The Dodge Ram truck is one of the most sought-after vehicles in North America.
While there are many reasons for this, the Ram, apart from other full-size trucks, is its reliability and performance. The Ram 1500 has been designed so that it will improve your on-the-road experience immensely.
The Dodge Ram brand has not always been the best. In fact, in its first few years, it was generally avoided. The truck had many issues, and the owners were pretty upset.
However, sales began to take off after Dodge came out with a new model in the late 1990s (the fourth generation). They started slowly but grew over the next decade until they reached record highs by 2009.
Let’s list down the best and worst years for Dodge Ram 1500.
Best Years for Dodge Ram 1500:
Worst Years for Dodge Ram 1500:
Now that you know the best and worst years let’s explore why these models are ranked.
List Of The Best Years For The Dodge Ram 1500: What Years To Buy
What helps a vehicle get classified into the best year list? There are many attributes, including their reliability, performance, and much more. The eight years mentioned above are the ones that outperformed the others.
Let’s get into the details of all of them.
#1 Best Year: 2020 Dodge Ram 1500
The 2020 Dodge Ram secured a solid 10-star rating from many reviewers. It is an example of a high-quality truck that not only has excellent performance but is extremely reliable too.
With a V6 engine under the hood, the driving experience will be more than enough for most people. Some of you will also be pleased to know that the towing capacity of this engine rivals some V8 engines out there.
Sitting inside the cabin is an experience on a whole other level. Thanks to a high-quality suspension system, the cabin will feel as few vibrations as possible. The interior is roomy enough for a comfortable experience. It is perfect for all sorts of people.
#2 Best Year: 2010 Dodge Ram 1500
Despite this next model being a decade older than the winner, it has scored a respectable second place on this article. The 2010 Dodge Ram 1500 features a V8 engine under the hood, which allows it to perform magnificently on the road.
The interior of this truck is top-notch, thanks to the use of high-quality materials and ergonomics. The 2010 model of 1500 has been put against the best of the best, such as the Ford F150, emerging as the clear winner.
#3 Best Year: 2012 Dodge Ram 1500
Another solid contender on this list is the 2012 Dodge Ram 1500. The 2012 model of the truck is one of the well-regarded ones out there, thanks to the performance of the V8 engine under the hood and overall drive quality.
The manufacturer has outdone itself with this one. The interior of this decade-old truck is spacious enough for comfortable long travels. There is decent storage space available too, which many of you will appreciate.
#4 Best Year: 2009 Dodge Ram 1500
Clocking in a performance level that is close to the 400HP range, the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500, with a V8 engine, is a beast on the road. That is not what makes it special.
Buyers had little to no complaints about it, which is a feat rarely achieved by trucks in this range. This truck also emerged as the winner compared to the big dogs such as the Chevy Silverado and the Toyota Tundra.
#5 Best Year: 2011 Dodge Ram 1500
With the only con of the 2011 version of the Dodge Ram being the presence of a 5-speed transmission instead of a six-speed one, the truck is an excellent choice for people who don’t want to spend a fortune while not compromising on performance.
This vehicle is offered in V6 and V8 variants, which are excellent. If you buy one, it is recommended to max out and buy the V8 variant because it has an amazing fuel average and performance.
#6 Best Year: 2014 Dodge Ram 1500
If you don’t want to compromise on ride quality, then the 2014 Dodge Ram 1500 is for you. This truck has been designed to ensure that your riding experience will be as smooth as possible.
The cabin has been designed to reduce vibrations. It is also packed to the brim with technology, ensuring your rides will not be boring. This truck has a diesel variation too, which is an excellent performer.
#7 Best Year: 1994 Dodge Ram 1500
If you want to take a step back in time, there is nothing better than the 1994 Dodge Ram 1500. This truck was built like a tank, and it still holds up pretty well. It can pump out 300 HP at stock settings, which is pretty respectable for modern standards.
The interior is not the best one out there, given the fact that the truck is almost three decades old, but it holds up fairly well.
#8 Best Year: 2008 Dodge Ram 1500
The 2008 Dodge Ram 1500 has scored the last position on this list because the interior on this truck was downgraded. It was pretty good but compared to its successors and its predecessors. The build quality was not great.
The driving experience was something that Dodge did not compromise on. Its V8 engine was and still is a beast one the road. The truck is amazing to handle and provides a relatively smooth ride.
List Of The Worst Years For The Dodge Ram 1500: What Years To Avoid
Let’s now take a closer look at all the years of the Dodge Ram 1500 that one must avoid at all costs. All of the following years have been deemed as problematic ones.
So, if you would like to buy a Dodge Ram 1500, then it is recommended that you don’t c0nsider these.
#1 Worst Year: 2002 Dodge Ram 1500
The 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 model had the most issues for consumers. Most of the issues were related to the interior, but others had engine issues.
The 2002 Ram 1500 used poor-quality materials that the dashboard would crack under non-ideal conditions. There were other issues, too, such as the failure of the cabin lights.
