2018 Dodge Ram 2500 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Brake, electrical, fuel system, powertrain and steering issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

When it comes to heavy-duty pickup trucks, the 2018 Ram 2500 has made a name for itself. While the automaker claims owners can “outdo anything you’ve ever done” with the new lineup, the reason this truck is so well-known has nothing to do with capability, but rather defects. This truck suffers from a poor electrical system, fuel system, powertrain, service brakes and steering system.

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NHTSA Complaints for the 2018 Dodge Ram 2500

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Service Brakes
Electrical System
Vehicle Speed Control
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
Unknown Or Other
Forward Collision Avoidance: Adaptive Cruise Control
Service Brakes, Air:antilock:abs Warning Light
Power Train
Service Brakes, Hydraulic

Problems with the Electrical System

This heavy-duty model relies extensively on the need for a strong electrical system, but that’s not what owners find it’s equipped with.

Read this Edmunds review as one example. “We’ve had nothing but internment problems since we bought it. Problems include: trailer brake controller cutting power to brakes, loss of sound, seat memory, cruise control, exhaust brake, phone connection, navigation app, door locks, auto headlights, ignition. Truck has been to the shop 8 times for over 45 days total in the first year.”

While this is disturbing, what’s more alarming is NHTSA Campaign Number 18V332000, which states that the cruise control cannot always be canceled. Sadly, this problem affects nearly five million vehicles and poses a real threat. The issue stems from a short circuit in the wiring that must be repaired. Otherwise, the Ram 2500 can plummet out of control down the road. That’s certainly something most people have never done, further living up to the slogan.

Problems with the Fuel System

Whether owners are towing or hauling, it’s helpful to know that the fuel system is going to deliver the necessary power to the engine to keep the truck moving.

This NHTSA review states otherwise. “Pulled out into traffic and the gas pedal did not propel the truck and I was almost hit broadside. It’s like the gas pedal took 3-4 seconds to send fuel to the engine and caused the truck to just roll instead of propelling it down the road.”

Out of more than 140 communications among FCA regarding this truck, there’s nothing of value that can help repair the fuel system concerns. Instead, owners are left operating like a turtle when pulling out into traffic. But, slow and steady always wins the race, unless the turtle is pulling out in front of a tractor-trailer.

Problems with the Transmission

To tow and haul, the Ram 2500 must have a reliable powertrain that can handle anything thrown at it. Unfortunately, that’s not what most owners are experiencing.

One NHTSA complaint states, “New vehicle with 57 miles on odometer died while parked idling. Tried restarting vehicle, raw fuel running out of tailpipe. Towed to [dealer] for diagnosis. Found PCM bad. #7 injector being held open constantly. PCM replaced after 1 week wait for release from national backorder. Vehicle repaired and returned to service.”

This is only the start of the powertrain concerns. NHTSA Campaign Number 18V100000 states that the vehicle may rollaway on its own. This problem affects nearly 200,000 vehicles and the documentation indicates that pushing on the brake pedal while the engine is running and in Park can cause the Brake Transmission Shift Interlock pin to stick OPEN. When this happens, the transmission automatically shifts from PARK, even if the key is removed from the ignition or there is no foot on the brake pedal. Hopefully, it also rolls away slow and steady so owners have time to react before a collision occurs.

Problems with the Steering

Steering is another major concern for owners of the 2018 Ram 2500. It’s been an ongoing problem that doesn’t seem to get repaired.

Just look at this NHTSA complaint. “The contact owns a 2018 Ram 2500. The contact took the vehicle to [service center] for routine maintenance. The dealer informed the contact that the vehicle was included in the NHTSA Campaign Number: 19V021000 (Steering) and performed the recall repair. After the recall repair was performed, the contact took the vehicle to an independent mechanic to have the tires replaced and for an alignment. The mechanic informed him that due to the welding that was performed during the recall repair, they were unable to perform an alignment. The same dealer was contacted and informed him that the work they performed on the vehicle was approved by the manufacturer. The manufacturer was notified and the contact requested that they pay for the alignment due to the work performed on the vehicle. The manufacturer denied the requested and provided case number… The vehicle had not been repaired.”

It turns out that this is an ongoing problem for Ram 2500 owners. In fact, the NHTSA has opened an investigation (NHTSA Action Number: EA19004) into what’s happening with the recall repair that is causing further issues. At this time, the organization is looking into the long-term suitability of the recall remedy performed by the FCA and will update owners about the determination. It’s not often that vehicles suffer from this many recalls and then further investigations related to the recalls fixed improperly. It’s just one more way that Ram wants owners to “outdo anything you’ve ever done.”

