Best Years for Ram 1500

Reliability is always a top concern when buying a used vehicle. A durable and reliable vehicle gives us long-term service without any hassle. Dodge Ram is one such truck that has great longevity and provides a smooth driving experience.

Dodge Ram 1500 Years to Avoid Buying This truck is among the top 5 best-selling trucks in the United States of America. However, not all Ram 1500 model years are reliable. Some model years have major problems, and you should avoid them. So, which Ram 1500 model years should we avoid, and which are best?

In this article, I have covered the best model years of the Ram 1500, as well as the reasons for their selection. Before listing the Ram 1500’s best years, please note that the Dodge Ram currently has five generations, which I have discussed in another blog.

Here are the best years for Ram 1500:

  • 2024 Ram 1500
  • 2023 Ram 1500
  • 2022 Ram 1500
  • 2021 Ram 1500
  • 2020 Ram 1500
  • 2018 Ram 1500
  • 2017 Ram 1500
  • 2012 Ram 1500
  • 2011 Ram 1500
  • 2010 Ram 1500
  • 2009 Dodge Ram
  • 2008 Dodge Ram
  • 2007 Dodge Ram

On the other hand, here are the Ram 1500 years to avoid:

  • 2003 Dodge Ram
  • 2004 Dodge Ram
  • 2005 Dodge Ram
  • 2006 Dodge Ram
  • 2014 Ram 1500
  • 2015 Ram 1500
  • 2016 Ram 1500
  • 2019 Ram 1500

Note that the above list was made based on the following factors:

  • User’s reliability ratings
  • Safety ratings
  • Annual maintenance costs
  • NHTSA ratings
  • Consumer Reports
  • J.D. Power ratings
  • Edmunds owner ratings
  • owner ratings
  • Kelley’s Blue Book owner ratings
  • Consumer Reports on reliability scores, etc.

At the end of the discussion, I added a chart that shows all types of reliability ratings for each Ram 1500 model. So, let’s start the discussion about the Ram 1500’s best model years based on the generations.

Some Ram 1500 model years are extremely reliable and they can easily compete against rival trucks like the GMC Sierra 1500, Ford F-150, Silverado 1500, and Toyota Tundra.

These model years have a great lifespan, a small number of problems reported, and high reliability ratings. So, let’s start the discussion about the best years of Ram 1500.

5th Generation Ram 1500 Best Years (2019-Present)

Ram 1500’s 5th generation started in 2019, and today’s latest models belong to this generation. Except for the 2019 year, the 2020-2024 years are considered the best model years.

Therefore, the Ram 5th generation’s best years are:

  • 2020 Ram 1500
  • 2021 Ram 1500
  • 2022 Ram 1500
  • 2023 Ram 1500
  • 2024 Ram 1500

Edmunds’ reviews and NHTSA’s owner satisfaction reports prove that. These model years come with many powerful engines (3.6L, 5.7L, 3.0L) and an 8-speed automatic transmission.

The 3.6L Pentastar V6 engine produces 290 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. The 5.7L HEMI V8 engine produces 410 lb-ft of torque and 395 horsepower. The 3.0L EcoDiesel engine produces around 262 horsepower and a robust 480 lb-ft of torque.

The 2020-2024 models are also chosen because of their balance of power and fuel efficiency. These trucks provide around 15 mpg in the city and 21 mpg on the highway.

Latest technology and safety features, such as driver-assistance systems, blind-spot monitoring, lane departure warnings, and electronic parking systems, enhance these models’ reliability.

Users are also satisfied with the refined interior of the 2020-2024 Ram 1500 models. These years offer standard Tradesman trim to the most luxurious Limited trim levels.

According to NHTSA, the 2020 Ram 1500 has 11 recalls and 329 complaints, where most of the problems are minor and easy to solve. The 2021 Ram 1500 has 10 recalls and 376 complaints, similar to the 2020 model.

The 2022, 2023, and 2024 Ram 1500s have fewer than 10 recalls, and most of the problems related to the recalls are minor compared to the worst model years.

