2020 Dodge RAM 1500 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system. airbags and structural issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones

Among the top choices for a full-size pickup, the 2020 Dodge RAM 1500 continues to be one of the main options. It was even rated as the “Best Truck Brand of 2020” by U.S. News & World Report. However, actual owners have something else to say. In fact, this truck suffers from defective air bags, a faulty electrical system, poor visibility, a malfunctioning engine, and structural issues that cause leaks that damage it’s interior.

Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019    2021    2022

Most Common Problems

Problems with the electrical system and engine of the 2020 RAM 1500 top the list of complaints on file with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). There are also numerous issues that relate to the structure of the truck, many of which relate to leaking water that wreaks havoc with its interior and shattering sunroofs.

Airbags are also a problem, with three airbag-related recalls proving that the manufacturer is well aware of several issues that increase the risk of injury to drivers and passengers. Ironically, airbags are sometimes a victim of leaking water.

2020 Dodge RAM 1500 Complaint Summary

Complaint CategoryNumber of Complaints
Engine
73
73
Unknown Or Other
68
68
Electrical System
56
56
Visibility/wiper
38
38
Power Train
26
26
Service Brakes
24
24
Structure:body
22
22
Fuel/propulsion System
18
18
Fuel System, Gasoline
17
17
Steering
17
17

Problems with the Airbags

Air bags have become standard on all automobiles, even the cheapest on the road. By now, the system should be completely perfected, but it is not with the new RAM trucks.

One NHTSA complaint states, “Was traveling about 35 mph on a straight road, was hit by a vehicle who sped out of a side road. I was hit on the driver’s side front fender by the car, then I crashed head on into the fuel tanks of a semi truck. My truck hit the semi so hard it through my truck backwards more than a truck length. No air bags deployed.”

Further proving how defective these systems are, let’s look at two air bag-related recalls. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V374000 states that the trucks have a badly crimped diffuser in the side curtain air bag, which could inhibit inflation. Additionally, NHTSA Campaign Number 19V407000 affects nearly 300,000 vehicles and shows that the Occupant Restraint Controller flash memory might be incorrect, disabling the air bags and seat belt pretensioners. From every angle, this truck is failing occupants and putting them at risk. Yet, somehow it is the “Best Truck Brand?” Who did RAM pay off to get that honor?

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Electrical System Problems

A faulty electrical system can ruin the drive completely, from a comfort standpoint to everyday capability. That’s precisely what is seen with the electrical system in the RAM.

One Edmunds review states, “I purchased a new Ram and the Navigation system doesn’t work. All the 12″ screen Ram truck navigation systems don’t work, and they don’t inform you before you purchase it, won’t take it back, and cannot fix it. Uconnect who makes the system admits it’s a known defect and there is no fix yet. I’ve been fighting this since July and the dealer, nor Chrysler will buy the truck back. Getting a good lawyer and going after everyone who lied, didn’t divulge the truth and won’t take the truck back.”

There is also an electrical system-related recall. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V191000 says that the rearview camera can have a lingering image that distracts the driver and actually increases the risk of accidents. This recall affects more than 300,000 vehicles. Maybe it should have won the award “Best Truck Brand” that has no ability to go in Reverse safely.

Problems with the Structure & Water Leaks

Water leaks are nothing new for RAM 1500 trucks. The alarming issue is that they recur with every new model. Our post about the 2019 RAM 1500 and water leaks will give you some background.

The manufacturer’s communications on file with the NHTSA about the 2020 RAM 1500 also speak volumes. There are at least 10 of these, all of which include technical service bulletins (TSBs) instructing RAM/Dodge dealers what to do to inspect, repair, or replace affected components.

It’s important to note that it is mandatory for manufacturers to supply copies of all communications to the NHTSA. So, it’s easy for us to keep track.

The first of these manufacturer’s documents was issued on March 16, 2020, and the most recent, on March 4, 2022, more than two years later. Clearly there is a major problem. Also, the water is going everywhere. The titles of manufacturer’s documents speak for themselves:

  • Water Leak Carpet Wet At Front And Or Rear Seats (twice)
  • Water Leak Rear Of Cab Rear Seat Or Headliner (twice)
  • Water Leaks At Sliding Backlite
  • Water Leak At A Pillar Onto Floor
  • Water Leak On Sliding Rear Window Or Back Of Cab
  • Water Leak At Headliner Near Driver Microphone
  • Water is leaking into cab through the third brake light CHMSL (twice)

Similarly, owners of these trucks report water leaking in from various places and causing widespread damage. So, let’s have a look at a few of the complaints made to the NHTSA.

