2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Top Complaints and Problems – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Fuel system, electrical, suspension and powertrain issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

When it comes to getting the job done, consumers want a capable and dependable truck. With the newer models winning the Truck of the Year award, it makes sense that many people would want a 2018 Dodge Ram 1500. The trouble is that there are a lot of problems with this full-size truck that can’t be overlooked. It has a faulty suspension, electrical concerns, defective powertrain and malfunctioning fuel system. It’s also been the subject of many recalls.

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Suspension

While it can’t be expected for a full-size truck to drive like a compact car, it’s still fair to assume it has a smooth ride. That’s not what consumers find once they get behind the wheel of a 2018 Ram.

After listing a few complaints, this Edmunds user wrote this, “Second main concern is this thing shakes like crazy unless you can stay in the gas all the time, anytime you just try to maintain a speed it shakes, steering wheel vibrates,you can feel it in the wheel the pedals and the seats it seems to roar, like a bad converter,or carrier bearing right off the showroom floor. Dealer has zero interest in fixing it. They claim they all do it is normal. They claim it is the fault of the MDS system, seems from research dodges have this trouble all the back to 2002, dealership said it just needs a upgrade they did said upgrade it shakes worse and more often.”

Out of over 130 manufacturer communications, there is not one related to the suspension on this truck. Either Dodge makes such a good truck that there’s never been anything to address related to the suspension, or they aren’t willing to acknowledge the problems. It’s more likely that the latter is true.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Suspension Problems:

SOMETIMES, WHEN I MAKE A LEFT OR RIGHT TURN OR HIT A BUMP IN THE ROAD, OR A POTHOLE, THERE IS A “THUD” SOUND IN THE FRONT OF THE TRUCK. THE SOUND IS LIKE METAL AGAINST METAL. I’VE TALKED TO THE DEALERSHIP AND THEY DIDN’T HEAR IT WHEN THEY TOOK IT FOR A TEST DRIVE.

AIR SUSPENSION FAILS WHEN COLD. VEHICLE WAS STATIONARY. VERY COMMON PROBLEM. VEHICLE IS NOT DRIVEABLE WHEN THIS OCCURS.

 THE SUSPENSION GOING OUT IN THESE VEHICLES IS A KNOWN PROBLEM AND NEEDS TO BE TAKEN CARE OF. DODGE SHOULD OWN UP TO IT. BOTTOM LINE, THE 4 CORNER AIR SUSPENSION WILL CAUSE SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH TO SOMEONE DRIVING AT HIGHWAY SPEED WHEN IT GOES OUT. I FEEL THEY ARE BEEN ENOUGH ISSUE WITH THEM THAT THE AIR SUSPENSION SHOULD BE DISCONTINUED AND OPTION GIVING TO GO BACK TO STANDARD SUSPENSION OR WARRANTY THEM FOR THE LIFE OF THE VEHICLE.

Electrical

What is the electrical system in a truck? It’s pretty much the entire nervous system – operating everything that needs power. When one component of this vital network begins to malfunction, it becomes a nuisance, and sometimes dangerous.

This one, straight to the point complaint on the NHTSA website says it all. “Truck started on fire due to electrical problem (block heater failure or other electrical).”

This is scary and should be cause for alarm. Still, we see two electrical system related recalls on the truck, neither of which relate to this problem. The first one, labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V524000 discusses the voltage regulator fails and leads to stalling and/or crash. The second recall, labeled with NHTSA Campaign Number 18V332000 alerts consumers that the cruise control might not be capable of cancellation. Both of these are also serious worries that drivers should be concerned with, but if the truck were to start on fire first, these other recalls wouldn’t matter much. Maybe Dodge should have started with the primary safety concern before dealing with these two.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Electrical Problems:

AFTER GETTING BACK IN MY VEHICLE PARKED ON A CITY STREET I RESTARTED IT AND PUT IT INTO DRIVE. IT WOULD NOT MOVE. I REVVED THE ENGINE BUT IT STILL DID NOT MOVE. I FINALLY SHIFTED INTO PARK AND BACK INTO DRIVE AGAIN AND THEM IT WORKED. THIS HAS HAPPENED MANLY TIMES BEFORE AND THE SELECTOR SWITCH HAS EVEN JUMPED OUT OF PARK INTO REVERSE ALMOST AS MANY TIMES AND ON ONE OCCASION IT RESULTED IN PROPERTY DAMAGE OF ALMOST $3000. THIS IS A SAFETY ISSUE THAT I BELIEVE THE MANUFACTURER KNOWS ABOUT BUT REFUSES TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT BECAUSE OF PROFIT. I DO HAVE A VIDEO OF THIS LATEST INCIDENT IF ANYONE IS INTERESTED.

