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

Electrical system, engine, fuel system, and brake issues are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners

Updated on Author: Brian Jones | Reviewer: Sergei Lemberg

When the time comes to get a new full-size truck, many enthusiasts gravitate toward the 2021 Ram 1500 for its amazingly good looks and superior powertrain options. The manufacturer claims this truck was “designed for serious performance.” However, many owners are disappointed to find a plethora of problems. Hundreds of complaints find fault with the vital components and systems needed to keep the truck running safely and smoothly. A very large number report that their vehicles stall and engines shut down unpredictably. There are also complaints that brakes and high-pressure fuel pumps fail, and the electrical system malfunctions.

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Most Common Problems

Owners of 2021 Ram 1500 trucks have been complaining to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) about ongoing issues since late 2020. In 2021 and 2022 there were more than 110 complaints each year. By early 2023, total complaints had topped 255, with engine shutdown issues constantly increasing.

In terms of numbers, more than half are filed as engine issues. But more than a third of these are also regarded by the complainants as electrical system issues. The most common problem, which involves the engine stalling and/or shutting down, features prominently in both these NHTSA complaint categories.

Other components and systems that complaints target in relatively large numbers are the fuel/propulsion system, forward collision avoidance, powertrain, and service brakes. Many of the complaints filed as unknown or other are also listed under other NHTSA categories.

There are 8 recalls including an urgent recall that states those affected must not drive the vehicle. NHTSA Campaign Number 21V037000 warns that the master cylinder push rod may disconnect from certain 2020-2021 Ram 1500 Classic SLT trucks. These trucks were built without the retaining clip that secures the master cylinder push rod to the brake pedal. This can cause the brake pedal to separate from the brake system, increasing the risk of a crash.

There is also a recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 22V767000, initiated due to fuel pump failure. Up to 60,413 Ram 1500 and various Jeep vehicles may be affected. The recall states that the high-pressure fuel pump (HPFP) may fail, causing an engine stall. This, in turn, can result in the engine stalling and will increase the risk of a crash.

2021 Dodge RAM 1500 Complaint Summary

Complaint Category Number of Complaints
Engine
190
190
Electrical System
99
99
Unknown Or Other
67
67
Power Train
55
55
Fuel/propulsion System
49
49
Service Brakes
37
37
Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
34
34
Vehicle Speed Control
22
22
Fuel System, Gasoline
21
21
Steering
18
18

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 Truck brand.

Most of the complaints filed as being engine issues are from 2021 Ram 1500 owners who have experienced their engines shutting down at a low speed for no reason.

Engine Shuts Down at Low Speed

Typically, as a Florida owner states: When it happens, the driver must stop, place the truck in Park, and restart. Sometimes it puts the brake on and shifts itself into Park when it stalls. This is “very dangerous in traffic or on train tracks. Hundreds of people are posting about the same situation and dealers can’t duplicate it.”

Reading through the many complaints, it seems to happen frequently when drivers are turning, perhaps because they are slowing down. An owner from Pennsylvania states that the “truck stalls while making hard turns, usually at slower speeds. It has also cut off while making a turn into traffic.”

Both these complaints were lodged before the HPFP recall was issued so there’s no indication if this could have been the cause. But there are similar complaints about incidents in early 2023 from owners who haven’t been notified about the recall.

For example, on January 18, 2023, a South Carolina owner’s 2021 Ram 1500 Hemi eTorque shut down while driving. “This has happened approximately a dozen times in the last year. On most occasions, this has happened within the first 5 minutes of driving.” As described by many others, “The vehicle shut off, goes into Park, and the emergency brake engages. A message appears on the dashboard indicating (the) auto park engaged. In order to get moving again, we have to start the car, disengage the emergency brake, and put the car in drive. This is a dangerous situation that will result in serious injury or worse.”

Alarming Concerns from Owner

An owner from Michigan has named his truck “Death Trap.” The Ram 1500 has been in the shop 4 or 5 times in the past year (to May 2022) because the problem has occurred at least 7 times. “My dealer representative admonishes me for being annoyed with them that they can’t find the problem, since in their words, ‘it only happened seven times’.” He describes how the truck suddenly stops, slams on brakes, and stops in the middle of an intersection, at the entrance to a multi-highway, or just out of a parking lot. His case has been escalated and he states that Chrysler, which owns Ram Trucks, has mentioned a buyback. Others haven’t been so lucky.