NHTSA Complaints

“Potential ‘Black Mold’ health exposure due to faulty construction/design/product allowing water to leak into the cab soaking and staining headliner, seats and rugs. The water is absorbed into the insulation and fabrics. Research has confirmed this issue has been reported for more than 15 years.”

“Rear windshield surround cracked. Water is entering (my) vehicle. Concerned about excessive moisture in and around airbags.”

An owner whose warranty has expired tried to claim insurance. But the insurance company blames the manufacturer. “Rear window crack – leaks water into the floor and damages the auto receiver. The vehicle will not start and keys are not operational. Insurance company will not cover and warranties will not cover damages. Insurance company believes it is a design safety issue and needs to be looked into since there are ample complaints on the internet.”

Problems with Visibility

Where visibility is concerned, drivers need to be able to see from every angle behind the steering wheel. But this is just another source of complaint.

One NHTSA review says, “My brand new 2020 Ram 1500 Laramie Sport is equipped with tilting down driver/passenger side mirrors when in Reverse. The problem is when they tilt down, they tilt down so far that it is out of my view. I utilize this feature for backing into my garage, on side on my boat, where space is very limited. I actually have inches on both sides of the truck. After spending big money on my new Ram 1500 2020 Laramie Sport, I expect all of its features to perform as described, and expected. After talking with the salesman who sold me the truck, he explained this is a known problem in the Ram community on these new 2020 vehicles. Knowing this, it frustrates me even more that I was never informed of this information prior to making the purchase. This problem should be fixed immediately.”

Aside from this concern, there is also trouble with the windshield wipers. NHTSA Campaign Number 20V208000 says that more than 400,000 vehicles could have windshield wiper arms that loosen on their own, causing the equipment to stop working. If this happens when it is raining, drivers are in real trouble. Maybe if owners just don’t back up and don’t travel in inclement weather, this could be the Best Truck Brand after all.

Engine Problems

Above all, a high-quality full-size truck needs to have a powerful engine. While one would think that the “Best Truck Brand” would also have an exceptional motor, that simply isn’t the case.

Read this Edmunds review for more information. “There are many things about the RAM 1500 Hemi that I like, however all of that is over shadowed by the fact that this engine has major problems with exhaust manifold bolts breaking. I was told it has to do with towing by the dealer and even RAM. We bought it to tow a small horse trailer and one horse, about half of the weight of the advertised towing capacity. I am now on my 3rd, yes third set of broken exhaust manifold bolts. First 2 were covered under warranty, now I have to pocket. RAM offered to pay half of the cost and told me this is a one time only offer, do not contact them if it happens again. They know there is an issue with these engines. I was told by the dealer the kit to fix it would take care of the problem, well it keeps happening. I would highly advise to look elsewhere or go for the diesel if you plan on hauling anything other than some 2×4’s and mulch in the Hemi.”

Among these concerns, Service Bulletin #08-033-20 also calls out trouble starting the engine. Apparently, the ground wire to the engine block can fail, which can lead to this intermittent problem. What part of this truck actually works the way it was designed? At this point, the Little Tikes truck might deserve better ratings.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work out your lemon case at no cost to you. The law makes Dodge pay legal fees. You may be able to get your lemon out of your life. Every year, auto manufacturers buy back, replace or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners like you.

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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23 COMMENTS
  • Damon

    I’m selling my Ram tomorrow morning. I’m very sad. I have been a Ram/Dodge truck owner for 30 years, and I got my dream Ram 1500 Rebel in 2020. I’m crushed. I had the rear window, rear brake light and the shark fin all leak. The window frame cracked. Water all over the back and inside of the truck, and it shorted out the RF module. This caused the truck to be totally inoperable. All this at 40,400 miles. I’d have to get the whole back window and seal replaced, and I have no confidence that this will fix it. Why replace a thing that breaks with the same thing?. I’m buying a Toyota. I was told someone from the maker will call me, still waiting though. I saw the class action lawsuit that just got dismissed, so I wrote to the court there and told them they are wrong. I checked with the lawyer in Michigan and would sign on to any new class action lawsuit. But… I can’t keep it. I have no confidence in my perfect truck I had been wanting for years. Toyota will give me a lifetime power train and 144000 miles bumper to bumper. Sorry Ram, you can’t be my dream truck. I’m really going to miss you.

