11 Best & Worst Ram 2500 Years (Stats & Examples)

The leader of the body style that most pickups wear today, the Dodge Ram brand name, was first used in 1981. The newly named truck from Dodge replaced the Dodge D series.

In 1994, Dodge added the Ram 2500 to the stable when they introduced the newly sculpted Dodge Ram 1500s. It was offered with gas or diesel engines, a big truck appearance, and the rest is history.

Here are the years to look for and some to avoid when looking for a Ram 2500!

The big RAM trucks are some of the heaviest pickups.

Best years for Ram 2500

Every vehicle has years of production that are better than others. The Dodge Ram line of light and heavy-duty pickup trucks is no different.

Why they are the best years of the Ram 2500 – The test of being the best is a relatively problem-free vehicle, and winning awards doesn’t hurt a reputation.

The Dodge Ram has won the Motor trend truck of the year seven times since 2000.

The Dodge was bestowed the best pickup of the year award in:

  • 2003
  • 2010
  • 2013
  • 2014
  • 2019
  • 2020
  • 2021

Ram 2500 Years to avoid

Owners of the 2012, 2013, 2015, and 2016 Ram 2500 have had more problems than owners of other model years.

Oddly, though, some of the same Rams on the good list are also on the bad list – we’ll explain.

Why they need to be avoided

2012 Ram

this model was recalled due to faulty fuel heater connectors that would overheat. This model also had issues with the failure of the left tie rod. This failure could cause your truck to behave erratically and be very hard to handle.

Year 2013 Ram 2500 model

This model year had a major engine and electrical problems.

Year 2014 Ram 2500 model

this is another year’s model in both the good and bad categories. The 2014 Ram had 15 recalls, but the ones that stand out are the shock absorbers and the battery harness.

The transmission can be a problem in this model also.

Year 2015 Ram 2500 model

the 2015 ram has a glaring problem with the exhaust system. The exhaust fluid pump failure is the biggest offender.

Failure of this system occurs at about 40000 miles and will likely be fixed by now if the truck is still on the road.

Year 2016 Ram 2500 model

Tailgates that open and toss your stuff across the road and failure of the fire extinguisher are the biggest complaints against the 2016 Ram.

You can see all the main problems people have with the Ram 2500 here.

Generations of the Dodge Ram 2500

The first Dodge Rams were all 1500 models, half-ton pickups.

They are used by contractors for work and by others as primary transportation.

The Dodge Rams were capable vehicles then and still are today. The Dodge Ram 2500 didn’t enter the picture until 1994. Along with its barn mate, the Dodge Ram 1500, the new designs were a big hit.

The First Generation of the Dodge Ram (1980 to 1993)

The first generation was built in 1980 and sold as a 1981 model. The first Dodge Rams were available with three body styles:

  • Regular cab pickup truck
  • Extended cab pickup truck (the first model had three doors)
  • 4-door crew cab pickup truck.

Tow bed lengths were also available during the first gen of the Dodge 1500s; a short bed that was 6.5 feet long and a long bed that was 8 feet long.

The engines offered in the first generation of development of the Dodge Ram 1500 included the following:

  • 225 cubic inches (3.69 L) slant-6, inline, 6-cylinder.
  • 239 cubic inches (3.92 L) V6
  • 318 cubic inches (5.21 L) V8
  • 360 cubic inches (5.2 L) V8
  • 360 cubic inches (5.9 L) Cummins diesel, inline 6-cylinder

The transmissions were either a three or 4-speed automatic transmission or, alternately, a four or 5-speed manual gearbox.

However, the Dodge Ram 2500 didn’t enter the picture until the 1994 Dodge Ram pickup truck’s reboot.

We still see a lot of these on the road which also shows that the Ram 2500 models last a long time!

The second-generation Dodge Ram pickup trucks (1994 to 2002)

The new styles helped Dodge drive sales, and the addition of the Dodge Ram 3500 and 4500 heavy-duty pickups didn’t hurt either.

Dodge added several new engine and transmission options to this new generation of Ram pickup trucks.

  • Regular cab pickup truck, two doors
  • Club cab pickup truck, four doors
  • 4-door Quad cab pickup truck

Gone was the three-door extended cab, and a four-door model took its place. The engine options were similar, but a new 6-cylinder, 8-cylinder, and 10-cylinder engine were on the menu.

  • 3.9 L Magnum V6
  • 5.2 L Magnum V8
  • 5.0 L Magnum V8
  • 5.9 L Cummins turbo-diesel, inline 6-cylinder
  • 8.0 L Magnum V10

Transmissions included three 4-speed automatics, two 5-speed manual transmissions, and a six-speed manual.

