Ram Promaster Problems: 5 Common Issues (Explained)

The ProMaster is a top choice for personal use, business, or even a hybrid of the two.

We already looked at how long the Ram Promaster models typically last, and now we’ll turn to some of the most common problems owners experience. 

Some people have even converted their ProMasters into camping vans that are suitable for nomadic lifestyles.

While this vehicle is a hot commodity, it isn’t perfect, and there are some common issues you should be familiar with before purchasing one (or a fleet of them) for yourself or your business.

The Dodge Ram ProMaster is a van that was thoughtfully designed to carry people and cargo.

Boasting an impressive maximum of 131.7 cubic feet of cargo space, and a cargo length of seven feet and three inches, it’s sure to give you all the space (and then some) that you need.

Squealing Brakes, or a Squealing Noise

Especially common in the 2014 model, it seems as though the brake system isn’t quite up to par with many other fresh-off-the-factory-floor makes and models.

It makes sense that the 2014 model receives the most complaints; it is the first and oldest ProMaster that Ram released.

The average consumer notices this issue right from the start, when the van is a young 436 miles along. Some said the noises began immediately off the lot, while others say the noises didn’t rear their ugly heads until closer to a 500-mile odometer.

The front brakes appear to screech first, later followed by the back set.

Possible Causes and Solutions

While Ram and their Detroit division are aware of the issue, it doesn’t seem that there is a factory solution just yet, and a recall has not been issued.

The best fix for squealing brakes is to replace the pads and rotors on all four wheels, even for those not yet making a noise.

Calipers may need to be adjusted or replaced too. While pads and rotors are usually the issue, and therefore should be checked and replaced first, the calipers are also relatively common of an issue.

Blind Spot Monitoring System Malfunctions (Part of the Lane Departure Software)

The system has been known to power off or restart while in use, which is frustrating and annoying to many.

There doesn’t appear to be a rhyme or reason for the shut downs, all users know is that they are intermittent, happen at any variable speed, and at any time.

Possible Causes and Solutions

At this time, most people who have encountered this issue are dealing with it as is. Since it is nearly impossible to replicate the problem, and it happens infrequently, it has been difficult to diagnose and correct.

Update the software as updates become available, and make sure you keep yourself in the habit of manually monitoring the traffic around you, and keeping tabs on where your blind spots are in the ProMaster.

Parking Brake Failure

The ProMaster has been known to have issues with the parking brake.

Either is wont engage, or it locks and refuses to unlock. Some users report that the initial problem is followed by the latter, all in one day.

Since the ProMaster has an automated manual transmission, it is not possible to leave your van in gear while parked on a sloping hill.

Users had to manually chock the wheels with plastic wheel chocks, wood, or cinderblocks.

Possible Causes and Solutions

The only known solution for a failed parking brake is to replace the entire braking system.

Most dealerships and mechanics charge at least a thousand dollars for this fix, sometimes more.

Headlight Bulb Blow Outs

There appears to be a wiring or fuse issue when it comes to the ProMaster’s headlights. ]

The headlight bulbs, especially on the driver’s side, burn out frequently.

Drivers are replacing these bulbs as frequently as every 6 months or every 5,000 thousand miles.

Possible Causes and Solutions

Upgrading to higher-quality bulbs does not solve the issue.

1. Some people have found success replacing the headlights with after-market options, while others claim that this didn’t fix anything.

This is most likely the result of a faulty fuse or wiring setup. It may be worth checking the fuse or replacing wires.

Changing the light bulbs is a time-consuming task because the headlight internals is not easily accessed, which is why this faulty issue has become such an annoyance for ProMaster owners.

2. If neither of the headlights is functioning, check for the power on the vehicle, and make sure that your battery is properly hooked up.

It is possible for the electrical harness to come loose and slip off of the terminals of your battery.

It is also possible that both bulbs just happened to blow at the same time, so see if replacing the bulbs solves your issue.

3. If the low beams or high beams are not functioning, it could be because of burned-out bulbs, poor adjustment, a bad switch, or a faulty relay.

If replacing the light bulbs don’t solve the issue, make sure that the headlights are aligned and adjusted to be functional. One of the best ways to make sure that the headlights are aligned correctly is the park facing a garage door, and switch through the headlight settings.

The lines on your garage door, so long as your driveway is level, will show you how correctly your lights are aligned.

If the headlights are properly balanced, replace the switch.

If the switch doesn’t correct the issue, replace the relay.

If the headlights are still functional but appear dim, you most likely have foggy lenses, decaying headlight bulbs, or a charging system failure.

1. Clean the lenses properly, and with care.
Make sure to change the light bulbs during this process too; it is tedious and time-consuming to access the inner workings of ProMaster headlights. It’s wise to take advantage of your position and access to the headlight when you can.

2. If that doesn’t correct the issue, you should repair or replace the charging system. Sometimes swapping out the battery is enough, other times, you may need more extensive work on the charging system.

General Pros and Cons of the Dodge Ram ProMaster Van

Let’s dive into the overall pros and cons

Pros of the ProMaster

1) So Much Incredible Space

With nearly 463 maximum cubic feet and a minimum of six feet three inches cargo width and up to thirteen-foot long cargo length, this van offers unbelievable amounts of space. And tall people may rejoice because it has a maximum cargo height of six feet and five inches tall.