  • Michael W

    Had my Adaptive Cruise Control runaway today and could have killed me and my family! Had to brake and put in neutral to stop the issue, was quite scary…. Was driving with Adaptive Cruise Control and out of the blue all the service lights came on the the gas pedal stopped working. The Cruise Control WOULD NOT CANCEL no matter what I did (neither the brake or the 3 ways you can do it on the steering wheel) I had to hit the brakes and go to neutral and pull off on a sandy causeway. Adaptive Cruise was working still as after I would brake, it was accelerating but the steering wheel controls stopped doing anything. I pulled off the highway and turned my 2020 Rebel OFF and then back on and now I have a check engine light. Aside from that it now seems to be driving normal. Just got the Truck and have been a bit of a nightmare. 6th trip to try and get my Ram Box fixed next week as soon as the dealer calls me back, they apparently have the part now (2nd time). I also noticed my passenger brake light stayed on. But this today as we were coming home from the beach was scary. I was driving on some bumpy sand on the causeway just a few mins earlier. Only thing I could think of is the battery coming loose or a sensor getting wet or something. The only way to stop Cruise Control was to shut off the truck. The truck has 31k Miles 2020 Ram Rebel with the safety package.

  • Steve B

    2020 ram big horn hemi 5.7 purchased in July 2020. Had to replace rear shocks (leaking) at 12000 miles had to have new heater core and driver side head gasket replaced at 36500 had to have timing case redone (leaking oil) 37900 miles and now tailgate latches have to be replaced at 39300 miles. In all my years of owning did I ever have to do so much work on a vehicle this early in my ownership. I usually run my vehicles for 250000 miles. Not sure this one will make 50000

  • Andy

    I have a 2020 RAM 5.7 bought it new. It has 48000 miles, I have always noticed a slight coolant smell after driving every once in awhile. I could never find a leak. Until last week, then had a large amount of coolant under truck. Turns out it’s coming from head gasket.
    I called two dealerships, both said it may not be covered under my 5 yr 60000 mile warranty. Of course told them it indeed would be, or I would get a lawyer, now refuse to do repairs.
    I found a third dealership, scheduled a appointment and will argue the warranty after the fact this time…UNREAL!

  • William W

    I have 2020 Ram Laramie Sport bought new had it into South pointe Chrysler Dodge in Tulsa, Ok. Having issues with it not starting for days then starting may go week then not start again. Brake pedal is hard and stiff when won’t start had dealer check first time said it was battery well that wasn’t true had it checked before taking in but they insisted $350 for new battery it fixed nothing took in again a week later they said push button switch had several codes showing instead of replacing it they cleaned it said that should fix it it didn’t took it back again service manager checked battery they installed it was a year old new battery they put in they said not battery nothing fixed when cold out truck did same thing took back in now they said it was a faulty taillight wanted $1500.00 to replace taillight said it was shorted out extended warranty said they won’t cover that it’s a factory defect and dealer wouldn’t fix it out of warranty so I had to pay out of pocket but (not true) light not problem I bought brand new OEM taillight myself replaced it did not fix problem still off and on may or may not start not reliable taking to another dealer to find real mechanics took in 3 times they want to charge for each mistake they make in diagnostics to fix problem costing consumers thousands of dollars and never fix the problem it’s insanity. They built the trucks they know the defects and play stupid about them and charge consumers and Dodge knows of defects. I still have same problem today has not been repaired.

  • Terry S

    I have a 2020 Dodge Ram Rebel. Today driving down the highway my back glass in the middle exploded inward. It looks as if there was an issue with the internal defrosting system in the glass that when investigating appeared to be melted or burnt.

  • Robin

    Bought a 2020 DodgeRam Big Horn 4×4 in Oct,2020 it nows has 9,000 miles on it .The tuck has broke down 5 times now , had throttle positioning sensor faulty message along with check engine light , traction control all light up first time when truck died , second time cam sensor relay , check engine light , a lighten bolt , and truck died, And it happened again after four trips to dealers , of course first thing they do is erase codes then try to duplicate , then cant duplicate them , then gives truck back and it breaks down a week later . Finally dealership says cam bent ,lifters bent , and head damaged on one side of engine . Think it time for new motor ,not try a fix one side of motor

  • GRAHAM V

    I have a 2020 ram 1500 limited, the first of alot of issues is the dash leather bubbling up, the wood on steering wheel turning orange, the wheels corroding, the ramboxes warping and lastly the back window leaking through a Crack, I took my truck in to the dealer, August last year, nothing happened, I took it back February this year, they said they ordered parts, kept the truck for a month, nothing happened, I got the truck back and kept calling, they said parts were on order, well I finally called Ram up and said I want to start a lemon law case, I told them what happened and they called the dealer, they called me back and said non of the parts were on order, well they took care of it and in two weeks the part were there, go figure, I am worried something else will go bad now.

  • Brian f

    Great truck I bought it new in 2020 Dodge Big Horn with a 5.7 hemi never had one problem with it never ever took it to the dealer for the oil changes I’ve done it myself couldn’t ask for a better truck

  • Bryon v

    2020 ram 1500 big horn cv shafts keep failing, taking it to the local dealership for the 3rd time in less than 6 months

  • MICHAEL E

    Having trouble fueling the truck. The gas pump continual clicks off while fueling. It has been at the dealer 3x and still not fixed. Evaporative emissions system issue and they cannot seem to fix it!!!

