Dodge RAM 1500 Years to Avoid

Dodge RAM 1500

The Ram 1500 is renowned for performance, tech, durability & industry-leading features. It was first introduced in 1981 and has been in continuous production ever since due to its reliability. Due to its long journey, some problematic years may arise, and knowing them helps you avoid them and make the best decision.

If you want to know more about the Dodge RAM 1500 year to avoid and best year, along with the common problems, then read the full article for a better understanding.

Back History of Dodge RAM

It is one of the most renowned full-size pickup trucks in history. It quickly earned a reputation for durability and toughness after being introduced in 1981. The Ram 1500 has undergone several design and engineering changes over the years, continuously improving its performance.

In 2009, the Truck was rebranded as a standalone brand, separating it from Dodge’s lineup so that both could improve and focus on new features and innovations. It is famous for its muscular engine options, innovative features, toughness, comfort, and impressive towing capacity.

Here are its five generations, with years given below. 

  • 1981 – 1993 Dodge Ram 1500 (1st Generation)
  • 1994 – 2001 Dodge Ram 1500 (2nd Generation)
  • 2002 – 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 (3rd Generation)
  • 2009 – 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 (4th Generation)
  • 2019 – Present Dodge Ram 1500 (5th Generation)

Dodge RAM 1500 Years to Avoid

Here are the top 5 years to avoid of Dodge Ram 1500 given below.

  • 2003 Ram 1500
  • 2010 Ram 1500
  • 2011 Ram 1500
  • 2013 Ram 1500
  • 2016 Ram 1500

2003 Ram 1500

2003 Ram 1500

2003 is one of the most problematic model years of the RAM 1500; even you may notice issues in its early years. Its common issues include stalling problems, check engine lights and dashboard cracking. 

In the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, the “check engine” light is so frequent that drivers often ignore it. However, this matter needs to be addressed seriously, and the costs are likely to be high. There are tons of other problems in it, so considering it is the worst decision.

Short Owner Review:

Unhappy Customer Reviewed: “The dashboard on the Ram 1500 is crap. They should have known making it so thin that heat would eventually crack them. They are so horrible.”

Ronald Kolman Reviewed: “I don’t know about the other engine but 3.7 v6 sucks I have 138,000 on the Truck when all of a sudden top of the engine starts knocking. junk.”


The 2003 Ram 1500 has almost 1021 complaints.

2010 Ram 1500

2010 Ram 1500

Ram 2010 is also one of the problematic years, and instead of facing regular problems, it’s good to avoid. Its common issues include lifters wearing out the camshaft, suspension, drivetrain, electrical, engine turning off while driving, and transmission problems.

One of the most painful things you can experience in this model year is the lack of engine power for towing due to the poor fuel economy. However, the interior overhaul of this year’s Dodge Ram 1500 has impressed many Ram 1500 owners. Overall it can be a big mistake to choose this model year due to its problems.

Short Owner Review:

Paul Reviewed: “I purchased a certified pre-owned 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 on 8/5/13, on 8/13/13 the drive shaft fell out.”

Yamaha Guy Reviewed: “I never should have traded my Silverado in on this piece of crap! I will NEVER own another piece of garbage Chrysler EVER again! Total garbage!!!!!!!”


The 2010 Ram 1500 has almost 130 complaints.

2011 Ram 1500

2011 Ram 1500

NHTSA data indicates that the 2011 Ram 1500 is the most troublesome model ever produced. Some of its common problems include engine stalling, rear axle spindle, and check engine light problems. Several owners had their rear axle pinions faulty, which is an integral part of the drivetrain of a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, resulting in difficulty while moving. The company launched several recalls, but many users said their needs were unheard of.

Short Owner Review:

Davemicheal Reviewed: “I bought my Truck used with 83000 miles truck ran good for a few months, now at 89000 miles, I had to replace the cam and lifters. I have been told this is a common problem with the 5.7 hemi.”

Owner Reviewed: “The Truck has major deficits. Not reliable. Things were go in my wrong that should not have. No support with recalls. Would wonder if the Truck would be stuck in park. 4 x 4 failed at 27000 miles.”


The 2011 Ram 1500 has almost 380 complaints.

