Ram 1500: 16 Common Problems (Solution Guide)

The Ram 1500 is a light-duty pickup truck that features both V6 and V8 engine options.

It has been nominated for numerous best-in-class awards and is one of the highest selling vehicles in modern day American history.

Like any automobile though, the Ram 1500 isn’t without it’s problems.

Read on for more information on the most common issues associated with the Ram 1500 and the relevant solutions.

2019 Ram 1500 Rebel 12

Ram 1500 Keeps Beeping

The beeping noise that can occur in the cabin of the Ram 1500 is the ‘favorite artist feature’ on the FM radio. This can be stopped by selecting ‘visual alerts only’ in the alert settings under the favorites tab.

Some Ram 1500 owners have been left puzzled with a random beeping sound coming from the dashboard for no reason.

The sound is at random intervals and there are also no warning signs lighting up in the cabin.

Favorite Mode

As it turns out, this beeping noise is actually from the FM Radio.

The Sirius XM has a ‘favorite’ mode which, when activated will give an audible cue when a selected favorite artist or song is playing on a radio station.

Here’s how you change it:

  • when the favorite song notification pops up you can click on it.
  • When you enter the favorites tab you can select ‘alert settings’.
  • Here you will be able to toggle audio or visual alerts.
  • Selecting ‘visual alerts only’ will stop the beeping noise from occurring.

Ram 1500 Door Keeps Locking

The Ram 1500 sometimes has a faulty master switch which causes the doors to lock abnormally quickly after unlocking. This has caused frustration for many owners. The part will need to be ordered and replaced by the dealership.

The Ram 1500 has had some strange issues with doors locking on their own.

This can sometimes happen quickly, for example in the space between closing the rear door to opening the front door.

This has left many Ram 1500 owners stranded and locked out of their cars. It has become somewhat of a common problem.

Master Switch Issues

Many owners have had to take their trucks into the dealership to have this issue fixed.

The problem is a faulty master switch, which needs to be replaced.

The part will likely need to be ordered which can take anywhere from 2 weeks to a month to arrive.

From there, it needs to be installed into the truck by the dealership.

Some owners have taken it upon themselves to disconnect the master switch. However, this is not recommended unless you are willing to risk further damage to the truck.

Ram 1500 Horn Keeps Honking

If the horn on the Ram 1500 truck keeps honking there could be a fault in the hardware, either with the foam or the copper plates inside the steering wheel. These can easily be replaced. Some owners have solved this problem by relacing their key fob or cleaning it.

A faulty horn can be extremely annoying and distracting.

Aside from waking the neighbors in the middle of the night, it can also distract your attention from the road.

Some models of the Ram 1500 have be reported to have faulty horns.

There can be various causes for this, but it’s always best to have the dealership take a look at the truck.

Deteriorating Foam

In some cases, the foam under the steering wheel can deteriorate or rip causing two copper plates to make contact and sound off the horn. In this case new foam will be needed.

Accidental Contact

The two copper plates could also be arcing from a distance, which will cause the horn to go off.

These will need to be replaced if that is the case.

Some Ram 1500 owners have solved the issue by either replacing or cleaning their key fob.

Strangely enough, taking the key fob apart and thoroughly cleaning it solved this problem for one owner.

A dealership will be able to investigate the issue and offer an immediate solution to the problem.

Ram 1500 Radio Keeps Shutting Off

If your Ram 1500 radio keeps switching off at different times it could be a software glitch. This problem can be resolved with a software update. If this is not the case, it could be as a result of damaged wiring or a faulty radio, which will need to be replaced.

The radio system on some Ram 1500 models have had issues where it shuts off at random points. This issue has been widely reported on various models.

Software Update

In most cases this is a software glitch which can be fixed with an update of the Uconnect system on the Ram 1500.

Faulty Wiring

In some rarer cases it can be a hardware issue on the radio itself.

This can be a chafing or damaged wire. To check this, remove the radio face and check any of the connecting wires for damage.

Faulty Radio

Some radios may be completely faulty and will need to be replaced by a dealership.

The other option is to have an aftermarket radio installed in the truck.

