The Ram 1500 needs no introduction. Since its introduction in 1981, the half-ton pickup truck from cleverness earned a reputation for being a durable, hassle-free option for those who need a truck that can handle it all. The Ram 1500 stands out as one of the best American trucks alongside its two famous rivals, the Ford F-150 and the Chevrolet Silverado.
A used Ram 1500 is great value for money, so buying a Ram would be a worthwhile purchase for those in the market. However, there are important things to know before completing your purchase.
Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Ram 1500’s worst years and its problems, longevity and reliability, and which years to go.
Ram 1500 models from 2001 to 2003 are the most problematic and should be avoided
According to the Car Complaints website, the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 has the highest number of overall complaints, with many issues with the quality of interior accessories. Things like dash cracks cost owners about $800 to repair. The 2001 and 2003 Ram 1500 models also suffer from similar interior issues. Each model has about 1,000 complaints on the Car Complaints website, and they are mostly about interior issues.
Aside from that, nearly 150 complaints have been made about the 2002 Ram 150 pertaining to serious engine problems. With a problem like oil sludge engine failure, owners have spent an average of $3,610 to get their trucks running again.
Furthermore, 2011 is another problematic year for the Dodge Ram 1500, with many recurring TIPM problems. Reportedly, the majority of owners had no choice but to replace the TIPM in their trucks for about $1,300.
Of the 2012 models, the 2014 model has the highest number of complaints filed, with air suspension system issues costing about $2,000 to repair. The bunch’s worst year title goes to the 2016 Ram 1500 for jumping when it stops at lower mileage, costing $10,000 to fix.
The 2016 Ram 1500 has 14 recalls, one open investigation, and more than 700 owner complaints on the NHTSA’s website. Four of the recalls relate to serious powertrain problems. The statistics are worse for the 2015 model on the NHTSA website. With 16 recalls, two pending investigations and nearly 800 complaints, 2015 looks set to be another problematic year for the Ram 1500.
With proper maintenance, Ram 1500 can put 200,000 to 250,000 miles on the odometer
Many reputable sources, car websites and car dealers suggest that the Ram 1500 can reach 200,000 to 250,000 miles without expensive overhauls, as long as it gets enough care.
This number is echoed by owners on various Ram 1500 forums, with some claiming to get as much as 300,000 miles on their Ram 1500 with the original engine and transmission. That is, of course, with an excellent maintenance routine.
If you want your Ram 1500 to reach its maximum potential, it is critical to follow the suggested Ram 1500 maintenance schedule.
Some of the essential services are:
- Every 8,000 miles: replace oil filters and tighten tires.
- Every 20,000 miles: cabin filter replacement, tie rod ends and front suspension check, brake lining replacement if necessary.
- Every 30,000 km: replace engine air filters and inspect transfer case fluid and front/rear axle surfaces.
- Every 100,000 miles: replace spark plugs and PCV valve if necessary.
- Every 120,000 miles: replace the automatic transmission fluid and filter.
On average, the Ram 1500 costs about $691 to maintain, according to Repair Pal. That’s more than a hundred dollars lower than the average for large trucks. It may vary by model year, but most Ram 1500 models are cheaper to own than the Ford F-150 or the Chevrolet Silverado.
If you avoid troubled years, a used Ram 1500 could be your next vehicle of choice
The Ram 1500 is one of the longest-lived pickup trucks on the market. While there were some serious issues in some model years, this half-ton truck’s reputation hasn’t been stained.
If you are looking for a used Ram 1500, it is best to avoid the 2001 to 2003 models due to poor interior quality. The 2015 and 2016 models also have a lot of expensive issues with lower mileage and an unusually high number of recalls. Therefore it should be avoided.
The 2017 Ram 1500 has significantly fewer issues and can offer excellent value for money. The same story goes for the 2019 model. So if you choose an older model, make sure all recalled issues have been resolved before making your purchase.