Dodge Ram 1500 2013

Dodge Ram 1500 2013

Motor Trends named the new Dodge Ram 1500 Truck of the Year in 2013, and still, it is on our worst years list. Although the company put so much effort into improving its efficiency and luxury, it still has a lot of problems. Its common issues include the window washing system’s coolant valve sticking, malfunctioning turn signal, and knocking sounds on the engine.

The company offers free-of-cost repair to tackle the malfunctioning turn signal issue, but the problem is still there. Drivers should be aware that the 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 also has several engine problems, and they may encounter these issues after 100,000 miles. If you hear knocking sounds on your Dodge Ram 1500 2003 engine, it’s more likely a sign of engine failure.

Short Owner Review:

Stuart Reviewed: “75000 miles lifter failure 3000 to repair if cam damaged 6000 to repair. Mechanic at garage tells me he has seen dozens of rams come in with this problem. Bad engine design and xxxx quality of parts from China. Going to replace engine it won’t be a 5.7 hemi. A friend has over 300000 on his 5.3 GMC motor.”

Khan Reviewed: “Because of dodge ram customer service I am never going to buy ram again also very bad trucks.”


The 2013 Ram 1500 has almost 276 complaints.

2016 Ram 1500

2016 Ram 1500

The 2016 model is the last problematic year of this Truck on our list. Some of the common problems of this model are broken airbags, Cruise control problems, and broken gear shifter linkage. It also has severe transmission and engine problems that will be costly to repair.

Furthermore, on average, you may face transmission issues after 10,000 miles and engine issues after 78,000 miles. One of the most alarming complaints was when the engine had to be replaced to fix the problem.

Short Owner Review:

Ronnie Reviewed: “Got my Truck July 18, 2016; everything was great; love the ride of this Truck. Fast forward to December, transmission begins to shift funny from 1st to 2nd gear. Took it into my dealer, they said was more than likely a software glitch, and flashing it would fix problem, called next day was told it didnt work and they were going to try to relearn it (whatever that means) Next day was told that didnt fix it either, and it needed a new transmission ( 3412 miles).”

Ronei Reviewed: “The looks of the car is nice but its not performing probably and they are suppose to fix it but keep trying to clear the codes and they keep popping up because something is wrong with it and they refuse to fix it.”


The 2016 Ram 1500 has almost 131 complaints.

Best Years of Dodge 1500 Which You Can Buy

Below are the top five best years of the Dodge Ram 1500.

  • 2023 Ram 1500
  • 2021 – 2022 Ram 1500
  • 2020 Ram 1500
  • 2017 Ram 1500
  • 2012 Ram 1500

2023 Ram 1500

2023 Ram 1500

Car and Drivers ranked the 2023 Ram 1500 #1 in half-ton pickup rankings, and it’s not hard to see why. In addition to excellent ride and handling, it offers an impressive level of comfort and a range of powerful engines.

Furthermore, a large 12-inch touchscreen infotainment display enhances the interior experience. V6 and V8 engines, and a diesel engine variant, are offered with this 2023 model. It also has a 4WD option for extreme power and ease of drive in any situation.

It has eight trim levels, including Big Horn, Tradesman, Lone Star, Laramie, TRX, Rebel, Longhorn, and Limited. You can choose any of them according to your need and budget because all of them are top-notch.

Short Owner Review

ScottnHouston Reviewed: “Love the drive and the plush interior. My last 4 cars from oldest to most recent were BMW, and then 3 consecutive Audis and I have to say, this Truck is a pleasure to drive. Definitely different from the German engineering and tight suspension but a delight to drive.”

Steve Reviewed: “Love it, would recommend this Truck. I have two friends that also have the same Truck and they love it. Jack Powell dealership was great!”

Overall Rating

It was rated 4 / 5 by Edmunds and 4.4 / 5 by Kelley Blue Book.

2021 – 22 Ram 1500

The 2021 model year of this Truck is also a bit old, but good option when considering a full-size pickup. Some of its top features include air conditioning, a telescopic steering wheel, tilt, 18-inch steel wheels, trailer sway damping, and a 5-inch touch screen. 

It has seven trim levels Big Horn, Rebel, Long Horn, Limited, Tradesman, Laramie, and TRX. Its newly launched TRX model provides industry-leading performance with excellent off-road capabilities.