  • Donnie R

    2020 Ram 1500 Sport, 26000 miles and now it won’t start. Started with once or twice a year just shutting down while driving. Now it won’t start at all. Going to shop tomorrow.

  • garland l

    bought a 2022 ram truck 2 days ago its only getting 14 to 15 miles a gallon on high way 5.7 hemi torque runs on gas doing 65.love the truck but might have bought a hummer for that miles

  • Jeff h

    I bought a 2020 dodge Big Horn quad cab after about a week I smell antifreeze all the time took it to the shop they replaced the thermostat did test on it said it’s fine every time I get out of it a small and a freeze then I started noticing in the rain my Speedometer was getting really bright and we go down really bright and go down one day I pulled into work my coworker said one headlight came on the other one on they both went off and they both came back on they replace the computer brought her home for a week then my tag lights wouldn’t go out they told me to unplug them took it back to the dealer nothing now I’m waiting to go back to the dealer for an appointment and we had a big rain storm in the back windows leaking I’m not a happy camper

  • Sorry b

    Mines a 2020 limited with all the bells and whistles, currently at 12000 and (knock on wood) so far it’s been a great truck. I’ve read about all the problems people are having with them and so far It’s good, well except for the rear view mirror folding down to much to back up and the annoying lane assist keeps shutting off every 3 minutes. Besides that I love it.

  • elissa s

    Not happy with my dodge 2020 rebel black out addition as it has many problems especially the sunroof and when starting the truck it keeps blinking as well as the scratch and dent protection plan seems to be a lie right there

  • Tammy

    We bought a brand new 2019 Ram3500 dually December 2019. Started having problems in June 2020 and after 3 months back at the Dodge house we got it back from having the fuel system replaced because metal shavings getting in it. Now here we are June 2021 its back at the Dodge house from transmission failure. Already been there 2 and a half weeks and they are still trying to figure it out!!!

  • Neale. H

    I bought a 2020 Ram laramie in August 2020. Great truck. I was forced off the freeway in a construction area. I hit 2 traffic signs a concrete drain and a bridge footing. Did 18,000 in damages to front end. Hit every thing at between 60 and 65 mph. Not a peep out of air bags any where. Not happy about useless air bags. .

  • Concerned C

    I bought a 2020 dodge bighorn used from a dealer on Feb.01, 2021 (02-01-21). Truck is under manufacture warranty with
    41006 miles when bought.
    -On Apr. 08, 2021 (04-08-21) I had #6 injector fail, (dealer replaced)
    -On Apr. 20, 2021 (04-20-21) I had #3 injector fail,
    (dealer replaced)
    -On May,10, 2021 (05-10-21) I had #1 injector fail,
    (This time I called corporate and started a case number and request all injectors to be replaced/ dealer replaced all injectors)
    – I have my fingers crossed its fixed

  • Greg s

    Well I bought my ram in January 2021 it was a limited 2018 we were driving home from a short drive loved it to the max it burnt to the ground on Good Friday so now we are trying to get our insurance back it was a 3 litre diesel

  • MikeinSonoma

    In reference to the 2021, I have the V6 semi highbred 1500 Rebel and 1000 miles on the truck, first I’m getting about 13.5 miles to the gallon, driving it carefully 2/3 of that country driving.
    My complaint would be what they call lane keep, coming from my 2017 Ridgeline with lane keep… Ridgeline was a PlayStation, RAM is pong. All the technology is their, cameras, control of the steering wheel, but all it does when it sees the line is turn the vehicle toward the other line and pink pong you back-and-forth until the truck rolls, I assume. It has nothing to do with keeping you in your lane. The four your old technology in the Ridgeline, wiggled the wheel if you started crossing the line otherwise it used a little finesse to keep you centered. This is an expensive option in the RAM that you end up turning off because you feel like you’re fighting it’s over correction all the time.
    My Ridgeline and this RAM,!both were made in America, the problem seems to be with the companies not the workers.

  • Willie j

    I have a 2014 limited ram 1500. With air suspension problems . Dealer doesn’t seem 2b able 2 deflates on its own 4 days 2 weeks @ a time. Reinflates on its owe & maintaining ride ht. Intermittently 4 2hr-2days or 2 weeks. Contacted NHSA.

  • Robert B

    Was any of this fixed in the 2021 Ram 1500 Laramie’s? I am looking at the Ram 1500 and the Ford F150. Towing a 4000 lb. Boat and Trailer. I really like the Ram, but not after reading about these issues.

    Ford or Ram????????

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