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Which Used Dodge Ram 1500 Model Should You Avoid at All Costs?

Most vehicles have models that exceed the hype, while others fail to impress. Some years are so bad that it’s best to avoid them altogether. According to Consumer Reports, the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 is one of the models to avoid.

In fact, the early 2000s were hard on all of the Dodge Ram 1500s. Thankfully, Dodge Ram has turned things around, and the most recent models are more reliable and enjoyable to drive.

Let’s take a look at what went wrong with the 2002 model, and what Dodge Ram has done to make things right since then.

2002 Dodge Ram 1500

With a whopping 563 complaints, the biggest criticism from 2002 Ram 1500 owners involved dashboard cracks. Some drivers may not care because they need a truck that can get dinged up on the job. If this is the case, a cracked dashboard won’t mean much, but it’s a deal-breaker for some. 

Some other major problems had nothing to do with cosmetic appearances. According to Consumer Reports, “The 2002 has the well-known and documented problem with their dashboards falling to pieces, but it also has engine failure from oil sludge. That’s a double shot of awful in your morning coffee.”

Consumer Reports rates this as a 9.3 on its severity rating due to how dangerous this can make driving as well as the $3,610 it will cost you to get it repaired.

Other problems that earned the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 the worst-rated model year include engine noises, the check engine light coming on, rocker arms that keep popping off, and rust on the oil pan that causes leaks.

Cars.com gave the 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 4.2 stars out of five, with 87% of drivers recommending it. Only one reviewer complained about dashboard cracks. Kelley Blue Book also had 2,002 positive reviews, with 4.5 out of five stars. Out of 2,195 reviews, 66% gave it a five-star review, while only 2% gave it one star.

Newer models of the Dodge Ram 1500

From 2004 to 2010, the Dodge Ram 1500’s amount of complaints dropped drastically. The 2010 model year had the fewest complaints of all at 126. 

Consumers gave the 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 a 4.7 out of five stars based on 91 reviews on Cars.com. The biggest complaints involved insurance cost concerns with RamBox, the location of the rear stabilizer bar, a gap between the first and second gears in five-speed auto, and the TRX not being high enough.

2019 Dodge Ram 1500

Dodge hasn’t sat on its laurels, especially not during the hot truck market. The 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 has been redesigned to meet consumer needs, and if you want to buy a new family truck, then this may be exactly what you seek,

The 2019 is spacious, comfortable, looks amazing, and rides great. If you’re concerned about safety ratings, both the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it high ratings.

Edmunds seems to be crazy about the new 2019 model, even giving it the Editors’ Choice Award. The site had just one complaint: “Common driver assist features are limited to higher trims.” The 2019 Dodge Ram 1500 earned 8.7 out of 10.

What Edmunds liked best was the 1500’s utility, like an upgraded chassis — for higher tow ratings and payload — as well as the RamBox, which remains unique in its class. According to the site, “The redesigned crew cab has abundant storage and its much-improved rear-seat folding mechanism reveals a broad, flat load floor.”

Whether you’re a Dodge Ram fan on the fence or just looking for a great truck, the Dodge Ram 1500 has come a long way in recent years.