THE PARKING SENSOR FOR THE FRONT AND REAR OF THE VEHICLE SHOW THE VISUAL INDICATION ON THE DASH BUT THE AUDIBLE SOUND ONLY WORKS ON OCCASIONS. THE ALERT IS SUPPOSED TO WORK AT LOW SPEED OR IF YOU ARE TO CLOSE TO AN OBJECT EVEN IF YOUR VEHICLE IS NOT IN MOTION. THE HAS HAPPENED OFF AND ON SINCE THE VEHICLE WAS PURCHASED NEW. POWERTRAIN CONTROL SAFETY RECALL U61 HAS BEEN COMPLETED AND HAS NOT SOLVED THIS ISSUE.

VEHICLE HAS FAILED TO START 3 TIMES IN 2 1/2 MONTHS. I REQUIRED ROAD SERVICE EACH TIME. THIS OCCURRED ON JAN. 16, 2019, MAR, 20, 2019 AND MAR. 23, 2019.VEHICLE HAD BEEN USED FOR ERRANDS INVOLVING SEVERAL STOPS WITH ONLY A COUPLE OF MILES IN BETWEEN, THEN IT WOULD NOT START AND THE BATTERY WAS COMPLETELY DEAD. DEALER HAS LOOKED AT VEHICLE AND NOTED THAT THERE ARE SCORES OF ‘LOW VOLTAGE’ CODES IN THE COMPUTER. THIS PROBLEM MATCHES THOSE NOTED IN NHTSA RECALL U87. THE ‘CREW CAB’ VERSION OF THE TRUCK IS INCLUDED IN THE RECALL BUT THE ‘QUAD CAB’ VERSION IS NOT. I CANNOT GET THE VEHICLE REPAIRED AND DO NOT FEEL SAFE DRIVING IT IF IT MAY NOT START, ANYWHERE ANYTIME.

Powertrain

With a malfunctioning powertrain, it becomes difficult to operate a truck the way it was intended. With the Ram 1500, numerous complaints continue to pour in expressing the terrible construction and poor design of the powertrain.

One user wrote this on the NHTSA website, “Truck won’t go into reverse when turning the rotary dial. This happens after driving the truck for a couple of miles. If you turn the rotary dial to the R position it just sits there like it is in neutral. In order to get it to go into reverse, you have to turn the dial back to P, then turn the dial to D and then turn it back to R. This is potentially dangerous because if you are on an incline and turn it to R, it will roll forward and not go into reverse.”

Does it surprise you to hear that this truck is subject to four powertrain recalls? One discusses this issue directly when it explains how the truck may not go into gear without pushing on the brake pedal. Another recall talks about how the wrong transmission park rods were installed, which stops the owner from shifting into Park. Furthermore, other concerns include a fractured driveshaft and a failing rear axle. It seems it doesn’t matter what part of this powertrain is examined; there is something fundamentally wrong with it. It might be better to start from scratch than attempt to fix everything that’s broken.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Transmission Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 RAM 1500. THE CONTACT STATED THAT WHILE PARKED IN THE DRIVEWAY WHEN EXITING THE VEHICLE WITH THE DRIVER DOOR STILL OPEN, THE VEHICLE SHIFTED INTO REVERSE INDEPENDENTLY, ROLLED AWAY RAPIDLY, AND KNOCKED THE DRIVER DOWN TO THE GROUND. THE VEHICLE ROLLED AWAY CROSSING A STREET AND CRASHED INTO A HOUSE WHERE IT CAME TO A STOP. THE CONTACT SUFFERED INJURIES TO HIS LEFT LEG/FOOT, THE LEFT WRIST WAS SCRAPPED, THE LEFT ELBOW WAS BRUISED, AND THE RIGHT KNEE SCRAPPED WHERE MEDICAL ATTENTION WAS SCHEDULED TO BE RECEIVED BY HIS DOCTOR. NO POLICE REPORT FILED. THE VEHICLE WAS TAKEN TO GALEANA’S VAN DYKE DODGE DEALER WHERE THE VEHICLE WAS BEING REPAIRED FOR THE REAR BUMPER AND REAR PASSENGER SIDE QUARTER PANEL. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT REPAIRED AS OF YET. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOT MADE AWARE OF THE FAILURE

