If you’re in the market for a reliable pickup truck, you’ve probably heard of the Ram 1500 — and it’s a great option to consider. However, there have been some really bad years for this pickup truck, so it’s important that you know which Ram models to avoid.
The worst years for the Ram 1500 are 2003, 2010, 2011, 2013, and 2014-16. The main problems were the truck’s engine, its transmission, and the electrical components, all of which can be very expensive to repair. The best Ram years include 2017, 2018, 2020, and 2022.
Let’s take a closer look at the best and worst years for the Ram 1500 Truck. That way, you’ll know which ones to avoid — and which ones to look for — if you’re planning to buy anytime soon.
Which Ram 1500 Years Should You Avoid?
If you’re overwhelmed by the many versions of the Ram 1500 in the market, don’t worry — not all the models are as good as they seem. There are some models that you should avoid at all costs or you might struggle with problems for years.
The Ram 1500 models to avoid include:
The 2014 Ram model had several recalls due to an emissions problem. Customers also complained about multiple electric problems and that the truck’s battery would die quickly.
The truck had loose cables installed within its system, which weren’t able to supply the truck with sufficient power.
Another major problem with this model is that the cruise control was faulty and the infotainment display malfunctioned at times. In the early days, some drivers faced problems with the coil and starter. Another manufacturing error was loose wheel moldings because of improper installation.
Drivers had to go in to resolve software problems as well.
The problems don’t stop there. What’s not wrong with this model?
The eco diesel engine that was introduced with the 2104 model of Ram 1500 was supposed to give the truck better gas mileage without reducing the horsepower and torque. However, that’s not what ended up happening; instead, the engines lost a huge amount of power.
If that wasn’t enough, the truck owners also gave negative reviews about how the transmission of the 2014 Ram malfunctioned at the beginning of its use. To make matters worse, transmission-related repairs cost a huge amount of money.
2015 was not a good year for the Ram 1500, mainly because it had a number of engine problems. Users reported engine lag issues, which led to the need to replace the cylinder heads too often.
Along with experiencing turbocharger failure, some engines simply had to be rebuilt from scratch. There were also problems with the compressors, air suspension struts, and intake. The electrical system was so faulty that fuses would blow, forcing the owners to visit the dealer a number of times.
The problems with the 1500 model weren’t limited to the engine. The manufacturing was so incompetent that water would leak from the back windows and sunroof. There were also reports of anti-freeze leaking and the fans malfunctioning, which would cause the pickup truck to overheat.
There were also problems with the infotainment system. The navigation system was faulty, the dashboard lights were not working properly and, in some trucks, the panel was too dim or just wouldn’t light up.
Overall, consumers weren’t happy with this model and it goes down as one of the worst cars made that year.
The 2016 Ram 1500 model received negative reviews on many reliable automobile review websites. One of the most recurring complaints was that the engine would stall often. The cruise control would also stop working and the signal indicators would malfunction.
Safety was also a concern as some of the airbags were recalled, and the latches on the tailgate would open without any warning. This issue led to the 2016 model receiving well-due criticism.
Along with having a faulty climate system, drivers encountered parking brake problems, engine problems, electrical issues, and faulty suspension.
It’s best to avoid this model since you might deal with multiple problems — and you’ll likely have to spend a lot on repairs.
The 2013 model Ram 1500 truck was advertised as an upgrade from the previous years. However, this model received unexpected recalls due to multiple faults.
The recalls were primarily because of a coolant valve malfunction, which limited the truck’s visibility in cold weather. Some drivers also reported that the turn signal of their truck malfunctioned, which resulted in safety hazards.
Chrysler was quick to offer free reprogramming and replacement of the coolant valves. However, to be on the safe side, we would recommend staying away from this model.
The 2011 Ram 1500 also received severe backlash and many of those associated with the automobile industry will say that this is one of the worst years for this pickup truck.
The main problem was with the truck’s Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM). The TIPM has the function of controlling all the electrical components of the truck.
Not only did the TIPM have issues, but the fuel system, the rear axle, the transmission, and the fuel tank strap bracelets also had problems that would sometimes lead to the fuel tank falling out.