Your van sizing options are:

  • 8′ Cargo Length, for 259 maximum cubic feet, a 5’6″ cargo height, and a 6’3″ cargo width. Available in the standard roof only.
  • 10′ Cargo Length, for 304 maximum cubic feet, a 5’6″ cargo height for the standard roof, or 6’5″ for the high roof, and a 6’3″ cargo width.
  • 12′ Cargo Length, for 420 maximum cubic feet, a 6’5″ cargo height, and 6’3″ for the cargo width. It is only available in the high roof option.
  • 13′ Cargo Length, for 463 maximum cubic feet, a 6’5″ cargo height, and 6’3″ for the cargo width. It is only available in the high roof option.

While additional space is important to most people, Van-Lifers appreciate all this space even more. Since the van is so wide, it is easy to fit a bed in widthways, giving users more convenient layout options.

The walls are straight too, which makes it easy to add shelving. This is ideal for contractors, movers, and business-purposed vans.

Because the van can be extra long and wide, the roof is naturally larger too. You’ll be surprised with how many tools and accessories you can safely store on top.

2) It’s Easily Accessible for All Purposes

The side doors are sliding and offer up to 49 inches of loading space and will accept a full-size pallet.

The rear doors swing open to 260 degrees, almost touching the van’s exterior sides. This gives you sixty inches of width to load and unload your van.

Best of all, the floor sits 21 inches off the ground, making it easy and nearly effortless to load. Because it is front-wheel drive only, all of the driving components are located at the front of the van under the hood.

There isn’t an axle that has to run to the back set of wheels, which makes it easy for this design to sit close to the ground with a safe and desirable low center of gravity.

3) Low Center of Gravity

A lower center of gravity, one of the side effects of having low ground clearance for easy loading, makes the van safer to drive, especially when you consider speedier turns.

When combined with the low-sitting rear axle, this van is unlikely to ever become high-centered.

Should you ever find yourself on a muddy backroad with deep ruts, you’ll be relieved to know that becoming high-centered is not likely.

4) One of the More Affordable Van Options

The Dodge Ram ProMaster is one of the most accessible vans on the market, running several thousands of dollars cheaper than the majority of the competition.

5) It is Easy to Source Replacement Parts and Repairs

The ProMaster shares nearly every component, including the engine and transmission, with most other recent Dodge, Ram, Jeep, and Chrysler models.

It is cheap and easy to maintain and repair, and it is not difficult to find a knowledgeable repair person when that time comes.

Cons of the ProMaster

1) Less Ground Clearance

While it is convenient and safe to have such a low-sitting van, this means there is a compromise in ground clearance.

If you need to go off-road, or on otherwise uneven terrain, it will be more difficult to drive. It’s easier to damage or completely destroy the bottom of your ProMaster, especially with oversized rocks, timber, potholes, ditches, or even crossing wildlife.

Additionally, these vans are not available in all-wheel-drive. This makes sense because of their intended purpose and design, but it can be frustrating at times.

Still, a good set of tires will do a surprising amount of good, and can make it easy to handle even on questionable surfaces such as snow or ice.

Because it is FWD only, steep inclines with loose gravel or dirt is tough for the van, and you may not be able to drive up all roads or driveways.

Air down your tires, shift more weight to the front of the van, and use some speed and momentum if you want to make it up that steep grade.

2) Minor Interior Inconveniences

  • The steering wheel only has one locking position, it may leave you wishing for better adjustability.
  • There is a divider that rests just behind the driver’s seat, and it makes it difficult to slide your seat backward. Taller people who want more distance between themselves and the wheel and pedals may not like this design.
  • The front windows do not roll all the way down. About 25% of the window stays up.
  • The cup holders are on the floor, not at hand level. It is a minor inconvenience and distraction to set your beverage down while driving.
  • The driver’s seat is ridiculously uncomfortable. The seat is stiff, with no lumbar, no electronic adjustments, and very few manual adjustment options. While it is easy to get in and out of your seat, it is clearly not intended for longer trips.

What Do The Reviews Say About the Dodge Ram ProMaster?

“Amazing little van can fit lots of tools and supplies and easy to park. I enjoyed the get up and go of the van. I do construction in the city and it’s probably the best choice I have made.”

This reviewer gave ProMaster five out of five stars for interior design, performance, value for the money, exterior styling, and reliability. They reserved their only four out of five star review for the overall comfort of the van.

Cars.com

“Just replaced my 2014 ( only 30,000 miles ) with new 2019 Promaster. In 5 years couple factory recalls and problem with key fob – fixed under warranty. Using for construction business and camping. Love great turning radius and decent off road capability.”

Edmunds.com

 

Resale Value (for a 2021 Dodge Ram ProMaster)

Years Old Mileage Price ($)
1 (reselling in 2022) 12,000 $25,893
2 (reselling in 2023) 24,000 $25,696
3 (reselling in 2024) 36,000 $22,976
4 (reselling in 2025) 48,000 $21,038
5 (reselling in 2026) 60,000 $18,634
6 (reselling in 2027) 72,000 $16,416
7 (reselling in 2028) 84,000 $16,230
8 (reselling in 2029) 96,000 $13,298
9 (reselling in 2030) 108,000 $12,301
10 (reselling in 2031) 120,000 $12,021

 

Sources

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