Ram 1500 Won’t take Gas

Some Ram 1500 owners have reported their pick-up won’t take gas. This is a problem which is most likely caused by the older fuel tank designs. The angle of the fuel filler tube was designed incorrectly, leading to the fuel nozzle shutting off. Another possible cause is that the anti-siphon valve has become stuck and needs to be cleared.

This is a strange problem which has affected a number of models in the Ram 1500 range.

Some owners stop at a gas station to fill up and the truck simply won’t take on any gas.

Others have reported that they struggled for 45 minutes to an hour to fill up their trucks, with station attendants also unable to assist.

Fuel Filler Tube

There has been a recall for some trucks which had an issue with the EVAP and the angle of the fuel filler tube.

The problem is that the fuel nozzle becomes stuck and shuts off due to the awkward angle.

Anti-Siphon Valve

Another possible cause is that the anti-siphon valve, which has been added for security in order to prevent fuel theft, has become stuck.

The solution is to take all the lines off the tank and use compressed air to clear them out.

Please also read our article: how long does a Ram 1500 last

Ram 1500 Won’t Drive With Door Open

Newer models of the Ram 1500 have a safety feature that prevents the vehicle from moving when the doors are open. It’s not possible to remove or turn off this safety feature. The only loophole around it is to keep the seatbelt plugged in which will allow the truck to move.

Some owners of the newer Ram 1500 models have been left frustrated as they are unable to drive their trucks with the doors open.

Some drivers hitch trailers by reversing with their driver’s side doors open, and are therefore left frustrated by this new safety feature.

New Safety Features

Ram 1500 models from 2016 and newer now have a safety feature that prevents the vehicle from moving when the door is open.

Some owners have contacted dealerships, however, all refuse to turn this safety feature off.

Some however, have found a loophole to getting around the feature.

When the seatbelt is buckled the vehicle will still move even with the door open.

It’s unclear if Ram will remove this loophole, so it may not be effective for long.

Ram 1500 Won’t Detect Key Fob

The key fob is needed in some Ram 1500 models to lock doors and start the engine. A faulty key fob renders the vehicle useless. In most cases, dealerships have been unable to solve this issue. Many owners have solved this problem by opening the key fob and pushing the battery connectors back into position.

Some models of the Ram 1500 have experienced issues where the vehicle simply won’t detect the key fob.

Newer Ram 1500 models operate entirely with a key fob, featuring push to start and keyless entry.

This means a faulty key fob results in the truck going nowhere at all.

Many owners have been frustrated by this, being left stranded, unable to lock or unlock their doors or even start their vehicles.

Some have had their trucks taken into the dealerships who have been unable to solve the issue for weeks, sometimes even months.

Replace or Clean Key Fob

The solution to this problem sometimes lies in the key fob itself.

Over time the connectors on the battery wear down.

Many people have found success in opening the key fob and using pliers or a pen to push the connectors back into place.

Ram 1500 Battery Keeps Dying

A Ram 1500 battery that keeps dying could be caused by a parasitic draw, electrical elements being left on or the battery has simply run the course of its lifespan. In most cases, a dying battery simply needs to be replaced. A parasitic draw needs to be rectified by a mechanic.

Dying batteries can be a frustration to many car owners. However, in many cases it’s a simple fix.

Battery Lifespan

If the vehicle is more than five years old, it could be that the battery has run its lifespan and needs to be replaced.

Many batteries do not make it past the five-year mark; however, some can run strong up to ten years.

Parasitic Draw

The other probable cause is that there could be a parasitic draw.

This is an electrical element in the car that is drawing power when it should not be.

Finding a parasitic draw can be a time-consuming process and it requires a lot of patience.

When the faulty element is found, it will need to be repaired or replaced in order to prevent the parasitic draw from continuing.

Leaving Electricity On

Finally, the battery could be dying due to electrical elements being left on in the car.

This can be anything from the radio to the lights.

One owner reported that their glovebox light remained on due to a broken hinge, so it may not be an obvious one.