This is because many dealers maintain there is nothing wrong with trucks that shut down, usually because they can’t replicate the problem or identify an error code.

He challenges Chrysler “to admit, uncover, and rectify this problem before my death trap and those others out there actually cause a fatal accident.” He tells them to listen to their customers and read all the complaints on the NHTSA site about the 2021 Ram 1500  “that are exactly the same as mine.”

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Electrical System Malfunctions

There are scores of complaints filed as electrical system faults that focus on the Ram 1500 stalling and/or shutting down. The descriptions are much the same as those mentioned above. This is not surprising, since about 65% of these complaints are also listed as being engine problems as well. About 56% of the forward collision avoidance complaints are also listed under the electrical system. This also stands to reason since sudden stalling and shutdowns will put those in or around the malfunctioning truck at risk of a crash.

An owner from Maryland puts it bluntly: ”This truck is unsafe and unpredictable as it could just shut down at any time, cause an accident where people could get injured or killed.”

Other Electrical System Problems

There are other electrical system complaints too. For example, an owner from Illinois describes how his new Ram 1500 Classic caught on fire. He had pulled over because he thought the vehicle was overheating. He got out and dialed 911. “By the time they arrived my whole truck was on fire from front to back – the truck got totaled.” To make matters worse, he reports that “the dealership that sold me the truck is refusing to do anything as it was still under warranty.”

A complaint from an owner in California states that their Ram 1500 Eco Diesel stays on after it’s been switched off. Having happened several times that week, they are now too “scared to park in our driveway and garage.”

In the first 3 days of owning a 2021 Ram 1500, a North Dakota owner had the engine shut off 4 times. An error message shows that “the vehicle needs an on/off power cycle to continue. I believe the failure was caused by a loose ground wire or controller that went offline and needs a power cycle to bring all controllers back online. Safety is a concern due to the engine shutting off and needing to coast the vehicle to a safe spot if it will reach one.” At the time of the complaint, the owner was still waiting for a diagnosis from the dealer.

Fuel System Problems

A well-performing fuel system is just as important as the motor, but it appears to be equally defective. There are several issues highlighted in NHTSA complaints. One is that fuel spills (some say flows) out of the fuel lines, potentially creating a fire risk. Another is that the fuel pump fails and sends metal shavings through the fuel system. Then there’s the much-documented problem of the high-pressure fuel pump (HPFP) failing and causing the engine to stall.

Complaints

As far as the recall is concerned, some owners have experienced the problem, with their HPFPs failing. Others haven’t. Either way, by February 2023, more than 4 months after the recall was instituted, the parts weren’t available to do the necessary repair.  This is a major issue since affected owners have been told not to drive their vehicles.

An owner from Texas whose Ram 1500 kept stalling and shutting down had no joy with dealership diagnoses. Eventually, when it was just out of warranty in the first year of ownership, they agreed to replace the fuel pump if the owner paid for it. At the time of the complaint, the owner was attempting to deal directly with the manufacturer.

After an owner from Nevada’s Ram 1500 shut down in August 2022, the dealer’s service representative said it sounded like an HPFP failure. This was confirmed 2 days later. But more than a week later, the owner was notified that there were “metal shavings in the fuel lines and injectors so parts were on order. This failure sounds very similar to the HPFP recall that Ram issued for earlier Rams.”

An owner from California had a similar experience, except that the wheels and steering locked causing the driver to lose control of the vehicle. The dealer diagnosed a failed fuel pump which resulted in metal in the fuel system, but could not explain why the transmission went from Drive to Park while the vehicle was moving. “If this failure had occurred while driving at freeway speed the results would have been catastrophic.”

Problems with the Brakes

When it comes time to stop a vehicle, it’s important to have a functional set of brakes. But hundreds of Ram 1500 Classic trucks have been recalled because the master cylinder push rod could disconnect. These owners have been advised not to drive their vehicles until they receive instructions on the inspection and repair required. Although the recall dates back to February 1, 2021, the recall notice is still active on the NHTSA website. So, presumably, the issue hasn’t been resolved.

Unfortunately, an owner in Georgia wasn’t able to stop a Ram 1500 and crashed in bumper-to-bumper traffic in North Carolina. Attempting to hit the brakes, the pedal went to the floor. The vehicle didn’t stop and it went into the back of a tanker. The airbags didn’t deploy either, but the dealer’s mechanic claimed it was due to braking failure and not related to the deployment of the airbags.

