Trucks & SUVs

RAM 1500: The Worst Problems Before 100,000 Miles You Should Know About

The Ram 1500 pickup has distinguished itself in recent years from a middle-of-the-road, acceptable pickup to a top contender in its class as one of Car and Driver’s 10 Best for two years running. The pickup also distinguished itself as MotorTrend’s 2019 Truck of the Year. With all these accolades, a plethora of modernized standard features, and excellent safety ratings, the RAM 1500 appears to be taking the pickup industry by storm.

However, consumers have reported a number of problems with older versions – mainly 2014 – 2016 models – that may put a damper on customer enthusiasm. Here are the biggest customer complaints about RAM 1500 pickups below 100,000 miles.

2014 models have air suspension issues

RAM 1500 unveiling
2019 RAM 1500 Rebel | Scott Olson/Getty Images

The 2014 RAM 1500 has received a high number of complaints concerning the air suspension. In initial road testing, the RAM’s optional air suspension performed well, both in assisting access to the high cab and in smoothing the ride. According to customer complaints, the air suspension generally failed during cold weather snaps, sometimes leaving the bumper resting just above the tires, and at other times causing an unreliable and jerky ride when they failed while the vehicle was in motion.

On average, these problems occurred at 53,500 miles. Replacement of the air compressor seems to have resolved the issue for most consumers at a repair cost of $1,630. There have been no recalls on the RAM 1500 for this issue.

2015 models have experienced blown engines

The 2015 RAM 1500 did not have the same problems with its air suspension; however, there were multiple complaints about the truck’s engine blowing. In one case, a cylinder exploded, causing the engine block to crack. To date, a cause does not appear to have been determined.

There are multiple customer reviews that indicate trouble with the fuel injector and sensors, but it is unclear if these issues are related. On average, the problem with blown engines for the 2015 Ram occurs within 54,050 miles. The cost to repair or replace the engine: $7,340. At this time, there have been no recalls of the 2015 Ram 1500 for blown engines.

2016 models have experienced check engine light problems

The 2016 model of the RAM 1500 has received a number of complaints regarding the check engine light. There appear to be several potential causes. For many customers, the check engine light indicated failure of the evaporation pump. For one, the lifter slipped out of its plastic housing, and the housing had to be replaced. Most unusually, there are reports of squirrels and other animals eating through the wiring. Apparently, electrical wires in many modern vehicles are coated in an eco-friendly soy material that is attractive to rodents like squirrels and rats, resulting in extensive electrical damage.

Given the wide variety of problems, it is difficult to pinpoint any one cause for the check engine light. Overall, these issues have been documented to occur, on average, 28,200 miles into the vehicle’s lifetime, and the average repair cost was $4,600 for everything ranging from replacement of the camshaft and lifter to replacing the evaporation pump and electrical wiring. There was at least one issue with a vent that was blowing dust onto sensors, and the cost of relocating the vent was also included in the average repair costs above. No recalls specific to this issue exist at this time.

Visible improvements

It appears that the RAM 1500 has taken the time to improve these problems, as they do not appear to reoccur after the initial year. In fact, 2017 and 2018 showed very few complaints at all. A spike in complaints in 2019 drew attention to some steering and electrical issues, but although complaints indicated that these issues played some part in accidents, there have been very few complaints and no fatalities in relation to either of these problems. For those looking to purchase the older models, it would be wise to check for these issues before investing.