Ram 1500 Won’t Go Into Gear

If your Ram 1500 has been standing in cold conditions and won’t go into gear, this could be caused by an issue with the filter or the filter assembly. This would need to be replaced in order to repair the vehicle.

Some owners of Ram 1500 models have had difficulty shifting into gear.

This problem seems to affect a variety of vehicles, and it is particularly prevalent in cold conditions.

The transmissions seem to fail when the vehicle has been standing in cold conditions for long periods.

This led many to believe that their vehicles needed to warm up before shifting into gear.

Replace Filter

The problem turns out be coming from the filter in the transmission, which was causing low pressure through the transmission lines.

In some cases, it was the entire filter that needed to be replaced and in others it was the bolt that secured the filter in place.

The cost to fix this issue varies from $200 to $2000 depending on the parts required.

Ram 1500 CarPlay Not Working

Ram 1500 owners have reported that their CarPlay was not working. Apple CarPlay needs the iPhone to be unlocked in order for the car to gain access to the phone. This can be changed in the iPhone’s settings. In some cases an update may be needed in order to solve this problem.

Apple CarPlay is an extremely handy feature.

However, sometimes it just doesn’t want to work, leaving owners confused and frustrated.

You may also be interested in our article: how long do Ram 2500 last?

Grant iPhone Permissions

In most cases, the Ram operating system needs the iPhone to be unlocked in order to get ‘permission’ to access the phone.

This can be solved by going into the iPhone’s settings to adjust the CarPlay permissions.

Open the settings app > General > CarPlay > Select Your Car > Toggle ‘Allow CarPlay While Locked’.

The other possible issue is that either the iPhone or the Ram’s operating systems need a software update.

In most cases, this is an easy fix that you can do from home.

Ram 1500 Won’t Start Just Clicks

Ram 1500 owners have reported their truck won’t start and just clicks. A clicking noise coming from the starter motor is a sign of a dead battery. The battery likely needs replacement. In some cases, an alternator replacement may also be required.

When the truck’s engine does not want to turn over and you can hear a clicking noise that is a clear sign of a faulty battery.

Dead Battery

The clicking noise means that the battery is dead and likely needs to be replaced. The first cause could be that the battery has reached the end of its lifespan. The average lifespan for a car battery is 5 years.

Faulty Alternator

If the truck has been running but still does not start, it could be a faulty alternator.

The alternator is used to charge the battery while the engine is running.

The alternator would need to be replaced at a cost of between $375 and $562 according to RepairPal.

Ram 1500 Won’t Shift Out Of First

Some Ram 1500 owners have reported their truck won’t shift out of first gear. The Ram has a shift limited button on the back of the steering wheel which can be pressed by accident. Another cause could be faulty sensors or old transmission fluids.

In some cases, the fix required the driver to stop the vehicle, shut it off and turn it on again to reset it.

Shift Lock Button

The Ram 1500 has a shift limiter button on the back of the steering wheel, which will lock the transmission into the current gear.

It is possible to accidentally press this button.

Transmission Sensors

The other possible cause is much more complicated.

There are two sensors inside the transmission which essentially tell it when to shift gears.

These can become faulty and would need to be replaced.

Another possible solution is to drain all of the transmission fluid and refill it.

The fluid needs to be clean and have no debris or it could cause transmission problems.

Please also read our article: Ram 1500 in snow and winter driving

Ram 1500 Won’t Start In Cold

A Ram 1500 that won’t start in the cold could be due to a dead battery or having the wrong battery installed. Ensure that the battery has enough cold cranking amps to operate in winter. Another cause could be that the truck is running thicker oil as opposed to thinner oil.

Some vehicles struggle to start in colder weather, and the Ram 1500 is no different.

There are a number of causes to investigate in order to solve this problem.

Use Correct Battery

The first is that the battery could be dead, or you could have the wrong battery in your truck.

Car batteries have a useful lifespan of around 5 years, after which they will need to be replaced.

Some batteries are not capable of operating in colder weather.

It’s always important to check the colder cranking amps on the battery and ensure it is sufficient to survive the colder temperatures.

Use Correct Oil

The truck could also be running the wrong type of oil.

