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The latest Ram 1500 got the lowest “Quality & Reliability” Ranking J.D. Power gave any Detroit half-ton. But the same pickup truck earned RepairPal’s highest reliability ranking. What the truck is going on? The number that explains this contradiction is 13. No, it’s not the Ram’s lucky (or unlucky) number. It’s the percentage of reported Ram 1500 malfunctions categorized as “severe”–according to RepairPal. This number is exceedingly low, lower than any other half-ton pickup truck. Rams certainly have issues but seldom suffer full-on drivetrain failures.

Does the Ram 1500 have a lot of problems?

Any pickup truck (or vehicle) has its own unique set of issues. Ram 1500s have more issues than Fords and Chevrolets, though fewer are “severe.” Ram 1500 owners complained to J.D. Power about the truck’s fuel economy, the complexity of its safety systems, and the low volume of its audio system.

A white fifth-gen Ram pickup truck pulling a trailer, horses standing on either side of it.
Ram truck | Sean Quillen via Unsplash

One of the most common Ram 1500 issues is water leaking into the truck through a faulty rear window seal. Another is water leaking into the “totally integrated power module” (TIPM), which houses fuses and relays in the engine compartment. Yet another common issue is the infamous Ram coolant leak.

According to RepairPal, the most common Ram 1500 problem (as reported by 331 truck owners) is indeed a mechanical issue. The fourth-generation pickup’s exhaust manifolds are prone to cracking. While the fifth-generation truck (2019-present) has a stronger manifold, its exhaust manifold bolts may break off instead.

If your Ram is under warranty, the automaker will fix the exhaust manifold and/or its bolts for free. If your warranty is out, you’re looking at $261-$318 to replace the bolts. You can take the opportunity to swap in an aftermarket manifold, which may last longer.

Is the Ram 1500 reliable?

No new pickup truck is especially likely to leave you stranded by the side of the road. But the Ram 1500 boasts one of the most reliable powertrains in the segment.

The exposed 5.7-liter Hemi engine in a Ram 1500 pickup truck chassis
5.7-liter Hemi V8 Ram engine | Stellantis

RepairPal reveals that the average Ram 1500 is in the shop 0.2 times per year, though most of its malfunctions are more annoying than severe. Just 13% of the malfunctions reported to the website were “severe.” This is lower than other vehicles–including every other American half-ton truck. This may be why the Ram 1500’s average repair bill comes in at $691, which is lower than the Ford F-150 and the GMC Sierra/Chevrolet Silverado.

What’s the secret to the Ram 1500’s reliability? A tried-and-true powertrain. This automaker has been building its 5.7-liter “Hemi” V8 since 2003 and its 3.6-liter “Pentastar” V6 since 2011. It began offering an already time-tested eight-speed automatic transmission (engineered by ZF of Germany) in 2013. This powertrain has proven such a fan-favorite, it powers the Ram 1500 to this day.

What is the most reliable half-ton pickup truck?

As a rule of thumb, the Detroit trucks need fewer repairs. But they cost much more to fix when you take them to the shop. The Japanese-engineered trucks (from Toyota and Nissan) break more often, though they will rarely leave you stranded by the roadside. And the good news about the Titan and Tundra is that they cost much less to repair.

You can see how all the half-ton pickup truck’s reliability rankings stack up in the table below:

Make/ModelJ.D. Power Quality & ReliabilityRepairPal Reliability RankingMSRP
Chevrolet Silverado 150087/1005th (3.5/5)$36,300
GMC Sierra 150086/1003rd (3.5/5)$37,100
Ford F-15086/1007th (3.5/5)$34,585
Ram 150080/1001st (3.5/5)$37,410
Toyota Tundra70/1006th (3.5/5)$38,965
Nissan TitanN/A2nd (3.5/5)$39,950
Full-Size Pickup Reliability Chart | Henry Cesari, MotorBiscuit

Have you known Ram pickup trucks to be reliable or unreliable? Let us know in the comments below.

Next, read up on the condition of the first fifth-gen Ram with 200k miles or see some of the common fourth-gen Ram 1500 issues for yourself in the video below: