14 Best & Worst Ram 3500 Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Ram 3500, a heavy-duty full-size pickup truck, was introduced in the 2011 model year.

It is built to handle heavy loads and tough tasks and is designed for durability and high performance.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at all of its best and worst model years.

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Ram 3500 Are:

The best Ram 3500 model years are 2024, 2023, 2021, 2020 and 2019. The worst model years of this model are 2018, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2017, 2016, 2015, and 2022. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Ram 3500?

2024 and 2023 Ram 3500

If you are in search of cutting-edge tech, enhanced safety features, and superior performance capabilities, the 2024 and 2023 Ram 3500 are highly recommended.

For these models, newly available options include a fully digital instrument panel, a virtual rearview mirror, and improved camera hardware and software designed to assist with reversing and towing tasks.

There are 5 available trims: Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited. 

Base pricing ranges from around $53,000 to $91,000.

All trim levels come with a standard 6.4-liter V8 gasoline engine (410 horsepower, 429 pound-feet of torque) paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Optional powertrains are as follows:

  • 6.7-liter Cummins turbocharged diesel 6-cylinder engine (370 horsepower, 850 pound-feet of torque)
  • High output version of the same diesel engine (420 horsepower, 1,075 pound-feet of torque)

Our favorite safety features are the following:

  • Full-Speed Forward Collision Warning Plus
  • Blindspot Warning with Rear Cross-Path Detection
  • Lane Departure Warning with Lane Keeping Assistance

2023 Ram 3500:

  • Edmunds: 2.9 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.4 / 5.0

2023 Ram 3500, Edmunds Review:

“If you’re looking for the best high tech truck that is as comfortable as a luxury car that can pull a house take a look at Ram trucks. They checked all the boxes for me…”

2021 and 2020, and 2019 Ram 3500

The 2021, 2020, and 2019 Ram 3500 models, constituting the first installments of the fifth generation, fortunately concluded a seemingly endless sequence of problems reported by owners of earlier model years.

The redesign of the fifth-generation featured a lighter yet stronger frame, enhanced powertrains, and updated styling, significantly boosting its towing capacity and technological capabilities, reaffirming its dominance in the heavy-duty truck market.

Notable aspects of these vehicle, as mentioned by owners, are:

  • Ride quality
  • Towing capacity
  • Engine power
  • Fuel efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Manufacturing quality
  • Practicality

There are 5 available trim levels: Tradesman, Big Horn, Laramie, Longhorn, and Limited.

There  are also 3 configurations: Regular Cab, Crew Cab, and Mega Cab. Any of these can be paired with a standard bed (6 feet, 4 inches) or a long bed (8 feet).

There are 3 engine variations:

  • Standard 6.4-liter gasoline V8 (410 horsepower, 429 pound-feet of torque)
  • Optional 6.7-liter Cummins turbocharged diesel 6-cylinder (370 horsepower, 850 pound-feet of torque)
  • Optional high-output diesel variant (420 horsepower, 1,075 pound-feet of torque)

Each combination of trim, engine, and configuration can either be rear-wheel-drive or four-wheel-drive.

2021 Ram 3500:

  • Edmunds: 3.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.4 / 5.0

2020 Ram 3500:

  • Edmunds: 3.3 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 3.4 / 5.0

2020 Ram 3500, Edmunds Review:

“Let me get started by saying my 2020 Ram 3500 SRW HO pulls like a dream and handles like an HD truck should. Please note this is a Tradesman but comes with all the bells and whistles, such as 360 camera, blind side, LED lights, spray in bed liner, 5th wheel prep, etc. The list goes on. No truck is perfect and these companies need to make money too, but RAM made things right…”

Consumer Scores For Best Ram 3500 Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
2024 Ram 3500
2023 Ram 35002.9 / 5.03.4 / 5.0
2021 Ram 35003.6 / 5.03.4 / 5.0
2020 Ram 35003.3 / 5.03.4 / 5.0
2019 Ram 35004.0 / 5.03.4 / 5.0

Related: How Long Do Ram 2500 Last? (Solved and Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Ram 3500?

2018 Ram 3500

Avoid the 2018 Ram 3500 at all costs. This is the most problematic model year ever produced (followed closely by the 2012 model year).

Owners have reported a wide array of issues, with the most significant problems pertaining to the ABS, traction control system, and other aspects of the braking system.

Various brake-related warning lights would sporadically light up during driving, signaling a decrease in functionality and raising the risk of vehicle accidents.

In some cases, components of the brake system were replaced, only for owners to return and report that the same issues resurfaced shortly after the repairs were completed.

Furthermore, finding parts proved difficult, likely due to the widespread nature of these brake-related problems.