It’s best that you avoid buying a 2011 Ram 1500 model because you’ll likely have to spend a hefty amount on repairs.
The 2010 Ram 1500 Model has the lowest reliability out of any Ram 1500 models released in recent years.
The main issue with the 2010 Ram model was its fuel economy, which was worse than previous models. The engine performance was also noticeably lower, and some of the models would just turn off when started.
Replacing the faulty engine might end up costing a lot, so it’s recommended to ignore the 2010 model.
The 2003 Ram 1500 had many issues related to the engine and transmission. These problems made it quite expensive to maintain. Along with these problems, people also reported that the spring of the intake valve kept malfunctioning.
There were issues with the check engine light, which would come on excessively. Furthermore, there were loose trims, and moldings, the paint was peeling and rust would form around the wheel wells.
While it’s not the worst Ram 1500 model, it’s still best to avoid the 2003 vehicle.
What Are the Most Reliable Years for a Ram 1500?
Not all Ram 1500 models come with maintenance problems, and there were some successful releases throughout the years. It’s also one of the cheapest trucks to insure.
According to consumer reviews, the Ram 1500 is still one of the best pickup trucks available in the market. They have powerful engines, can tow a lot of weight, and have modern, comfortable interiors that give you style with utility.
Here are the most reliable years for a Ram 1500:
The 2022 Ram 1500 model has one of the best towing capacities of any pickup truck available in the truck market. This model also has one of the nicest interiors for a heavy-duty truck.
The 2022 model has a new generation infotainment system, upgraded trailering technology, good acceleration, and is easy to handle.
Some drivers, however, may feel that the seats are a bit too elevated.
The 2020 Ram 1500 model has a high reliability and safety rating, with the NHTSA giving it a score of 5 out of 5. This model can get up to 395 horsepower and comes with the option of an EcoDiesel engine. In 2020, it was ranked first in the 2020 Full-Size Pickup Trucks category.
The 2018 Ram 15000 expanded upon its diesel engine capacity, and the engine also packed a heavy punch in terms of power than previous models.
This model is also equipped with an advanced infotainment system and is highly durable.
According to consumer reviews, this model performs efficiently on dirt roads and rock quarries and it’s very easy to handle on uneven roads. This model also received favorable reviews from automobile critics and is mostly problem-free.
The 2017 Ram 1500 model replaced the old six-speed automatic transmission with the eight-speed automatic transmission. The drive is smooth and comfortable, with a quiet cabin. If you want a good reliable truck that tows well, then you don’t have to look any further.
This model received positive reviews from drivers for its low maintenance, high durability, and overall reliable performance.
Which Ram 1500 Has the Best Gas Mileage?
The 2022 Ram 1500 has the best gas mileage and is the latest in the Ram truck series. It’s equipped with a hybrid engine that offers up to 22 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. The truck comes with different engine options, such as hybrid or diesel.
However, if you want to get the best mileage and fuel efficiency from your truck, the hybrid version is ideal.
While it’s not the most fuel-efficient truck in the market, this model makes it in the top 5 for its engine size and fuel efficiency.
Are There Better Alternatives to a Ram 1500?
While the latest models of the Ram 1500 are really worth it, there are many alternative pickup trucks on the market. Here are the best alternatives to a Ram 1500:
If you’re looking for a pickup truck, take a look at the Nissan Titan. The 2019 Nissan Titan is one of the most reliable pickup trucks on the market. It has a powerful engine, a comfortable interior with the latest tech, and fuel efficiency that matches the best in the world.
Chevrolet Silverado 1500
If you’re looking for something around the price range of the Ram 1500, but with more reliability, try the Chevrolet Silverado 1500.
One of the most appealing things about this truck is that spare parts are readily available and a lot of mechanics have experience with them. It’s also affordable, reliable, and a great vehicle for those looking for a cheaper option without sacrificing on quality.
The Tundra needs no introduction. Popular amongst overlanders, off-road enthusiasts, and small business owners, it’s one of the best trucks in the market. The engine is a 5.7-liter V8, with 380 horsepower and a six-speed automatic transmission.
What stands out about the Tundra is its reliability and the fact that it’s easy to repair and maintain.