In warmer months, the engine needs thicker oil in order to stay cool and lubricated.

But in winter months it needs thinner oil which allow it warm up quicker.

Ram 1500 Won’t Shut Off

A Ram 1500 that won’t shut off can be caused either by a faulty main fuse box or a corroded ignition system. Whichever part is causing the problem will need to be replaced in order to solve the issue.

As strange as this issue may sound, it is actually a common occurrence on some Ram trucks.

The driver would turn the key to the ‘off’ position, remove the key from the ignition and the engine would still be running.

Faulty Main Fuse Box

There are two main causes to this problem. The first is a faulty main fuse box.

A faulty fuse box can cause the vehicle to malfunction in various different ways, and being unable to shut off is one of those.

The best bet is to have the vehicle checked over by a professional who might suggest the entire main fuse box is replaced.

Corroded Ignition System

Another cause is a corroded ignition system.

The ignition system is entirely mechanical, which means that the parts inside of it can corrode over time.

The system can be removed and cleaned, however, buying a new part for around $30 and replacing it is the recommended option.

Ram 1500 Won’t Shift Out of Park 

A complaint from Ram 1500 owners is that their truck won’t shift out of park. This is commonly caused by parking on a steep incline without proper use of the parking brake, which damages the pawl. A defective brake pedal switch, shift interlock solenoid, or shift cable could also be to blame.

There could be a variety of reasons why your Ram 1500 doesn’t shift out of park, the most common reasons are outlined below.

Damaged Pawl

Whenever you park a Ram 1500 with an automatic transmission on an incline or steep hill, you are running a risk of transmission damage if you don’t exercise caution.

The parking brake should always be applied first when parking on a hill before shifting the transmission into the park position. When you are ready to drive away, always shift the transmission to the neutral position before releasing the parking brake.

Failure to do so can result in difficulty pulling the transmission lever out of park – this indicates that the pawl, a metal arm responsible for jamming the car’s transmission and preventing it from moving – has become damaged, it is often accompanied by a grinding noise.

Unfortunately this can often require costly repairs.

If your Ram 1500 is currently stuck in park the vehicle may need to be rocked out of place, or the pressure taken off of the pawl before the shifter will move. 

Faulty Brake Pedal Switch 

The brake pedal switch activates the brake lights when the brake pedal is pressed.

It is also a safety device, used to ensure the driver is pressing the brake before the vehicle will allow you to pull it out of park. 

When the brake pedal switch is defective, safety interlocks will prevent the driver from shifting out of park. 

A quick way to check if it is working, is to check the operation of the  brake lights, no brake light could indicate this as the root cause. 

Defective Shift Interlock Solenoid

The shift interlock solenoid is the device that physically operates the mechanism that locks or unlocks your shifter.

It will enable when the brake pedal switch is depressed. 

When the solenoid is faulty, the shifter cannot move out of park. However, this can be bypassed, by removing the cover near the shifter and placing the key inside.  

RepairPal estimates the cost of replacement for a shift interlock solenoid is between $229 and $247. 

Broken or Seized Shift Cable 

The shift cable is what links your shifter to your transmission. Although it is a robust component, sometimes it will fail. 

If it breaks completely, moving the shifter will not move the transmission out of park.

But if it is seized, the shifter will be hard, if not impossible to move.

Either way, your Ram 1500 won’t go very far until the cable is replaced. 

You might also be interested in our article, Ford F-150: 8 common problems

Ram 1500 Headlight Keeps Going Out

The most common cause of Ram 1500 headlights that keep going out is faulty wiring. Simply disconnecting the headlamp and connecting any loose wires should solve this problem. Connections at the wiring hookup from the main harness to the headlight should be checked for tightness.

Occasionally some Ram 1500 models will have problems with their headlights randomly going on and off.

More often than not this is a wiring issue.

Sometimes it will be the connector on the harness that plugs into the headlight, that will need replacing this costs around $40 to replace.

Resources                                                   

https://www.edmunds.com/ram/1500/

https://www.caranddriver.com/ram/1500

https://www.ramtrucks.com/ram-1500.html