others want a workhorse.

Next, decide the best budget range and compare that to the prices of different Dodge Ram 1500 trucks. We have listed the rams you should avoid and those to focus on. Follow our tips to choose the best-used Ram 1500 truck for your specific needs.

Between diesel and EcoDiesel, which Ram 1500 engine is the best choice?

Dodge introduced the first EcoDiesel engine in 2014. While it is one of the most powerful engines, the EcoDiesel just did not perform well on 2014, 2015, and 2016 trucks. If we compare it to the classic diesel engine, the EcoDiesel is more advanced.

Final Words

Dodge Rams are some of the most popular truck series in the US. Hence, most people trust and buy them. As a new buyer, read our list of Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid before selecting the best model.

We have revealed why you should avoid the 2003,2010,2013,2014, 2015, and 2016 model years. Armed with this information, you stand to make the best purchase decision.