An owner from California was driving down an incline when the brakes engaged without warning. There was also “an abnormal sound” coming from the vehicle. The dealer’s technician was unable to duplicate the issue so no diagnosis was made. When taken back to the dealer and test driven in front of the technician, the failure did occur. But the technician informed the owner that the vehicle “operated as intended”  and she should contact Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) for assistance. FCA told her that the feature could be “disengaged.”

Trailer Brake Controller Problems

According to NHTSA complaints, there is also an issue with the trailer brake controller. An owner from Florida states that having bought the 2021 Ram 1500 with a towing package he assumed it would be possible to tow an RV trailer. But the vehicle didn’t come with a brake controller. While the dealer had not revealed any information about this at the time of purchase, the new owner quickly discovered that the electronic trailer brake controller needed was on back order, with 450 orders outstanding. The complaint goes on to say that “I believe that vehicles, RAM Products, will hit the road with no Electronic Trailer Brake Controller, (chip problems), for many years causing many vehicles accident and deaths.”

An owner from Colorado also had trailer brake issues. “While towing a new camper, I was getting ‘trailer brake disconnected’ and ‘Check Trailer Brake Wiring’ messages. It was an “intermittent and unpredictable” issue, which the complaint states “is very dangerous, putting “my safety and others at tremendous risk.” The backup camera also wasn’t working, and the dealership advised the two issues were related. Replacing the trailer brake control module would fix the problem the dealership said. At the time of the complaint, the necessary parts had not yet arrived.

What if your 2021 RAM 1500 is a Lemon?

If you think your 2021 Ram 1500 is a lemon, the best thing to do is contact an experienced lemon law firm like Lemberg Law. Every year, auto manufacturers including FCA buy back, replace, or pay cash settlements to thousands of ‘lemon’ owners. Better still, the law makes FCA pay the legal fees.

If you’d like to pursue this idea, please call our Helpline or fill out a contact form as soon as possible.

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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25 COMMENTS
  • addie

    I purchased a 2021 dodge ram trd in 2024. Two days after purchase, and the fully paid check had cleared, my message screen said tires low. I checked them all and then filled all to the specs as required. The lights never went off. This was a weekend. Monday went back to dealer, they checked and said a wire was found to be inoperable to the monitor gauge. They fixed it and then in a few more days, the message screen said air bag was a hazard condition. do not operate. return to service center.
    The dealer checked and found a malfunctioning part under the seat that triggered the air bag warning. Fixed it.
    I see a lot of issues here that alarm me greatly, because I carry kids and elderly adults to places.
    I pray that none of these issues causes harm to anyone. the Dodge/Chrysler co. should be made aware of such problems, and use some of the millions they make to correct problems.
    …..praying

  • Disappointed o

    My 2021 RAM 1500 Laramie has been at the dealer since mid-december 2023, I’ve been told the camshaft has failed and I need a new engine but they are refusing to honor the drive train warranty even after I provided my oil change receipts. I am honestly in shock at how Stellantis treats their customers and how badly my case has been handled. I’m not sure how I am going to get this resolved but its looking more and more likely that legal action will be my only recourse.

  • Matt M

    2021 Ram oil pan rotting and a plastic tranny pan that cracks very easy – control arms rubbing against the a arm – brake eating monster !!
    I wished I never bought this fkn thing – I’m praying the ford dealer will take it….

  • Cameron

    Frustrated and very disappointed.
    I read your comments and they are very sad stories. I’m sorry but I to must add this: bought my new ram1500 extra cab brand new. Drove 1k and was at the dealership when I noticed the front bumper wasn’t chromed on the top so they replaced it but I had to get a rental.
    Then not long after the back window fell apart and had to go back and get replaced. Another rental. Then around 10k the battery just died. They replaced great. Now during this time we have been telling the dealership that we notice a clunk like if you are pulling a trailer and stop you can sometimes feel that clunk. But here there isn’t one attached. Let’s move ahead to today. We have been to the dealership 14 times in a year and a half having to pull all my work tools out of the truck and store into a rental. Not fun. I’m a handy man that does all trades and had the tools as well that I have to transfer each time.
    Now I have to hear the songs that the dealers tell me each time and it only adds to my dismay that so many people in charge of such a company like ram could be so uncaring, callous,
    I am now seeking an attorney because after all this it seems like dodge ram knew of this problem from the start and did nothing.
    But my truck vibrates at high speeds like the carrier bearing is wearing out. Along with the trailer feel. This is also being felt while in reverse.
    This was my first new car experience and it really sucked.