Engine issues included noise being emitted from under the hood, the check engine light turning on again and again, and the sudden death of the engine due to low RPM.
Choosing this model will result in you spending thousands of dollars on getting these issues fixed.
#2 Worst Year: 2003 Dodge Ram 1500
Even the next year, Dodge did not do anything to improve the quality of materials used for the truck’s interior. Buyers would complain about the windows not working and the truck catching fire. There were other electrical issues too.
Buyers also reported transmission issues and engine knocking problems. Dodge made no real change when releasing the new model, which is why it is one of the most disliked ones out there.
#3 Worst Year: 2001 Dodge Ram 1500
Even the 2001 Dodge Ram model was not great, with problems worsening a year later. This model was plagued with the same cracking dashboard issue, along with issues such as the AC failing frequent failures of the spark plugs, which led to misfiring.
The dashboard cracking issue is serious because it can accidentally deploy the airbag, which can cause serious damage and even death. Dodge took a long time to fix these issues.
#4 Worst Year: 2013 Dodge Ram 1500
The 2013 Dodge Ram 1500 had serious engine issues. Users with less than 100000 miles reported the engine dying on them, with no replacement parts available in the market to get it on the road again.
There were frequent mentions of knocking sounds from the engine, which is another issue that can cost a lot to fix. The camshaft and the lifters also had many issues, for which the cost easily crosses the thousand-dollar mark.
If you don’t want to spend a ton of cash on something that will cause nothing but problems, it would be better to avoid this model altogether.
#5 Worst Year: 2015 Dodge Ram 1500
There were a lot of electrical issues and reports of the engine dying suddenly. With the 2014 model, Dodge fixed almost all of the issues with the truck, which is why the 2014 model is on the recommended year list. But they backtracked once again in 2015.
The EGR cooler was also defective in this model, which was recalled too. The failing EGR valve can lead to smoke in the cabin, which can be hazardous for the people sitting inside. So, it is better to consider the 2014 model instead of this one.
#6 Worst Year: 2016 Dodge Ram 1500
The 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 is not designed for use in cool weather. It does not end there.
Disappointed owners reported about the windows not working in cold temperatures. Several issues related to the check engine light turning on can cost hundreds of dollars to diagnose without any reason.
The towing capacity of this truck is not as great as compared to offerings from competitors. These issues are solvable, but it is not worth it to spend so much on repairs.
#7 Worst Year: 2017 Dodge Ram 1500
The 2017 Dodge Ram 1500 had a lot of quality control issues. While some owners were content with their purchase, most had issues such as transmission failure and engine ticking noise.
Even the infotainment system on 1500 from 2017 is extremely buggy, with the screen going black from time to time. The interior has not been manufactured with good quality materials.
The same can be said for the fitting because the cabin rattles at high speeds. The plastic used is susceptible to breaking. So, it is advised to stay away from this model and consider 2018 one instead.
#8 Worst Year: 2004 Dodge Ram 1500
If you want to consider a Dodge Ram 1500 from this list, then the 2004 model is your only option. It is still not recommended to buy as it has some pretty serious issues, including the engine seizing up while driving.
The manufacturing quality of the 2004 Dodge Ram 1500 is pretty poor too, with most owners complaining about wind noise from the doors.
The problem cannot be fixed, even after adding additional rubber. The fuel average of this particular truck is also not great. It looks like it is best to avoid the early 2000’s Dodge Ram 1500s.
What Are The Most Common Problems With The Dodge Ram 1500?
While I was doing my research I found out that following are some of the common problems you can have with dodge ram 1500.
1. TIPM Issues
The latest Dodge Ram trucks feature a TIPM module called the Integrated Power Module. It has been designed to distribute power to all electrical systems present in a 1500 truck.
You can already guess what could happen with the failure of the system. If the TIPM becomes faulty, it may stop the airbags from deploying in the event of a crash. It does not end there.
There could be fuel pump issues door lock problems and could even prevent the truck from starting. There is even a chance of the sensor tripping at the wrong time, leading to the airbags being deployed randomly.
All of these issues are caused by a faulty TIPM module. If you are experiencing such issues, it is recommended to change this part as soon as possible. Thankfully, replacing it is an easy task, but a new module is costly.
2. Cam And Lifter Failure
This issue is another one that caused a lot of concern for users. Models of the Dodge Ram pickup released around 2010 were prone to sudden engine seizure issues.
The problem still pops up on more recent models. Luckily, the warranty does cover this issue, and if you have experienced something like this, it is advised to get it fixed.
Without the warranty, you will need to pay a hefty sum to get your truck back in working condition. As these parts are hard to come by, you may have to wait a few months to get your hands on them because so many people have these issues.
The issue was prominent in the 2011 model of the truck. The Hemi V8 engine was already a headache for many users, but the cam and lifter failure was one of the most expensive ones.
