Dodge ram 1500 transmission problems

Transmission Problems in Dodge Ram 1500: A Complete Guide!

Are you experiencing transmission problems with your Dodge Ram 1500? Well, then, you’re in the right place.

Dodge Ram 1500 is one of the most popular pickups on the road, known for its strength, durability, and performance. However, like any vehicle, it is not immune to transmission problems.

Early Ram 1500 trucks between 1994 to 2000 are found to be usually more prone. Still, unexpected transmission failure is observed sometimes in recent models as well.

In this blog post, we will cover the most common transmission problems in Dodge Ram 1500 and provide a comprehensive guide on getting it fixed. [P.S. I have gone over a complete guide to maxxing Dodge Ram’s towing capacity]

From hard shifting and slipping gears to lack of acceleration and poor downshifting, we’ll discuss the symptoms and causes of these transmission issues and give you some tips on how to get them fixed and even prevent them from happening in the first place. 

So whether you own a Dodge Ram 1500 or just considering buying one, this guide will help you understand and troubleshoot transmission problems and get back on the road in no time.

But first, let’s have a little understanding of the transmission that’s in your specific truck.


Transmission found in Dodge Ram 1500 trucks.

  1. 2009-2012 Ram 1500: 5-speed 45RFE automatic transmission
  2. 2013-2018 Ram 1500: 6-speed 65RFE, 66RFE, and 68RFE automatic transmissions
  3. 2019-2021 Ram 1500: 8-speed TorqueFlite 8HP75 automatic transmission
  4. 2022-2023 Ram 1500: 8-speed TorqueFlite 8HP75 or 8HP95 automatic transmissions
  5. 2018-2022 Ram 1500 EcoDiesel: 8-speed TorqueFlite 8HP75 automatic transmission

Note: The specific transmission used in a Ram 1500 model may vary depending on the year and trim level of the vehicle, so it’s best to consult the vehicle’s manual or a dealership for specific information on the transmission used in a particular model.

Common symptoms of transmission problems

acceleration pedal
  • Hard shifting or slipping gears while driving: A common symptom of transmission problems is when the gears do not shift smoothly or easily, and the vehicle may hesitate or jerk when shifting gears.
  • Jerking or hesitation when changing gears: Another typical symptom is when the transmission struggles to shift gears, causing the vehicle to jerk or hesitate.
  • Lack of acceleration or poor downshifting: Poor performance from the transmission can cause the vehicle to struggle to accelerate or downshift, resulting in a lack of power while driving. Acceleration troubles can mean different problems too like those mentioned here.
  • Transmission not engaging properly: Another common symptom of transmission problems is when the transmission struggles to engage or may not engage at all, preventing the vehicle from moving.
  • Warning lights or error codes appearing on the dashboard: Transmission problems can often trigger warning lights or error codes on the vehicle’s dashboard, indicating a problem with the transmission. It’s a rather common and easy-to-understand sign.
  • Strange noises coming from the transmission: Unusual noises such as whining, humming, or clicking can indicate transmission problems.
  • Burning smell or overheating transmission: Overheating transmission can render a burning smell, damaging the transmission if not addressed. If you observe overheating engine then refer to my detailed guide here.
  • Difficulty in getting the vehicle out of park position: Transmission issues can make it difficult to shift the vehicle out of park position.
  • Vehicle rolling away while in park position: A defective interlock in the transmission can cause the vehicle to roll away while in the park position.
  • Reduced fuel efficiency and increased fuel consumption: Transmission problems can cause the engine to work harder, resulting in reduced fuel efficiency and increased fuel consumption.

Causes for Dodge Ram 1500 transmission problem

2018 dodge ram model
2018 Ram 1500 model. Image: UniversityDodge

Faulty parts: Often, transmission problems in Dodge Ram 1500 models can be caused by faulty or worn-out parts, such as the transmission sensor or relay. These parts can cause shifting problems and other issues if they are not functioning properly.

Improper maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial to keeping your Dodge Ram 1500 running smoothly, and neglecting to maintain your transmission can lead to problems down the road. This includes things like not changing the transmission fluid, not checking the transmission filter, or not checking the transmission mount.

High-risk of rolling away: In some Dodge Ram 1500 models, the vehicle has a high risk of rolling away while in the park position. This is caused by a faulty interlock located in the transmission.

Interlock faulty design: The interlock in the transmission can allow the vehicle to shift out of the park position, which can be dangerous and lead to accidents.

Recall related to the transmission in the 2018 model year: There was a recall related to the transmission in the 2018 model year of the Dodge Ram 1500. It was related to a faulty interlock in the transmission, allowing the vehicle to shift out of the park position.

Solutions for transmission problems

spark plug
Spark plug

Replacing the spark plugs: Although, of course, there is not a direct link between these two, complicated situations can arrive when a bad spark plug indirectly affects transmission. If the spark plugs are dirty or worn out, it can lead to transmission problems. Replacing the spark plugs is a simple and inexpensive solution that can help fix transmission issues.

Replacing the transmission sensor: Transmission sensors play a vital role in the functioning of the transmission. A faulty transmission sensor can lead to shifting problems. If your sensor looks worn out, then the chances are replacing it can help fix the problem.

Replacing the transmission relay or wire: A faulty transmission relay or wire can cause shifting problems. If it’s damaged or broken, a signal may not move and cause transmission woes. In a situation like this, replacing the transmission relay or wire can help fix the problem.

Recalls for certain model years: As we spoke of earlier, certain Dodge Ram 1500 has been recalled due to transmission problems. You should check if your vehicle is part of a recall and get it fixed ASAP.

Model years to avoid

2001 Dodge Ram 1500 model
2001 Dodge Ram 1500 model. Image: Trailbuiltoffroad

2001 Ram 1500: Many drivers reported transmission problems with the 2001 Ram 1500, ranging from slipping and hesitation when shifting gears to complete transmission failure.

2009 Ram 1500: The 2009 Ram 1500 had several transmission problems reported by drivers, including shifting issues and difficulty getting the vehicle out of park position.

2012-2016 Ram 1500: These model years of the Ram 1500 have been known to have transmission issues, particularly with shifting and poor downshifting.

2019 Ram 1500: The 2019 Ram 1500 has had many transmission problems reported by drivers, including transmission not engaging properly and strange noises coming from the transmission.

You will also want to learn about the difference between the Ram 1500 Tradesman & Express model and interchangeability here.

Over to you!

So that’s time to wrap it up! Transmission problems in Dodge Ram 1500 can be a major and expensive issue for vehicle owners. It’s important to be aware of the common symptoms and model years to avoid when purchasing a used Ram 1500. 

Proper maintenance is key in preventing transmission problems, and taking care of any issues as soon as they arise is crucial. 

In the case of persistent problems, consumers may be able to seek legal remedies under state lemon laws. 

And I hope this brief guide on the Dodge Ram 1500 transmission problem helped you understand how to get around the problem. If you have any trouble, please comment below or seek professional help.

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