2021 Dodge RAM 1500 Problems and Top Complaints – Is Your Car A Lemon?

Electrical system, engine, fuel system, service brakes, and structure issues among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

When the time comes to get a new full-size truck, many enthusiasts gravitate toward the 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 for its amazingly good looks and superior powertrain options. In fact, the manufacturer claims this truck was “designed for serious performance.” However, the owners have found it was meant to sit at the service department because of the faulty electrical system, terrible engine, malfunctioning fuel system, poorly-built structure and dangerous service brakes.

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Problems with the Electrical System

A well-functioning electrical system can make any ride more enjoyable. With that in mind, the opposite is true when there are malfunctions, as found with this 2021 Dodge Ram truck.

One NHTSA complaint says, “I was turning right, going less than 5 MPH when the truck stopped abruptly in the middle of the lane. A message came on the dash telling me to switch the shifter to park. The emergency brake was engaged automatically. I had only applied minimal accelerator and didn’t have my foot on the brake. After a few seconds, I was able to disengage the parking brake and continue on my way. This was very dangerous as there were people behind me that may not have noticed my abrupt stop after turning. This puts the safety of myself and my children at risk.”

There’s also an electrical system-related recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 21V438000. It appears that the rearview camera image might not display properly, thereby increasing the chances of an accident. Sadly, the 2021 Dodge Ram truck doesn’t need anything else helping it to collide with objects because there are already so many other faults that put people at risk. It’s better with a tagline that says something like “designed for serious headaches.”

Problems with the Engine

To be considered a powerful and capable pickup, there must be a reliable engine under the hood. With either the gas or diesel power options, there have been many complaints, causing people to trust the integrity of the Ram brand.

One Edmunds customer wrote, “Engine stalls when pulling into traffic. Been at the dealer for almost 2 weeks and they can’t duplicate it so therefore in their eyes it didn’t happen. Resolution – put a customer back in an unsafe truck that stalls without any hesitation for safety concerns. They’ve called me to pick up my truck saying nothing they can do and they don’t care they are putting their customers in a truck that could crash. I’ve seen on a forum in the past month 4-5 others with the same issue. Ram corporate and customer care backs this decision too to return me into a truck that stalls. No one cares.”

Some people thought that the newer lineup of trucks would have left engine issues in the past, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. If you remember, 2014-2019 Dodge Ram trucks were part of class-action lawsuits because of catastrophic engine fires on the 3.0-liter Eco Diesel models. Is the new lineup going to face similar lawsuits because of defects? At this time, it looks like it might be heading down a similar pathway. Maybe the new models should burst into flames like the old ones, just to help get rid of some of the evidence.

Problems with the Fuel System

A well-performing fuel system is just as important as the motor, but it appears to be equally defective.

Another NHTSA review reads, “Making a right hand turn into school parking lot at 7:11 am this morning the engine died, steering went stiff and emergency parking break set. Almost caused a very serious accident with injury’s to multiple minors. Was moving 11 MPH with my foot on the brake into the right turn, when I let off the brake the engine died. The cluster screen told me to place the vehicle into park and release the emergency brake.”

The Dodge Ram trucks brand isn’t hiding issues with the fuel system either. Service Bulletin #S2025000008 discusses the reasons why the trucks consume an excessive amount of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). Acknowledging the problem is the first step to recovery because it’s clear that drowning this truck in fluids won’t remove any of its sorrow.

Problems with the Service Brakes

When it comes time to stop a vehicle, it’s important to have a functional set of brakes. But it should come as no surprise that this system is also malfunctioning.

One final NHTSA review reads, “The contact owns a 2021 Ram 1500. The contact stated that while the vehicle was driving down an incline, the brakes engaged without warning and an abnormal sound was heard coming from the vehicle. The vehicle was taken to [dealer] where it was test driven. However, the technician was unable to duplicate the issue. The vehicle was not diagnosed. The vehicle was taken back to dealer and test driven in front of the technician and the failure occurred. The technician informed the contact that the vehicle operated as intended and she should contact FCA for assistance. The contact was informed that the feature could be disengaged.”

At least with the defective brake system, Ram issued a recall for the 2021 Dodge Ram for everyone’s safety. NHTSA Campaign Number 21V037000 states that some trucks were constructed without a retaining clip to secure the master cylinder push rod to the brake pedal. Without this clip, the pedal can separate itself from the braking system, leaving drivers unable to engage the brake. These Ram trucks might just find themselves in need of a runaway truck ramp to avoid an accident. Or, maybe the Ram pickups want to show they are like the Energizer bunnies and just keep going.

Problems with the Structure

A final glimpse into the way the Ram trucks were built shows even more serious concerns.

Another Edmunds review says, “I only have 730 miles in it and 4 months …truck is already giving issues… Ram boxes pop open… lights flicker when door opened, odometer jumps up and down… truck makes all kinds of scary noises, almost like a short is going on. I regret ignoring warnings of people telling me to stay away.”

If these issues weren’t enough, how about taking a look at Service Bulletin #S1823000029 Rev. that discusses how manufacturing issues can lead to a water leak in the carpet of both the front and rear seats. There’s nothing quite like a water-logged truck to make someone feel like they’ve gotten their money’s worth.

Your Lemon Law Legal Rights

Think you have a lemon? Sit back and let the experts work aid your lemon 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.

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About the Author:

Brian Jones spent more than 20 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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  • donald

    i have a 2021 dodge ram 1500 classic and i have not received anything about any recalls

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