The Dodge Ram 1500 is part of the Ram line of trucks, which is a reliable and trustworthy line of vehicles in the Chrysler stable. Ram trucks have even been Motor Trend’s Truck of the Year six times!
However, if you’re shopping for a used RAM 1500, it can be a little confusing since the rebrand from Dodge Ram to Ram trucks in 2011. While the trucks are good, it’s important to recognize that every manufacturer has their bad years and models. The RAM 1500 is generally a reliable and fuel efficient pickup, and this guide will help you sort the wheat from the chaff.
If you’re in the market for a used truck, the Ram series is a great choice, but before we get into what’s good and bad about different model years, knowing what you need out of a new truck is going to be crucial in buying a used one. Every used vehicle comes with trade-offs, so here are a few questions to answer out of the gate:
- What are your trucking requirements?
- What’s a price range that you’ll be comfortable with?
- Do you have a specific list of models, makes, and years? This article will help with that if you’re unsure.
Diesel vs. Ecodiesel
The Ecodiesel engine is a relatively new addition to both the Ram 1500 and the Jeep Grand Cherokee, but don’t let the name fool you. The EcoDiesel is a powerful engine in its own right, even when compared with the classic Cummins diesel engine. If you’re looking for a detailed comparison, this article does a really good job articulating the differences between the models.
Pros and Cons
Many of the problems we’re going to talk about below are important to take into consideration when making a purchasing decision, but it’s also important to note that you’re going to have to take the good with the bad. You can find answers to common Ram 1500 questions, and check out our guides that compare makes and models:
RAM 1500’s are some of the most reliable trucks around, and if some interior issues or electrical problems are something you can deal with, then it’s hard to go wrong.
The 6 Model Years to Avoid
Here is a list of the years to avoid, along with summaries of the relevant issues from each year.
Intake valve spring issues, as well as common reports of transmission issues.
Notorious for having a weak engine coupled with poor fuel economy. It’s not the best option for towing or long distance commuting, but it is a reliable and comfortable vehicle.
While it won Motor Trends’ Truck of the Year award, this model year did have 12 recalls related to electrical problems.
The Ram 1500 is the first to win Motor Trends’ Truck of the Year a second year in row, but had 14 recalls, a poor engine, electrical problems, and transmission problems. It has the first implementation of a new ecodiesel engine, with mixed results, but don’t let that deter you from it. New releases are bound to have their issues when first introduced, and it has since improved.
14 recalls and reported problems related to electrical, transmission, engine, and the fuel system. More minor issues are in regards to interior electronics like the radio
11 recalls and reports of problems with engine, transmission, and body integrity. Common issues include the bumpers, tailgate, and locks making safety a concern.
While these years reported quite a few problems, the Ram is historically an excellent vehicle, and you can expect reliable performance from any model year, even the ones we talk about above.
Years to Look For
Don’t let the flaws of some of the other models put you off. Rams are solid trucks, and these model years are the best of the best!
Only 4 recalls, and while it was rated with slightly lower fuel economy and safety than previous models, most users rated it extremely comfortable and reliable for its class.
With a powerful V8, loads of interior space, a best-in-class rating for ride quality, and clever storage spaces, the 2012 model is one of the better model years of the truck. It only had 7 recalls, very few engine and transmission problems, and powerful hauling capability.
With one of the smoothest riding suspensions on the market, the 2017 model is a go-to for taking on any hauling venture. It’s 8-speed automatic transmission is one of the best ever made, and most drivers rate the cabin quality as second to none.
Wrapping It Up
The Ram 1500 is one of the most reliable pickups. The engineers behind this model have been listening to consumers for years, acknowledging the main complaints about faulty electrical systems and sub-par comfort. The body integrity, passenger comfort, and electrical systems of most modern Ram trucks are second-to-none, making it a solid truck to consider purchasing.
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