Undoubtedly, the Dodge Ram 1500 continues to live up to its powerful performance and durability. However, that doesn’t mean that every single model meets this popular criterion. Would-be buyers are better off staying clear of some models as they choose their drivetrains.
Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid are between 2003 and 2016. The 2013, 2014, and 2016 model years have the most significant complaints. They have generated about 43 complaints, with most issues regarding rollaway from a parked position reported to the NHTSA.
By understanding the best and worst years for Ram 1500, you can make an informed decision and ensure you get the best possible truck for your money. Keep reading to learn more about Dodge Ram’s problem years and what issues to look out for.
Top 6 Dodge Ram 1500 years to avoid:
It’s natural to get confused when making a significant investment, such as buying a Dodge Ram 1500. Still, people with experience usually offer the best advice. As a Dodge Ram 1500 enthusiast, I will tell you that you should avoid the 2003 model year by all means.
Although it may have a reputation for being a powerful and reliable truck, the 2003 model year has had several issues that have made it less desirable. These include:
- Noisy cabin
- The rear seat is tighter than other models.
- The V8 engine consumes more fuel than it should without providing much performance.
According to Consumer Reports, this model has had five recalls. Another problem is the engine, which has been reported to stall and experience knocks, characterized by the check engine light coming on excessively.
The problem has been so severe that many owners ended up covering the check engine light with tape so they wouldn’t have to see it anymore! That’s not all. Several other significant issues continue to drive a dent into the otherwise sterling reputation of the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500, including:
- Dashboard cracking
- Loose interior trim and moldings
- Brake problems
- Transmission issues and malfunctioning intake valve springs
All these problems make the 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 a less-than-reliable choice and one that should be avoided if possible.
Reasons To Avoid 2003 Models
- Noisy cabin and tight rear seat
- Poor fuel consumption and engine performance
- Engine problems, including stalling and knocking
- Check engine light coming on excessively
- Dashboard cracking and loose interior trim
- Brake and transmission issues
- Malfunctioning intake valve spring
One of the biggest issues with the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 is its poor fuel economy. Additionally, the engine performance is quite weak, and there have been known issues with the engine turning off while the vehicle is in motion.
Another major problem with this model is that if you need to replace the engine, you’ll have to go for a different year, and there’s a compatibility issue. While the interior overhaul was good, this model has too many serious issues to make it a reliable option.
Reasons To Avoid 2010 Models
- Poor fuel economy and weak engine performance
- Engine issues (turns off while in motion)
- Compatibility issues when replacing the engine
Unlike previous models, the Dodge Ram 2013 won the Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year award. Still, its reputation is marked by several problems, which inevitably led to 12 recalls issued by Chrysler.
In 2013, Chrysler issued a recall for 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 4×4 trucks manufactured between June 26, 2012, and February 5, 2013.
The recall was due to a software issue with the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) module, which may have caused the ESC system to be disabled when the vehicle was started. One of the most significant issues includes the tailgate opening unexpectedly while driving, which can be a safety hazard.
The window washing system coolant valve sticking before reaching 100,000 miles (160,100 km) can limit visibility and make driving difficult in certain weather conditions. This problem has been addressed by Chrysler, who offered to replace the valves for free. However, it can still be a major inconvenience.
Another major concern is the transmission rolling away if shifted without pressing the brake, which can cause accidents and damage to the vehicle. Furthermore, several users have reported that the model’s airbags failed to deploy in cases of a rollover. This defect can endanger the lives of any occupants.
Additionally, there are radio software security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit, which can compromise the vehicle’s safety and security.
Another issue that has been reported is the transmission output shaft fracture, which could result in a loss of power, increasing the risk of a crash. The turn signal malfunctioning without warning is also an issue that Chrysler offered to repair for free by reprogramming the system.
Lastly, there have been reports of steering issues that can make the vehicle difficult to control, which can be dangerous.
Reasons To Avoid 2013 Models
- The tailgate opens unexpectedly while driving.
- Window washing system coolant valve sticks before reaching 100,000 miles (160,100 km), limiting visibility.