  • Jenn

    My 2021 Dodge ram 1500 classic just would not start one day. I tried everything I knew. My brakes have been going bad so I replaced my brakes in case it was the sensor in the brakes. The camshaft positioning sensor I thought it was that, replaced that, the key fob I’ve tried to reset the key fob I’ve tried to reset the brain the fuel pump comes on I’m just not sure why it’s not starting

  • Robert

    Have a dodge ram eco diesel 2021 with 24000 miles on it had check engine light come on told it was thermostat dealer said they fixed it. To days later check engine light came on again went back same code as before. Now back in shop for a week and I’m being told to contact manufacturer. Told they can’t figure it out. Anybody having that issue?

  • Allan

    I have a 2021 ram 1500 classic and since I’ve owned the truck for the past 8 months I’ve had the truck randomly shut off on me. The last time it did this was at 70 miles an hour on the freeway while my wife and I were driving. Ram tried to say there was nothing wrong until I pushed to be sent to buyback but I don’t expect much. This truck is my daily driver that I use to get to work and now I’m terrified to drive it

  • Dennis K

    My 2021 Ram Laraime 1500 E-Torque (32000 miles) has had the E-Torque alternator drive belt replaced 4 times and the alternator replaced twice due to the drive belt shredding. The belt is shredding once again and needs replacement.
    I purchased the truck to tow my travel trailer and we cannot use it as it is not dependable, We have been stranded twice, once in Salt Lake City and once in Reno.

  • Scott -

    Electrical issue 2021 5.7 l sport quad cab dead won’t start, continuously on charger and have to dead start every day
    Dealership acknowledges issues but local is 4 week wait for service have to drive it 100km to get service in different city….hope this is only issue with 19000km

  • Zuleyca t

    Hi..I have a 1500 dodge ram hey 6 month old…AND I JUST HAVE TO REPLACE THE WHOLE BACK AXEL DU TOO A DIFERENCIAL FEALURE.$5250……,I AM VERY DISAPPOINTED…I CALL RAM……AND THEY BASICALLY DONTCARE.I EVEN SUBMITTED ALL MY MAINTENANCE RECORD AND THEY DID NOTHING….DO NOT BUY A RAM.UNLESS YOU ARE READY TO PAY FOR THIS BIG REPAIRS COMING FROM OUT OF NOWERE.

  • Lisa R

    Parked my new 2021 Ram 1500 Laramie edition e-torque after work went out in the morning dead nothing zero electrical current. Would not take a charge had to have it towed to the dealership they stated it was a bad cell in the battery? It only had 22K on it seriously seems strange?

  • James S

    2021 Ram 1500 4X4 automatically jumped from 2WD into 4WD Low/High both and locked the park brake while going approximately 20 mph. And dealearship says they can’t find anything wrong with the vehicle at all. It’s done it 3 times now and luckily at slow speeds only. But this is ridiculous.

  • Mayra G

    Bought a 2021 Ram 1500 Limited crew cab last Sunday 4/10/22, woke up this morning and the vehicle is dead. It will not start even when we tried to charge with the cables. Front blinker is on as well as the back left blinker (will not shut off) but truck will not start. Spoke to dealership and they can’t get to it until Monday and would not give me an answer as to what they think may be wrong with it. You would think with as many problems they have they would already know they have an issue.

  • Timothy F

    I bought a 2014 ram 1500 6 years ago and have had nothing but trouble with the air suspension and now it’s been in the shop for the last 2 months and the the dealership I have it at has been giving me the run around for the last month a d a half about my driver side back air bag leaking I have had it in for that 4 times now and they ordered it it 3 and a half weeks ago it finally came in and they told us 2 different stories it had a hole in new bag when they took it out of box when they finally worked on it and the other story they told my wife was they got it all done and the bag Blu up and they have toorder a new one they argue with me all the time the air suspension has never worked rite and it’s a pain in the neck I have spent at least 6000.00 on that air ride dodge should fix it fir free or something and the dealer ship should be investigated for over charging and miss representation and living

