Home Critical engine Here’s everything you need to know before buying a used Dodge Ram 1500

Here’s everything you need to know before buying a used Dodge Ram 1500

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The Ram 1500 needs no introduction. Since its introduction in 1981, the half-ton pickup truck Dodge has earned a reputation as 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 offers good value for money, so buying one would be a valuable purchase for those in the market. However, there are essential things to know before finalizing your purchase.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the Ram 1500’s worst years and problems, its lifespan and reliability, and the years to come.

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2001-2003 Ram 1500 models are the most problematic and should be avoided


2013 Ram 1500 Pickup Truck
via: Stellantis

According to car complaints website, the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 has the most complaints overall, with many poor quality problems of interior accessories. Things like cracks in the dashboard cost owners around $800 to fix. The 2001 and 2003 Ram 1500 models also suffer from similar interior issues. Each model has around 1,000 complaints on the Car Complaints website, and they mostly relate to interior issues.


Other than that, there are nearly 150 complaints filed about the 2002 Ram 150 regarding serious engine issues. A problem like engine failure due to oil sludge required owners to spend an average of $3,610 to get their trucks back in working order.

Also, another problematic year for the Dodge Ram 1500 is 2011, with many recurring TIPM issues. Apparently, the majority of owners had no choice but to replace the TIPM in their trucks for around $1,300.

Among models from 2012 onwards, the 2014 model has the most complaints filed, with issues regarding the air suspension system that can cost around $2,000 to repair. The title for the peloton’s worst year goes to the 2016 Ram 1500 to jump when stopped at lower miles, costing $10,000 to fix.


2016 Ram 1500 has 14 recalls, an open investigation and more than 700 owner complaints on the NHTSA website. Four of the recalls relate to serious powertrain issues. The stats are worse for the 2015 model on the NHTSA website. With 16 recalls, two open investigations and nearly 800 complaints, 2015 looks to be another problematic year for the Ram 1500.

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With proper maintenance, the Ram 1500 can go 200,000 to 250,000 miles on the odometer


Ram 1500
via: Stellantis

Many reliable sources, automotive websites and car dealerships suggest that the Ram 1500 can achieve 200,000 to 250,000 miles without expensive overhauls, provided it receives proper care.


This figure is echoed by owners on various Ram 1500 forums, some even claiming to reach 300,000 miles on their Ram 1500 with the original engine and transmission. That is, of course, with a great maintenance routine.

If you want your Ram 1500 to live to its full potential, it’s crucial to follow the Ram 1500 suggested maintenance schedule.

Some of the essential services include:

  • Every 8,000 miles: change oil filters and rotate tires.
  • Every 20,000 km: change of cabin air filter, inspection of tie rod ends and front suspension, replacement of brake linings if necessary.
  • Every 30,000 km: replace engine air filters and inspect transfer case fluid and front/rear axle surfaces.
  • Every 100,000 km: change spark plugs and PCV valve if necessary.
  • Every 120,000 miles: change automatic transmission fluid and filter.


On average, the Ram 1500 costs about $691 to maintain, according to Repair Pal. That’s over a hundred dollars less than the average full-size truck. It may vary from model year to model, but most Ram 1500 models are more affordable than the Ford F-150 or Chevrolet Silverado.

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If you avoid trouble years, a used Ram 1500 may be your next favorite vehicle.


Ram 1500 Built to Serve Firefighter Quarterback Edition
via: Stellantis

The Ram 1500 is one of the most durable pickups on the market. Although some model years had some serious issues, the reputation of this half-ton truck is unblemished.

If you’re looking for a used Ram 1500, it’s best to avoid 2001-2003 models due to poor interior quality. The 2015 and 2016 models also have many costly issues at lower mileages and an unusually high number of recalls. Therefore, it should be avoided.

The 2017 Ram 1500 has far fewer issues and can deliver great value. The same story applies to the 2019 model, so if you go for an older model, make sure all recalled issues are taken care of before making your purchase.


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