Average reliability ratings for fifth-generation Ram 1500 model years are:

  • 2019 Ram 1500: 3.9 out of 5-star
  • 2020 Ram 1500: 4.5 out of 5-star
  • 2021 Ram 1500: 4.2 out of 5-star
  • 2022 Ram 1500: 4.4 out of 5-star
  • 2023 Ram 1500: 4.4 out of 5-star
  • 2024 Ram 1500: 4.7 out of 5-star

4th Generation Ram 1500 Best Years (2009-2018)

4th Generation Dodge Ram’s best years are:

  • 2009
  • 2010
  • 2011
  • 2012
  • 2017
  • 2018

These years got great reliability rating scores and provided the best performance. This generation of trucks comes with the following powerful engines:

  • 6.7L Cummins ISB Turbo I6 diesel engine producing 370 horsepower and 850 lb-ft of torque
  • 3.0L EcoDiesel V6
  • 5.7L HEMI V8
  • 3.6L Pentastar

Depending on the engine, these model years offer 6- and 8-speed automatic transmissions. The average fuel economy for these model years is 17 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway. The advanced safety features also make the above Ram 1500 years the best.

The advanced airbag protection, stability control system, and super luxurious trim level are notable safety features. However, some of these model-year vehicles have exhaust manifold bolts, transmission, and rear axle issues. So, check the vehicle history from the VIN before buying a used 4th generation Ram 1500.

Reliability ratings for fourth generation Ram 1500 best years are:

  • 2009 Dodge Ram:
  • 2010 Ram 1500: 4.1 out of 5-star
  • 2011 Ram 1500: 4.1 out of 5-star
  • 2012 Ram 1500: 4.3 out of 5-star
  • 2017 Ram 1500: 4.0 out of 5-star
  • 2018 Ram 1500: 4.5 out of 5-star

3rd Generation Ram 1500 Best Years (2002-2008)

The most reliable years for the Dodge Ram 3rd generation are:

  • 2007
  • And 2008

Most of the 3rd generation Ram 1500 are problematic and have received many complaints. Therefore, most of them are put on the avoid list. The 2007 and 2008 Ram 1500s show the best performance and are considered the most powerful trucks of this generation.

These model years offer very reliable 5.7L HEMI V8, 3.7L PowerTech V6, and 6.7L Cummins I6 engines. The fuel efficiency for these models with standard engines is 15 mpg in the city and 20 mpg on the highway.

This generation’s notable features include Advanced infotainment systems, leather interiors, upgraded airbags, multiple trim options, and ABS brakes.

Reliability ratings for third-generation Ram 1500 best years are:

  • 2007 Dodge Ram: 4.6 out of 5-star
  • 2008 Dodge Ram: 4.5 out of 5-star

2nd Generation Ram 1500 Best Years (1994-2001)

The second-generation Dodge Rams are too old for today, and they already have high mileage. So, purchasing second-generation Ram is not a good idea when third-generation Ram is available at comparable prices. However, two model years of second-generation Dodge Ram are reliable and have high-reliability ratings.

The reliable model years are:

  • 1997 Dodge Ram
  • 1998 Dodge Ram

Therefore, if you find a properly maintained 1997 or 1998 Dodge Ram with low mileage, you can consider buying it.

Dodge Ram 1500 Reliability Ratings [Complete Chart]

Some Ram 1500 model years are highly reliable, while some are problematic. The number of recalls and reported complaints impacts a vehicle’s reliability. Therefore, I prioritize the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports for listing the best and worst years.

The chart given below shows you Ram 1500’s each model year reliability ratings given by NHTSA and J.D. Power:

What to Look for When Buying a Used Truck?

When buying a used truck, it is necessary to inspect it out and out.

Here are the 06 key points that help every truck buyer pick the best truck:

  1. Vehicle Body: Inspect the truck body visually and ensure there is no significant damage. Check the fenders, doors, and other exterior parts properly.
  2. Truck Engine: Check the engine visually for signs of corrosion, check the under of the hood for oil leaks, and examine the hoses and belts. Go for a test drive and hear carefully whether there is unusual noise coming from the engine or not.
  3. Braking: The Brake system is very important to check when buying a used truck. Check the rubber condition of the brake pads. So, you can make an idea about the vehicle’s age and mileage.
  4. Odometer: Check the truck mileage through the odometer. A truck with less than 150,000 miles for diesel engines and less than 100,000 miles for gas engines is good to buy. However, it is possible to change the Odometer actual reading. So, go for the next step.
  5. Truck Service Records: Check the truck service records and recalls history through VIN. Also take the emissions test to ensure the truck maintain safety rules and regulations.
  6. Tires: Check the truck tires properly. It is the last but very essential things to check before buying used truck. The tire conditions indicate a trucks usage history and mileage. If the Odometer reading shows low, but tires are in bad condition, it’s an alarming point. That’s indicate the meter reading was tempered. Then you need further checking. The condition of the tires also reveals how well the truck was handled.

However, if you want, you can hire a professional mechanic to inspect the used truck. It costs around $150 to $200, but a professional mechanic can thoroughly inspect a used vehicle very well and identify every defect.

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