In 2022, Ram 1500 has tons of new customization options along with robust power. It has excellent towing capacity along with a suspicious interior and good ride quality. Furthermore, it has an EcoDiesel V6 engine that can be a reasonable consideration for those looking for a big and powerful truck having good fuel efficiency. 

Short Owner Review

UNCLESALTY Reviewed: “Good suspension.Lots of space for bigger people like me.I am 6’4 and 270 lbs.Nice room in the center to eat sandwich.Top quality.”

Luis Reviewed: “Strong enough and lots of space! Silent and comfortable.”

Overall Rating

The 2021 model year has a 3.2 / 5 rating from Edmunds and 4.4 / 5 from Kelley Blue Book. On the other hand, the 2022 model year has a 3.9 / 5 rating from Edmunds and 4.4 / 5 from Kelley Blue Book.

2020 Ram 1500

As one of the most popular trucks in the country, the 2020 Ram 1500 is also one of the best years of the fifth Generation. Some of its key features include a 3-liter Eco Diesel engine, intelligent cruise control, improved HFE trim fuel efficiency, emergency braking, and minor changes in the optional features. 

Moreover, Along with its good driving capability and features, it is reliable as well. Although it has a V6 engine, but it can pull just as much as the V8 engines. You can consider this Truck if you want power and reliability both in one place.

Short Owner Review

Sukhraj Dhillon Reviewed: “Shop around, the dealerships are usually [non-permissible content removed] in regards to any incentives on this Truck. I bought a Limited 4×4 and have been very happy with my purchase, Hemi has plenty of power and decent fuel economy. Interior makes my dads Range Rover jealous. Very good Truck.”

Slamboni Reviewed: “I’m 6’2″ tall and sat in all competitions, the Ram fits me like a glove. Seats are very comfortable and can drive a long way without any need to get out to stretch. Gas mileage is what is expected on a full size pick up Truck. This is my 3rd Ram in 12 years. Keep on making them like this, and I will continue to be a repeat customer.”

Overall Rating

The 2020 model year rating from Edmunds is 3.6 / 5, and 4.4 / 5 from Kelley Blue Book.

2017 Ram 1500

The 2017 model year is the Fourth Generation of the Ram 1500. It is the least problematic and best year of its Generation. Some of its features include a diesel engine option, commendable tow ratings, and several safety and driver assistance options.

Furthermore, it also has a spacious interior and an excellent engine along with premium quality suspensions that collectively provide an exceptional riding experience. Considering this model year, you may be confused by its 14 trim levels, all of which are dependable and provide a good riding experience. 

Short Owner Review

Terminator 21 Reviewed: “Truck was amazing. Rode very smooth, had great towing capabilities, great features, and had the Mojave Sand Package making the color awesome to look at. Rambox feature came as well and they are great for storing equipment or any other items with ease of access without having to go into the bed.”

Micheal Reviewed: “I now have 55000 miles on Truck and still running great. Getting on avg 19 in town and 23 on hwy. Now I admit that I do not have a lead foot.It has a 5.7 hemi not the V6 as shown below doesn’t offer that option to choose from. Lord knows why?”

Overall Rating

The 2017 model year rating from Edmunds is 4.4 / 5 and 4.6 / 5 from Kelley Blue Book.

2012 Ram 1500

2020 Ram 1500

The 2012 model year also belongs to the fourth Generation of the Ram 1500. It has a V8 engine that provides humongous power and a high level of reliability as well. Although over ten years old, it will surely provide an excellent riding experience on long routes due to its comfy seats and quality suspensions.

Furthermore, it will also provide a comfy ride with an empty bed. Some other features include good interior design, excellent towing capacity, performance-oriented rear-wheel drive, and Ample storage space. If you want a reliable truck at an affordable price, you can consider this Truck.

Short Owner Review

Epillon21 Reviewed: Bought my Ram 1500 5.7 Hemi used, 45k miles but she looked and ran absolutely mint. 20k miles later she still runs absolutely perfect, the 8 cylinder, 5.7L Hemi is very strong and towing is a breeze. Gas mileage not quite as high as advertised but with Eco mode I can get 20+ mpg highway. Rides smoother than any truck I’ve owned, quick responsive steering with instruments easy to access …”

Michaelpom Reviewed: “The ram 1500 5.7L Hemi is a great truck! Trying to purchase another one. Hopefully I can get the deal done. Keep your fingers crossed for me.”