- Rollaway if shifted without pressing the brake
- Airbags not deploying in the event of a rollover
- Radio software security vulnerabilities
- Transmission output shaft fracture can result in a loss of power.
- Turn signal malfunctioning without warning
- Steering issues
The 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 promised to be eco-friendly and fuel-efficient with its EcoDiesel engine series. Still, it has ended up being a major disappointment for many drivers.
The first release of this engine series was plagued with issues, and the 2014 model is no exception. The model has had 16 recalls, most of which are related to engine problems and power loss. Many drivers have also reported interior issues such as:
- GPS malfunctions
- Dashboard cracking
- Cruise control problems
The transmission has been the biggest complaint, with drivers reporting issues such as:
- Transmission not downshifting
- Cold start noise
- Noise at low speeds
- Bumping in the transmission when releasing the brakes
- Acceleration problems
Power steering failure has been another common issue that is costly to fix. The problem stems from air suspension that can cause suspension issues if they do not work properly. Overall, the 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 is a vehicle that should be avoided due to its numerous issues and costly repairs. It has failed to live up to its promise of being eco-friendly and fuel-efficient.
Reasons To Avoid 2014 Models
- Engine issues such as stalling, power loss, and excessive shaking
- Interior issues such as GPS malfunction, dashboard cracking, and cruise control problems
- Transmission problems such as not downshifting and noise at low speeds
- Power steering failure and costly repairs
- Suspension issues, including air suspension not working properly
The 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 has had good qualities, almost making it the most reliable year for Ram 1500. It is popularly defined by its full size, with a rugged exterior and an interior with extra space.
However, despite its impressive appearance, this model has had several issues. Some of the most significant concerns related to the Dodge Ram 1500 2015 model include 14 different recalls instigated by different issues, including:
- Electrical system
- Fuel system
Despite the wide recalls made for the 2015 model, significant concerns continue to emerge relating to the functioning of the EcoDiesel engine. At any one time, owners of the 2015 Dodge Ram 1500 with the EcoDiesel engine were particularly at risk of experiencing issues with their vehicles.
The truck’s interior functioning, especially alerts that often appear on the dashboard, compounds the problems faced by the 2015 Dodge Ram 1500. Many drivers have reported problems with the dashboard warning lights, which failed to alert them to any potential problems with the truck.
Additionally, there have been numerous reports of issues with the GPS/Uconnect system, radio, and screen display. These problems have made it difficult for drivers to rely on their vehicles for navigation, entertainment, and other important features.
Reasons To Avoid 2015 Models
- Transmission, electrical system, engine, and fuel system issues
- Interior issues with the dashboard warning lights, GPS/Uconnect system, radio, and screen display
- Numerous recalls
The 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 is a vehicle that, unfortunately, comes with a long list of issues and problems. One of the most notable issues is with the EcoDiesel engine, which has been the source of numerous complaints and reports of engine failures. These engine failures can be catastrophic, and the solution to the problem has been costly engine replacements.
However, the biggest issue with this vehicle has been the transmission, which has been known to jump when coming to a stop. This is a dangerous problem and one that has been costly to fix. Like several other models, the Dodge Ram 1500 2016 model has also been recalled severally. There have been 11 recalls for this model year, including for:
- Faulty rear tailgate latches
- Airbag issues
- Cruise control issues
- Shift linkage issues
The functional problems associated with the Dodge Ram 1500 2016 model earn it the title of the worst 4th-generation model, coupled with over-the-roof costs of repairs and very low-mileage occurrences.
Reasons To Avoid 2016 Models
- High risk of costly repairs
- Safety concerns
- Multiple recalls
My Closing Thoughts on Dodge Ram 1500 Reliability
One of the most reliable years for Ram 1500 has been reported as the 2020 model year. This model year has been reported with fewer reliability issues and updated with new features and technologies. However, it’s worth noting that Dodge will end production of the EcoDiesel in 2023.
Therefore, it would be wise to research and consider the latest model years of the Ram 1500 before making a purchase, especially if you’re looking for a diesel engine option.