The Worst Ram 1500 Model Years You Should Never Buy

The Ram 1500 is one of the most popular and powerful full-size pickup trucks available. It impresses owners with its lovely array of engine choices, plentiful technology, and luxury-level cabins on higher trims. Under the correct configurations, the 2022 model can tow a maximum of 12,750 pounds.

Older models might not have as many bells and whistles, but they still have significant power on tap. Even with a great truck like a Ram 1500, some model years are known for having big problems. HotCars has the story of the three Ram 1500 models that you should never buy.

The problems began on the 2014 Ram 1500

Black Ram truck with others behind it, possibly a Ram 1500, in an indoor environment.
Ram truck | Getty Images

This model year brought some exciting new options, like broader availability of the eight-speed automatic transmission and a V6 diesel engine. However, drivers also complained that this truck came with many electrical problems. On Consumer Reports, several drivers reported that the truck’s battery died quickly, plus had loose cables that couldn’t supply adequate power.

The backup camera would frequently produce a blurry picture, and some drivers said it failed to turn on at all. Cruise control functionality was also spotty, and sometimes the entire infotainment display wouldn’t work.

Others said they experienced coil and starter failures, but these occurred so early they could be replaced under warranty. These trucks also frequently came with loose wheel moldings, which weren’t installed correctly at the factory. Drivers of these trucks also found themselves at the dealership trying to get software problems resolved.

The 2014 Ram 1500 also had several recalls, but the most notorious was an emissions problem. As part of a lawsuit settlement, the diesel engine had to be revised with updated emissions requirements. Unfortunately, several drivers reported that this update caused trucks to experience engine lag.

Did things get any better for 2015?

Consumer Reports say that the 2015 Ram 1500 is the worst model of the three in terms of reliability. Engine lag was still a widespread problem, but many engines now had more severe issues. The cylinder heads often needed to be replaced, the turbocharger could fail, and some engines needed to be rebuilt entirely.

Many drivers also reported air suspension struts, compressors, and intakes problems. Sometimes a fuse would blow, leaving the suspension stuck in one driving mode until it could be serviced. One driver even said they had been to the dealership 14 times trying to fix the problems.

Body integrity issues were another new issue. Water would leak from seemingly anywhere in the truck, particularly the back windows and the sunroof. Many trucks were also reported to leak antifreeze and have malfunctioning fans, causing several instances of overheating.

The 2016 Ram 1500 still isn’t a safe buy

This truck is more reliable overall, but it has still been included in 14 recalls from the NHTSA. The engine could stall and cause a crash, while combustion in the intake manifold could start a fire. The latches on the tailgate could also pop open without warning, and there are numerous airbag recalls.

Even worse, many drivers encountered additional problems that weren’t covered under any recalls. The climate system would sometimes stop functioning, and some drivers encountered parking brake problems. Drivers were also still dealing with the engine problems, electrical issues, and faulty suspensions that had plagued years past.

The only good thing about so many recalls is that it’s easy to see if potential problems have been fixed. All you need to do is check the vehicle history report before buying the truck. Unfortunately, there’s always the chance that you’ll experience more unforeseen problems with these Ram 1500 model years.

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