  • Lisa R

    We just purchased a new 2021 Ram 1500 in December. Engine light went on when my husband was driving to work. We took it into the Valencia Dodge dealership 2 weeks ago. They say it is a major cylinder head issue. We are apparently 8th in line to get it fixed. It could be 3 weeks before we even get it looked at. They said they would give us a rental car for 10 days. They will give us $40.00 a day for a rental. My husband drives from Bakersfield to Santa Barbara every day for work.
    I checked Enterprise for a rental car. The small sedans are $69.00 a day. Dodge said they would reimburse us for the rental.
    Well, we had to get a car so I rented one at Enterprise here in Bakersfield last Tuesday. The car is $60.00 per day. Now I have emailed my bill for $694.13 to FCA Customer Care and they are not answering my calls. We need help. This is ridiculous.
    Do they give extensions on rentals if there is a serious problem with a new vehicle? I cannot believe the hassle we are going through for this situation. This is terrible customer service. I would never buy a Dodge vehicle again.

  • Robinson

    I am currently stranded at the super Lub because the oil will not go back into the engine. It backs up and will not pour in properly. Help!

  • Anthony C

    I have a 2021 Dodge Ram 1500 Night Edition. 14,000miles I have had this problem ever since having the truck sometimes.when I’m sitting still and takes off the truck drops down to lower gear and I’m barely moving its kind of dangerous cause I have to pull over to side and put my truck in park then put it back in drive then it’s shifting fine and ok to drive when I takes off.

  • randy

    I have a 2021 Ram 1500 Classic 5.7. I have 345 miles on it. When I back up and then put it into drive, it hesitates going into gear and if I give it too much gas too quick it won’t go into the drive gear. So I wait till it feels like it is in gear before proceeding. Only a second or 2 but still sometimes you gotta go right away so you don’t get into someone’s way. Anyone else having this problem?

  • Upset D

    13,000, miles on 2021 Dodge Ram 1500, 4×4 limited e torque engine. In a parking lot going about 8 miles per hour truck jerks cuts off and will not start . Was towed to dealer waiting for a response a day later.

  • Ben G

    Anyone have a 2021 ram 1500 , any recalls or issues known of,  today while driving to work  the check engine light popped on with battery indicator lamp bing bong bing bong… code reader shows no active codes but mil still illuminated..???

  • Vanessa F

    CA- 2021 Ram 1500 Laramie Eco Diesel purchased 10/31/2021 first started 5/2021 at 15k miles current 28k and just continued on. Truck will break and shut off while I’m driving doesn’t matter speed it just does it and it’s a major safety issue, truck won’t completely shut off at time sometimes, dash sometimes turns on in the middle of the night which triggers my security cameras at home, has trouble picking up speed, windshield cracked out of no where a month after purchase and no replacement since it was on back order, mufflers aren’t even and loose, door panels came apart within a month of purchase. I do have a case with FCA and truck has been to dealer 4 different time the last for a month and due to truck not “duplicating” and no codes they don’t know whats going on. I do have video of the incidents and still it’s like they don’t see it. I have made several complaints to NHTSA and its terrible with so many of the same complaints there still is no recall yet they just recalled 2022 Ram 1500 and 2500 for “defrost” issues and are doing a buyback since they can’t fix that apparently yet while my truck and several others brake and turn off suddenly its not a concern for RAM. How does that make sense?

  • Unhappy R

    2021 Ram 1500 Classic 4×4 Quad Cab needs new engine at 24 k .. has been running “rough” since 4 miles ..proper recommended manufacturer break in procedure followed . At 22 k cylinder head on passenger side replaced due collapsed valves.. Exhaust manifold bolts had to be cut off due to rust issues .. Radio froze up another issue .. We’ll see what happens here in the next week with the opening of a star ticket w Chyrsler

  • Joe Y

    Bought a new 2021 eco diesel , was back at dealership 3 weeks after I bought it , metal fuel shavings in the fuel system. Just got it back not even 24 hours and truck burnt down to the ground completely with fire .

  • Mike P

    I have a 2021 Ram 1500 Rebel with 2500 miles. It has cut off on me 3 times as I made a right turn onto a highway. Two of those times it placed me in a situation where someone could have crashed into me if they had not stopped. Dealerships can’t replicate the issue and have basically said it’s nothing they can do. Ram customer care and FCA state that they are unaware of such phenomena but I have informed them that all they have to donis Google it and they can see its not just me. I also informed them of the nearly 100 safety complaints on NHTSA describing identical issues. Some of which nearly resulted in a crash. I have a $65,000 truck that my family and I are afraid to drive. Please help

  • donald

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

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