“The ABS and traction control lights come on intermittently on the dash and the message to check the brake system comes on a lot. The ABS system doesn’t work when the lights are on and they come on a lot. This I believe is a safety issue since it came with an ABS system to keep from locking up the brakes when having to brake hard to avoid a collision.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2018 Ram 3500 had a total of 11 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 417 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Premature stock tires wear and tear
  • Front wheel bearings failed
  • Airbags failed to deploy
  • ABS failure
  • Will not accelerate from dead stop
  • Unknown battery drain

2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 Ram 3500

The 2014, 2013, 2012, and 2011 Ram 3500 models are among the most problematic versions of the truck ever made.

In contrast to the 2018 model year, which had a few prominent issues, this group of trucks exhibited a range of defects across several areas, such as the transmission, engine, electronics, steering, tires, and suspension.

Owners reported problems with the original tires on their vehicles, including missing studs and early tread separation.

“The contact stated that while driving at 60 MPH, the two front tires made abnormal sounds. The contact stopped and inspected the tire and became aware that the treads on both tires had separated.” – NHTSA.gov

Additionally, there were numerous issues with crucial steering and suspension system components. Multiple reports highlighted problems with tie rod and drag link ball joints, leading to the notorious “death wobble,” characterized by uncontrollable and excessive shaking.

“After driving 50 mph over divots, the front end of the vehicle experienced severe vibration. the failure occurred without warning…” – NHTSA.gov 

These models were also prone to stalling while in motion at various speeds, occasionally accompanied by unusual noises or vibrations, though often occurring without any apparent cause.

“Vehicle will, at random, completely lose all power while driving unexpectedly. There seems to be no cause that precipitates this loss of power. During the night, it is extremely dangerous, because the lights and everything go out.” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2014 Ram 3500 had a total of 20 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 190 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2013 Ram 3500 had a total of 39 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 112 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2012 Ram 3500 had a total of 43 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 355 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2011 Ram 3500 had a total of 218 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Windshield exploded
  • Shakes violently while driving
  • Excessive shaking
  • Death wobble
  • Check engine light on
  • Vibration at all speeds
  • Check engine light on

2017, 2016, and 2015 Ram 3500

Although not as troubled as the 2018 model year, the 2017, 2016, and 2015 Ram 3500 models arguably set the stage for the multitude of issues that owners of the later model would encounter.

Prominent issues included ABS and traction control malfunctions, with owners reporting intermittent flashing and chiming of the warning indicators.

This also caused the deactivation of certain driver assistance features, specifically adaptive cruise control.

“Random occurrences of an audible bell along with error messages stating, ‘Service Electronic Braking System’ and ‘Service Antilock Brake System’ flash momentarily on the dash. They may also stay on for prolonged periods of time. Cruise control is inoperable when the error messages flash, or stay on. The ABS trouble indicator light is also on during these events. The abrupt cancellation of cruise control in traffic is dangerous, especially when towing a trailer…” – NHTSA.gov

Several owners have also reported that their respective dealers and the manufacturer have not addressed the numerous complaints and issues in a timely or effective manner.

To date, no comprehensive and permanent solution has been offered for the issues that continue to frustrate owners of these models.

  • The 2017 Ram 3500 had a total of 16 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 181 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2016 Ram 3500 had a total of 23 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 113 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.
  • The 2015 Ram 3500 had a total of 22 complaints on CarComplaints.com and 123 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Premature stock tires wear and tear
  • Fuel contamination
  • Excessive shaking while driving
  • Clutch went out prematurely
  • Diesel exhaust fluid pump failure
  • Erratic dash cluster display
  • Exhaust fumes in cab

2022 Ram 3500

The 2022 Ram 3500 stands out as the only fifth-generation model to appear on this list, with most of its issues stemming from a defective transmission system.

Owners reported the following transmission-related symptoms:

  • Sudden and unexpected downshifting
  • Abrupt deceleration
  • Inability to increase gear level
  • Activation of limp mode
  • Fluctuation of RPM
  • Loss of vehicle power

“The contact owns a 2022 Ram 3500. The contact stated that while driving at various speeds, the transmission suddenly downshifted, causing the vehicle to decelerate abruptly. Additionally, while driving the vehicle, the engine temperature gauge increased too high, with a burning plastic odor and smoke fumes entering the cabin of the vehicle…” – NHTSA.gov

  • The 2022 Ram 3500 had a total of 110 problems based on NHTSA.gov data.

Common problems:

  • Vehicle entering limp mode
  • Transmission failure
  • Engine overheating

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2024 Ram 3500
2023 Ram 3500070
2022 Ram 350001108
2021 Ram 35003318
2020 Ram 350039411
2019 Ram 35001110712
2018 Ram 3500114178
2017 Ram 35001618111
2016 Ram 35002311315
2015 Ram 35002212316
2014 Ram 35002019017
2013 Ram 35003911218
2012 Ram 3500433559
2011 Ram 35002185

Related: 14 Best & Worst Ram 2500 Years (With Facts & Stats)

What Problems Do Ram 3500 Have?

  • Death wobble
  • Diesel exhaust fluid pump failure
  • Excessive shaking while driving
  • Check engine light on
  • Excessive vibration at all speeds



  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...