Dodge Ram 1500 Starter Problems and Solutions

The starter motor in a Dodge Ram 1500 is an electric motor that helps to turn the engine on. The motor is activated when turning the ignition switch, and it is powered by a vehicle battery. The Ram 1500 starter problems indicate a problem that prevents the engine from cranking or starting properly.

The truck struggles to start or fails to start completely when the starter motor malfunctions. The causes of Ram 1500 starter problems can range from small corrosion issues on battery terminals to serious issues with starter motors or fuel systems. Electronic Control Module (ECM) malfunctions can also cause starter problems, but this is a sporadic case.

However, it is important to identify the underlying reasons for the starter problem as soon as possible. If your Ram 1500 has a starter problem, you should identify which component is actually responsible for this issue. First, notice the symptoms specifically, which will help to identify the faulty part.

The common symptoms of starter problems in Dodge Ram 1500 are:

  • Clicking noise, but the engine does not start.
  • Engine does not start, and there is no noise.
  • Erratic response from the engine.
  • Check engine warning light
  • Grinding noise
  • Slow cranking

These symptoms sometimes indicate a specific part that is responsible for the starter problem. For example, the clicking noise but no cranking indicates that a faulty starter solenoid cause the engine starter issue. On the other hand, slow cranking means the problem is in the starter motor itself.

A faulty starter motor also causes intermittent starting issues. The symptoms help to understand a possible reason for the engine starter problem but they do not give an exact result. That’s why diagnostic testing becomes important to find the actual causes and solutions.

There are two ways to test Ram 1500 starter motor. First, go to a mechanical shop to test the starter motor. There, a professional mechanic uses specialized equipment to determine causes of the starter problem. The second option is the DIY method.

In the DIY method, you have to perform the following tasks:

  1. Battery test
  2. Voltage drop test
  3. Positive voltage drop test
  4. Negative voltage drop test.

Watch the video given below to learn how to execute each test:

After finding out the causes of the Ram 1500 starter problem, you can easily fix it. I have discussed all the possible causes of the Ram 1500 starter problem and their solutions below.

Six things might cause the Ram 1500 starter problems. When you test the starter and battery, you will find the problematic part, and you can fix the issue accordingly. I have explained all six causes and their solutions here so that everyone can find a specific solution based on their specific problem.

1. Battery Issue

About 38% of the time, Dodge Ram 1500 starter problems occur due to battery issues. If the battery is weak or dead, it causes the Ram 1500 starting problem. Generally, a battery is considered to be dead when it fails to start the vehicle.

If the vehicle battery is dead, you will notice some symptoms, including dim lighting in the vehicle’s interior, and when turning the ignition key, the engine crank slowly or not crank at all. A slow-clicking noise is heard if the battery has a few charges left.

On the other hand, the truck will be completely unresponsive when the vehicle battery is dead. In some Ram 1500s, battery fast dry-out problems also cause vehicle starting issues.

When the battery loses charge quickly, the ECM triggers check engine light. Sometimes, the engine will stall because of battery problems. So, if a dead battery is the reason of Ram 1500 starter problem, the best solution is to replace the dead battery.

Replacing Dodge Ram 1500 battery is cost around $362 to $375. However, sometimes corroded cable connections and terminals also cause the problem. So, inspect all the cables, connections, and terminals. If any of them are damaged or corroded, fix it.

2. Alternator Problems

In 27% of cases, the alternator problems are responsible for starter issues. A vehicle alternator is a small generator that connects with the vehicle engine through a belt. The alternator generates electricity and charges the battery when the engine runs.

A faulty alternator fails to generate electricity and charge the battery. As a result, the vehicle battery dies slowly. Most of the time, the belt that connects the alternator and engine gets damaged and causes problems.

A faulty alternator provides some specific symptoms, including:

  • Check engine light
  • Grinding or squealing sound
  • Voltage gauge too low or too high
  • Battery losing charge continuously
  • Dim headlight, etc.

Check the alternator when you experience the starter issue and notice the above symptoms. Firstly, inspect the alternator belt condition. If the belt is broken down or damaged, replace it.

Replacing alternator belts in Ram 1500 will cost around $110 to $155, depending on your location. But if the belt seems to be in good condition, test the alternator. If the alternator is faulty, take your vehicle to a mechanic.

The alternator is a little bit complex component, and repairing or replacing it requires some mechanical knowledge and advanced tools. That is why I recommend hiring a professional mechanic. A mechanic inspects the alternator condition and then decide to repair it or replace it.

Watch this video to learn how to replace Ram 1500 faulty alternator at home.

3. Faulty Starter Motor

A faulty starter motor is responsible for Ram 1500’s starting issues 20% of the time.

When the start motor fails, you will experience the following symptoms:

  • Clicking noise, but the engine will not rotate
  • Fast spinning or whirring noise when turning the ignition key
  • Engine not start at all

These are the common symptoms of a faulty starter motor in all models. I recommend to replace the starter motor once it shows failing signs. Because replacing a faulty starter motor at the start point is less expensive than replacing it once it has completely failed.

You can watch this video to learn how to replace a faulty starter motor in a Dodge Ram 1500.

4. Fuel Pump Goes Out

The remaining 15% of the time, other problems cause starter problems in Ram 1500, including faulty fuel pump, faulty ignition switch, ignition lock cylinder, camshaft, and crankshaft position sensor issues. If your Ram 1500 fuel pump is clogged or fails, it cannot supply the required fuel to the engine to ignite.

As a result, the truck struggles to start or does not start at all. If the fuel pump is damaged or leaked, you should replace it. Maybe some mechanic will tell you that they can repair the faulty fuel pump. Typically, it is possible to repair a faulty fuel pump if its problems are not severe.

But remember that the solution will be temporary and the fuel pump problem and vehicle starting problem will reappear again. So, I recommend to replace the faulty fuel pump to avoid further expenses. However, replacing the Ram 1500 fuel pump is very expensive and requires around $1,100 to $1,250.

If you want to avoid premature fuel pump failure problems and unnecessary spending, then properly take care of your Ram 1500 and ensure regular maintenance.

5.  Faulty Ignition Switch

A faulty ignition switch fails to turn the ignition and activate the starter. In a few cases, the Ram 1500 starter problems happen because of ignition switch problems. This is because the design of the Ram 1500’s ignition switch is very good quality and rarely causes problems.

However, it cannot be totally ignored. So, if the starter problem occurs, check the ignition switch too. Replace the faulty ignition switch, which costs around $195-$228.

6. Camshaft and Crankshaft Position Sensor Malfunction

When the camshaft or crankshaft position sensor starts malfunctioning, the ECM turns on the check engine warning light. The check engine light should not be ignored. If the warning light illuminates and you continue to drive your vehicle, the engine will stall.

Sometimes, it also causes engine starting issues too. In this case, replacing the sensors is the best solution. The replacement cost for the camshaft position sensor is estimated to be $182-$245. In contrast, replacing the crankshaft position sensor cost around $178-$238.

These are the solutions for Dodge Ram 1500 starter problems. Inspect and test the starter motor of the Dodge Ram 1500 to identify the actual cause. Replace or repair the faulty parts in accordance with the recommendations provided above.

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