Overall Rating

The 2012 model year rating from Edmunds is 4.3 / 5, and 4.6 / 5 from Kelley Blue Book.

Most Common Problems with the Dodge Ram 1500

Here are the most common problems of this truck given below.

  • Transmission Problems
  • Engine Seizures 
  • TIPM Issues
  • Body Structure Issues
  • Coolant Leakage Issues

Transmission Problems

Just like we have discussed in our Honda Accord Years to Avoid article, it also has transmission problems. This problem can also lead to engine Performance problems and difficulty starting the vehicle. Almost all varieties of trucks that aren’t recommended have these issues.

Transmission problems can appear in several ways, including rough or making jerk movements while running, slow start, inability to shift gears, and bumping in first gear. It has expensive fixes, so avoiding those trucks having transmission problems or these symptoms is good.

Engine Seizures 

You may also experience engine seizures or Cam and lifter failure problems in your Dodge Ram. Engine seizure issues are most common in the 2010 model year and the Cam and lifter failure in the 2011 model year. If the truck stalls when stopping, stops idle or hangs up unexpectedly, your vehicle will probably have Cam and lifter failure. 

Sadly, if you have the latest model and encounter this issue in your vehicle, make sure to take advantage of the warranty and get it fixed because they are not immune to this issue, so it can badly harm them. 

TIPM Issues

Modern Dodge models have a Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM), the power source for all the electrical components. Electrical components may not receive power if your TIPM malfunctions, resulting in various mechanisms malfunctioning.

For instance, unpredicted horn sound, erratic door locks or unlocks, failed cooling system, or power windows not operating. Sometimes, airbags fail to deploy when you are involved in a collision.

Body Structure Issues

Dodge has a history of body structure issues. However, despite its severity from 2014 to 2017, there have not been any reports of this problem as of 2020. Even though none of these problems affect the Truck’s performance behind the wheel, owning one does make it more difficult. 

You may face continuous lock malfunctioning, bubbles under the paint, Rust on major parts, and exterior wheelhouse damage. Rust alone can significantly shorten the life of a truck, so don’t leave your Truck uncovered.

Coolant Leakage Issues

Coolant leakage issues have been expected from 2015 onward. Coolant is used to keep the engine temperature low. If your engine coolant leaks, you may face engine heating issues resulting in the car breaking down in the middle of the road.

Moreover, leaky gaskets, hoses, hoses that go to the water pump, or problems with the water pump can also cause a leaking Ram 1500 coolant. Fixing the problem is challenging since finding the root of the problem takes a lot of effort.


Here we have discussed the Dodge Ram 1500. You will likely face Transmission Problems, Engine Seizures, Coolant Leakage Issues, TIPM Issues, and Body Structure Issues. But don’t worry; with the help of our article, you can avoid the worst years, including 2003, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2016. 

It’s usual for a machine to have bad and good years; it does not mean the entire series is trash. You can choose this vehicle’s 2023, 2022, 2021, 2020, 20217, or 2012 model year and enjoy your ride without any hassle. All these best models are reliable, have good ratings, and are less problematic than the others, so considering them is a wise decision.


Here are some frequently asked questions, and their answers are below.

What year Ram 1500 is the most reliable?

Ram’s 2023 model is the most reliable and comfortable Truck in its series and provides exceptional value for the money.

What years did Ram trucks have transmission problems?

You will likely face transmission issues in the 1999 – 2003 and 2010 – 2014 model years of Ram 1500.

Which Ram 1500 engine is most reliable?

The two best engines in Ram 1500 are the 3.0L Eco-Diesel and the 5.7L Hem (According to the User review).

How many miles do RAM transmissions last?

Trucks had to do heavy duties, that’s why their transmission will last 80,000 – 100,000 miles. Moreover, regular maintenance and proper care can extend its life.

Can a Ram 1500 last 300000 miles?

Yes, Ram 1500 trucks powered by gasoline are expected to last 270,000 – 300,000 miles.

Why Ram trucks are no longer Dodge?

In an effort to create new and innovative models in the industry, Dodge and Ram decided to separate; that’s why Ram is no longer a part of Dodge. 

If you want more relevant content like Corolla Years to Avoid, you can visit to learn more.

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