Problems with the Brakes

With all of these defects glaring at owners, one of the most important safety systems in place remains the service brakes. Unfortunately, it’s also another system that is quite defective.

Here’s one last NHTSA review to read. “While driving to work on a state highway, the brakes on my vehicle failed. The vehicle is 10 months old and has ~8000 on it. The ABS activated while not applying the brakes. When I stepped on the brakes to slow the speed of the vehicle, the vehicle took much longer to slow down and or stop. After which, the ABS and traction control light came on. The light then began to come off and on without a pattern. The car was taken to the dealership and the ABS pump and ABS control module were replaced. This issue occurred without warning. If the conditions had been different, this loss in braking could have caused a serious accident.”

Again, the automaker fails to discuss any of the brake issues in-depth, probably in hopes of drawing any further attention to how much of a lemon this truck is. Instead, it leaves owners hanging, with multiple ways of causing an unintended collision. At this point, it might be best for customers to look for what’s already been tried and proven, rather than opting for a model that wants to “outdo” others. After all, reliable trucking is far better than out of control.

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Brian Jones

About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 30 years working as an ASE Certified Master Tech and Parts Specialist at multiple dealerships. Brian has become an authority in the industry, traveling across the country to consult for car dealerships and contributing his expertise as a writer for several major automotive publications. In his spare time, Brian enjoys working on pickup trucks, muscle cars, Jeeps and anything related to motorsports.

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  • Doug

    Have a 2018 Power wagon took it to the dealership because the transmission started dropping into 4th gear and staying their. Dealer ship where I bout the truck said nothing. Finally took it to another dealer and had them check it out. Yes the trans is bad they said. The truck was in the shop for 51 weeks. Get the truck back . Drove it for 400 miles and the ABS light comes, back to the dealership. The truck is still at the dealership for the past month and awaiting parts that are on back order. Have owned the truck for 5 years and has spent over a year in the shop. Best advice is to Dodge the RAM.

  • Larry

    Ordered 2018 DODGE RAM 2500 DIESEL TRADESMAN In APRIL 26 2018. vehicle was delivered on 10-29-2018. We first had ABS/ traction lights come on in the vehicle in July of 2022 and we took to a Dodge dealership and they could not locate any problems. We had around 40,000 miles on the unit at this time. We went out west on vacation for 3 weeks pulling our 12,000 # travel trailer with the same ongoing issues the complete vacation. We came to the Dodge dealership for a 10-12-2022 APPT to address those issues and an oil change. They inspected the vehicle for a repair bill of $10,642.00 which now had a DEF light that went on in sept of 2022 and would stall the vehicle. W e could not use till serviced we now had 51,000 miles on the unit. Bill did include two new tires/rotation and a oil change. Bill noted new Ball joints/Front Brakes/Suspension of Tie Rods-drag link-damper-center link/Actuator/Repair Ground issues/Drill DPF bolts/injector DEF pump/ and had to order Control Antilock Brake (Panel Lights) that they missed on repairs again and could not receive part till mid January 2023. We than parked vehicle again. Dealership suggested Timbren Suspension for rear($526.00) and increased Front suspension of which we completed. They had noted on repair that the Actuator front fluids looked like Pancake mix/Milk when repaired. He could not explain the reason.

  • William L

    bought 2018 ram in tennasee while paper work was being done i looked under hood and saw rodent damage to hood liner. told dealer I did not want truck. was told they were keeping my deposit. it was warranty work they would fix and deliver next day.they showed up late next day were in a hurry to leave and left. looked under hood Liner not repaired . Called dealer and they cam back and took back truck. Brought back next day. drove 100 miles stoped at light took a right and pulled on to highway excelerator quit and truck stopped then went to full throttle almost hit car in front of me.back to dealer.Nothing happened because it did not show any codes. It did it again 40 miles after leaving dealer. Had it towed to N.C. dealer, they said they could not find a problem but they had contacted factory tech who had said [quote] to just start throwing parts at it. Dodge then told me they would trade out for new truck. I hav 30 some copies of emails proving this. this truck is still at dealership in S.c. and has been for along time.FCA has told me the case has been closed and then reopened it I don’t know how many times.I had to buy a new truck [chevy this time. am out 4700 plus dollars. please help W L Stair

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