Skip to main content

One minute I was browsing Craigslist, the next I was chasing a unicorn down a dead-end dirt lane in Virginia. My unicorn: a 1991 Cummins-powered Ram pickup truck with a manual transmission and 4WD. As I listened to this Ram 2500 predecessor purr in the barnyard, the owner said, “best part is she’s only got 250,000 miles!” And I wondered, What is considered high mileage for a Ram 2500?

Which Ram 2500 lasts the longest?

Whether or not a Ram 2500 is considered high mileage depends on two factors: the drivetrain of the truck in question and how it has spent its life so far. The Cummins diesel engine powertrain is infamous for lasting a long time. But of course, you have to take all the other components of the truck into account as well.

A red vintage dodge ram pickup truck parked at a gas station.
Dodge Ram pickup truck | Joe Sohm/Visions of America/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Many gas-powered V8 engines will need a rebuild somewhere between 100,000 miles and 200,000 miles. Therefore, a gas-powered Ram 2500 is considered high mileage by 200,000 miles. Many diesel engines last much longer.

If you know a truck did years of towing and hauling in a mountainous state, think twice. Likewise, if a Ram 2500 was pressed into duty as a plow truck for decades, it may need some repairs soon. In these cases, imagine the mileage on the odometer is doubled and plan to maintain the truck accordingly. Even worse, if a truck has had many owners and has no maintenance records, it might be a poor investment.

Finally, simpler usually lasts longer. Features such as 4WD or auto-leveling air suspension are nice upgrades for a new pickup, but often require repair later in the truck’s life.

What is considered high mileage for a Cummins diesel Ram truck?

Diesel pickup engines can last for 500,000 miles or more. But most diesel truck engines do not last that long, not without major work. To be more precise, Ram claims its 6.7L Cummins engine will last for 350,000 miles. For this reason, a Cummins-powered Ram 2500 with good service records is considered high mileage between 350,000 and 500,000 miles.

An old Dodge Ram 2500 truck taxi parked on the streets in Cuba
Dodge Ram pickup truck | Roberto Machado Noa/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Cummins Corporation has a high mileage club you can join if your truck is over 100,000 miles. The club is 20,000 members strong.

What is considered high mileage for a Ram 2500 chassis?

Though heavy-duty truck engines sometimes last a long time, every other drivetrain components and body will need routine maintenance. A properly maintained Ram 2500, with no serious rust or other wear, should last as long as its engine: 250,000 miles or more.

A high mileage white Dodge Ram pickup truck parked on a beach in Texas
Dodge Ram pickup truck | Shepard Sherbell/CORBIS SABA/Corbis via Getty Images

Though some components of the heavy-duty Ram 2500 may last longer than on half-ton trucks, most of them will be more expensive to replace. Here are some of the major items from Ram’s maintenance schedule–according to the Liberty Chrysler center.

Every 8,000 miles/6 monthsChange the oil, change the oil filter, and rotate tires
Every 16,000 miles/1 yearInspect and/or repair front suspension, inspect and repair exhaust, and lube front driveshaft fitting
Every 24,000 miles/18 monthsInspect and/or replace CV joints and brake components, including lines.
Every 50,000-100,00 milesInspect and/or replace shocks and struts–according to RepairPal.
Every 64,000 miles/4 yearsChange transmission and transfer case fluid, especially if towing
Every 72,000 miles/4.5 yearsInspect and/or replace any serpentine belts
Every 104,000 miles/6.5 yearsReplace timing belt, coolant, and differential fluid
Every 144,000 miles/9 yearsInspect and replace axle fluids

My Cummins story

In the end, I decided that the “unicorn” Cummins truck was not my unicorn. The engine was in good shape. But after countless owners and amateur repairs, every other part of the truck needed work.

Many similar trucks with twice as many miles are still on the road today. The definition of high mileage depends on the condition and history of the specific vehicle you are considering.

Next, check out the first known fifth-gen Ram 1500 with 200k miles, or see how a high mileage and low mileage Ram 2500 stack up in the video below:

Related You Can Still Buy Three Ram 1500 Classic Trim Levels in 2022

You Can Still Buy Three Ram 1500 Classic Trim Levels in 2022