WHILE DRIVING ON AN INTERSTATE 5 IN WASHINGTON IN CRUISE CONTROL AT 76MPH GOING UP HILL, THE TRUCK MADE A GEAR GRINDING NOISE. I TURN OFF CRUISE AND LET THE TRUCK COAST UPHILL, THE TRUCK WAS MAKING A WHINING UPHILL. I GAVE THE TRUCK SOME GAS TOWARDS THE TOP OF THE AND AT THAT POINT THE TRUCK VIOLENTLY SHOOK, I HEARD A LOUD THUD AND SAW SPARKS FLYING FROM THE REAR END. I WAS GOING DOWN HILL BY THIS POINT. I SAW A LARGE METAL PIECE COME FLYING OFF THE REAR OF THE TRUCK. WHEN I WENT TO PULL OVER, THE TRUCK WAS HARD TO STEER AND CONTROL, THE REAR WHEELS LOCKED UP THE LAST 8-12 FEET BEFORE STOPPING. UPON GETTING OUT I NOTICED THE DRIVESHAFT DROPPED & HANGING FROM THE VEHICLE. I WAS ABLE TO FIND & PICK UP THE LARGE PIECE THAT WENT FLYING OFF. I HAD TO HAVE THE VEHICLE TOWED 70+ MILES TO MY HOME TOWN TO A LOCAL DEALER. THE TRUCK WAS PURCHASED IN APRIL 2018 AND THIS HAPPENED MID DECEMBER 2018. THE TRUCK HAD APPROX 29,550 MILES ON IT AT THIS POINT. THE TRUCK WAS BOUGHT IN APRIL 2018 BRAND NEW WITH 18 MILES ON IT. ALL MAINTENACE HAS BEEN FOLLOWED PER RAM’S RECOMMENDATIONS

Fuel System

When a fuel system works as it should, no one gives a second thought to it. When it begins to malfunction, nothing seems to work right. That’s exactly what Ram 1500 owners experience.

One reviewer wrote on the NHTSA website, “Vehicle only has 12,800 miles. 4th trip to the local dealer.3 times towed due to the disable. While driving vehicle shuts down and has no power. 1st time was informed during general maintenance the computer housed no data as the vehicle stalled when putting it into gear. The next 3 times were all identical as it is clear it is starvation of fuel. Fuel pump changed after 1st tow. Sending unit changed after 2nd tow. Not sure after 3rd tow yet. It is incredibly unsafe as the loss of power to the motor creates loss of power steering. Not to mention being disabled in traffic and the safety concerns.”

Clearly, this driver suffered some massive failures that the company should have dealt with. The owner reports issue after issue, yet nothing seems to get fixed even though the dealer keeps throwing parts at it. In service bulletins between the company and dealerships, all we see is talk about replacing fuel tanks and trouble with the fuel filler tube. Nothing else is ever mentioned; especially that resolves the above concerns. While some auto publications want to praise the Ram 1500 for its solid build and strong reputation, we have to wonder what truck it is that they actually drove. Obviously, the company didn’t give them the real truck with all of the issues or they would have listed it at the bottom of their recommendations. It’s also possible someone got paid a lot of money to talk about how great the truck is.

Here are some actual complaints logged with the NHTSA about the 2018 Dodge Ram 1500 Fuel System Problems:

TL* THE CONTACT OWNS A 2018 RAM 1500. WHILE THE VEHICLE WAS AT A FUEL STATION BEING REFUELED, THE FUEL PUMP NOZZLE BECAME STUCK AND WAS DIFFICULT TO REMOVE. THE DEALER INFORMED THE CONTACT TO CALL THE MANUFACTURER. THE VEHICLE WAS NOT TAKEN TO THE DEALER FOR DIAGNOSTIC TESTING OR REPAIRS. THE MANUFACTURER WAS NOTIFIED OF THE FAILURE AND INFORMED THE CONTACT TO CALL NHTSA. THE FAILURE MILEAGE WAS 4,600.

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