3. Structural Issues
Dodge has been known to use poor-quality materials in the past. As of 2020, there are very few reports about this, but the issue was pretty serious in the 2014 to 2017 models of the truck.
The construction of these trucks is not known to be high-end, with issues such as faulty lock mechanisms, too large bumper holes, poor quality paint with bubbles, and the most common of them all, rusting.
Although all of these issues don’t affect the driving performance of the truck, they do make it less convenient to own. Rusting, on its own, can severely shorten the lifespan of the truck.
Buyers also reported minor issues such as flickering of lights when opening and closing the doors, water leakage in the rain, and some others. All of these suggest that the truck is not structurally sound.
4. Transmission Problems
Perhaps the most common issues with the Dodge Ram 1500 are transmission. Dodge has not done any real work to fix the transmission issues, which have been plaguing its trucks since 2012.
From simple issues, such as gear grinding, to more serious issues, such as gear slipping, these problems have caused a lot of headaches for consumers.
The transmission issues have also caused problems such as the engine running slow and slow starting. These problems are present in almost all of the models of the trucks that have made it onto the list of not being recommended.
Their presence makes owning the truck a nightmare, and there have been several instances of buyers just giving up and trading in their vehicles for alternatives from Ford.
5. Coolant Leakage Issues
2015 onwards, the Ram trucks started experiencing coolant leakage. This is a serious issue because the coolant keeps the engine cool.
When there is not enough present in the engine, it will start overheating, which can cause the vehicle to stall in the middle of the road and degrade the lifespan of major parts severely.
Coolant leakage in the Ram 1500 can be due to leaking gaskets or hoses. The issue is difficult to fix because it is not simple to find the source of the problem and patch it up.
Since these pipes can leak at any time, Ram owners have found themselves in the workshop much more often than one would think. It is a frustrating problem and consumes a lot of time.
Related: Why Won’t My Dodge RAM 1500 Start?
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. What Year Did Dodge Trucks Have Transmission Problems?
Transmission problems have been plaguing Dodge trucks from the start. The problem was most notable with the 2001 model of the truck, where users would report about varying RPM. The problem was also found in 2009, and even the 2017 Ram 1500.
Dodge has not made good progress with the transmission system, which has cost users thousands of dollars to fix. All of the mentioned m0dels are on the list to avoid. If you steer clear from them, there is less chance of you encountering this issue.
Q2. How Many Miles Will A Ram 1500 Last?
If you put aside its fair share of issues, there is no denying that most Dodge Ram 1500 models can last for a long time, with the sweet spot being around 250000 to 300000 miles.
Yes, these trucks require work and repairs down the line, but they will easily reach this mileage or even exceed them. There have been reports of users pushing more than 350000 miles from these trucks!
All of this depends on how they are maintained and used.
Related: How Long Do Dodge RAM 1500 Last?
Q3. Which Is Better, Ram 1500 Or Silverado 1500?
If you are in the market for a new truck, it is important to know the differences between them. Both have their own merits, and both come at different price points.
The Ram 1500 has more power and better fuel economy, making it a good option for drivers that spend most of their time on the road. The Silverado is great if you need a lot of storage space or want the room to seat six people comfortably.
Q4. Are Dodge Ram 1500 Good Trucks?
The Ram 1500 is a great truck with lots of room and power. When compared to offerings from Ford and other brands, it pulls ahead in most regards.
There are many reasons to consider buying a Dodge Ram 1500. They’re safe, stylish, versatile, powerful, and they look great too! There is no doubt that issues are plaguing some models, but overall, they provide a stellar experience.
Q5. Should I Buy A Ram 1500 With 200k Miles?
Purchasing a Ram 1500 with 200,000 miles is a great idea. It has proven to be a reliable workhorse that can handle lots of wear and tear.
These trucks are made to last, and if you take proper care of them, you will certainly get a lot more mileage. You can even buy one that has more than 250000 miles on it because they still will have a lot of juice left in them.
There are many good years for the Dodge Ram 1500. The Ram 1500 has been produced since the late-1960s, and as a result, it can be difficult to know which years are the best or worst.
The classic series of trucks will always be the best years for Rams, but newer generations have also impressed critics with their power and design.
In this article, I’ve provided you with a list of best and worst years for Dodge Ram 1500 in your search for a new truck. I hope these tips have been helpful, and they may have helped you finalize a decision.
Hi there! I am Tahir Azam, and this is my blog. WVDOT Automotive is a website dedicated to creating high-quality content for car enthusiasts. I am also an avid car driver. I own and drive a Porsche for my daily tasks. It is the perfect vehicle for my family. I am a proud father of two boys. I spend my mornings and evenings catering to clients at my very own software hub. After getting home, I dedicate a few hours of my time to create an article every day. Well, this is a short introduction about me and I am also a publisher on Amazon. I hope you enjoy reading through my articles, and I also hope that I may have helped you choose an upgrade for your vehicle.