Third-generation Dodge Ram 2500 (2002 to 2009)

This generation of the Dodge Ram offered six different engine options and ten gearboxes. The body styles for those years of production included:

  • Regular cab pickup truck, two doors
  • Club cab pickup truck, four doors
  • 4-door Quad cab pickup truck

Engines for this generation of Dodge Rams include:

  • 3.7 L Magnum V6
  • 4.7 L Magnum V8
  • 5.7 L Hemi V8
  • 5.9 L Magnum V8
  • 5.9 L Cummins turbo-diesel, inline 6-cylinder
  • 6.7 L Cummins turbo-diesel, inline 6-cylinder
  • 8.0 L Magnum V10
  • 8.3 L Viper V10

That was a lot of choices. However, the larger engines of this group are reserved for placement in the Dodge Ram 2500 and 3500 heavy-duty pickup trucks.

Several special edition Dodge Rams were built during those years, such as the “Nightrider,” which came standard with the 8.3-liter Viper V10 engine.

Gearboxes for this generation of the Ram pickup include 4-automatics, one 5-speed automatic, two 6-speed automatics, a 5-speed manual, and three 6-speed manual transmissions.

Fourth-generation Dodge Ram 2500 (2009 to 2010, 2011 to 2018)

These years got interesting, and Dodge was dropped as a brand.

Fiat bought Chrysler/Dodge/Jeep, and changes were made to every model of the brand, including the Dodge Ram pickup trucks, which became simply Ram pickups.

  • Regular cab pickup truck, two doors
  • Club cab pickup truck, four doors
  • 4-door Quad cab pickup truck (only on the 1500)
  • 4-door Mega Cab (only on heavy-duty pickup trucks)

The addition of a new body style was joined by a line of engines slightly different from the previous power used for the Ram. They include:

  • PowerTech 3.7 L V6
  • Chrysler Pentastar 3.6 L V6
  • 4.7 L V8
  • 3.0 L V6 Eco-Diesel
  • 5.7 L HEMI V8
  • 6.4 L HEMI V8
  • 6.7 L Cummins turbo-diesel, inline 6 -cylinder

The 5.9-liter Cummins diesel was dropped from the RAM 1500s and replaced with the 3.0 L Eco-diesel. The larger 6.7-liter Cummins turbo-diesel remained, however. Over 50 percent of Dodge Rams and Ram pickups were sold with diesel power over the years.

Fifth-generation Dodge Ram 2500 (2019 to current)

With fewer trim levels than previous Ram pickups, the 2019 and above trucks entered the market in 2018 as a 2019 model. There have been a few changes to the Ram 1500 during Ram’s development.

The 2023 Ram 2500 standard power is from a gas 6.4 L that drives the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Of course, you can still get a Cummins 6.4 L diesel as an option on the 2023 Ram 2500.

Which Ram 2500 generation should you buy?

The newer Ram 2500s have more of everything and higher fuel mileage. When equipped with the 6.7L Cummins turbo-diesel, your truck will have the power to tow 20000 pounds. The price of a new Ram 2500 starts at around $44,000.

To get one with a diesel, four-wheel drive, and all the bells and whistles can push the price closer to $80000.

However, when you know which models are the best, you can likely find a used Ram 2500 that has been used gently for thousands of dollars less.

What year is the most reliable Ram 2500?

The earlier years of the Dodge Ram line were best made. The 2006 to 2007 model years were also very reliable. This generation received the larger 6.7L Cummins turbo diesel, a more refined and powerful motor than the 5.9 L motor.

The 2011 and 2012 Ram 2500 were also great years for the Dodge Ram. In these, an engine brake was added to the exhaust system of the diesel-powered Rams.

An engine brake employs engine compression to help slow a truck down. This was an essential feature for those who use their Ram 2500 for hauling on the regular.

What are the most common problems with Ram 2500s?

One of the most common complaints, across all years, is transmissions. With the wide range of engines employed by Ram, the need to offer many messages is necessary. Some of these units could be better and have caused Ram 2500 problems.

How many miles will a Ram 2500 last?

There are Ram 2500s on the road that are regularly at the 350000-mile mark. However, other Rams have made it to half a million miles.

What are the closest competitors to the Ram 2500?

The closest competitors to the RAM 2500 are the Chevrolet Silverado 2500, GMC Sierra 2500, and the Ford F250.

How long do the transmissions typically last on these models?

The standard transmission on a Ram 2500 will last between 125000 and 200000 miles. However, like any mechanical part, it may not last as long and may last much longer.


Go back to overview of best/worst years for ram models.

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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.