Powertrain, electrical system, visibility, and fuel system problems are among the top complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
The 2022 Ram 2500 is a heavy-duty pickup truck that continues to gain a lot of attention. After all, the automaker claims that this truck helps to “get the job done.” While it does for some owners, those experiencing problems aren’t so sure. Problems range from faulty electrics, visibility issues, and malfunctioning steering, to diesel exhaust fluid freezing in winter causing the DEF sensor to fail. There are also complaints that a recall repair of the powertrain, to prevent serious fire risk, isn’t available because of a lack of parts.
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Most Common Problems
Electrical system problems along with fuel/propulsion system issues are plaguing owners of the 2022 Dodge Ram 2500. But these aren’t the only components and systems that consumers are complaining to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) about. There are also problems with the powertrain, steering, visibility, forward collision avoidance, vehicle speed control, and the wheels of the vehicle.
Some problems are more serious than others, especially the electrical fault that resulted in a brand new Ram 2500 diesel catching alight and steering issues that caused a Ram 2500 to crash.
There are two recalls that have been initiated by Dodge that increase the risk of fire. The first, issued in October 2021, relates to an electrical short risk that may have been the cause of the fire mentioned above. The other is due to a problem with transmission fluid leaking. While more than 250,000 2020-2023 vehicles are potentially affected by this recall, owners are complaining that dealers don’t have the parts available to fix the issue.
2022 Dodge Ram 2500 Complaint Summary
|Complaint Category||Number of Complaints|
|Unknown Or Other|
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking|
Powertrain complaints to the NHTSA have escalated since December 2022. Now there are 8 in total, putting the powertrain component at the top of the list of consumer complaints.
Initially, complaints were varied. For example, the first was from an owner in Missouri who discovered his brand-new truck’s differentials were low on oil. This was an issue he’d picked up online. He reported it to the NHTSA because it “could potentially cause a crash or wheel lockup if the differential were to fail due to being low on oil!”
Another complaint, from an owner in Massachusetts, describes how the transmission malfunctioned. After releasing the accelerator pedal, “ the vehicle continued to accelerate,” the complaint states. The truck “started shuddering and the transmission failed to shift to the intended gear. There was an abnormal burning odor of transmission fluid inside and outside the vehicle. There was a message displayed that the transmission fluid was overheating.” But the dealer wasn’t able to determine the cause of the problem.
An owner in Oklahoma complains that the transmission was bypassing at intervals. Even though the truck had been to the dealership at least 6 times, they couldn’t replicate the problem. On one occasion, when the transmission shifted down, there was a loud “internal bang.” The complaint states that it is a recurring problem that must be fixed. “The Dealership has always been helpful, but Ram will only help through their Star Group. My previous Ram 2500 had the same problem, but also, would not throw a code. It was finally fixed after 4-6 visits and the shifting solenoids were replaced, which worked.”
All the other complaints relate to recall parts not being available.
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On November 10, 2022, Chrysler recalled a total of 250,079 2020-2023 Ram 2500 and 2020-2022 Ram 3500 vehicles. This was after they discovered that pressure and heat building up inside the transmission could result in a transmission fluid leak from the dipstick tube. The recall acknowledges that leaking transmission fluid can make contact with an ignition source within the engine compartment, which increases the risk of fire.
Owners were mailed on December 29, 2022, and told that dealers would replace the transmission vent assembly and dipstick free of charge.
The first complaint to the NHTSA that the parts to do the recall repair weren’t available was on January 5, 2023, from an owner in Georgia. Since then, owners from Utah, Washington, and Illinois have echoed this complaint.
An owner from a different part of Illinois complained on January 19 that their Ram 2500 had been repaired in accordance with the recall, NHTSA Campaign Number 11503142. However, after the repair, there was no dipstick to check the transmission fluid level. No resolution was reported.
Problems with the Electrical System
As a modern pickup, there should be no lack of features and capability with the Ram 2500. Yet, the electrical system is causing some major roadblocks. There’s even an urgent recall related to the electrical system. Dated October 12, 2021, NHTSA Campaign Number 21V798000 points out that the Cummins 6.7L Turbo Diesel engines might have an electrical short in a relay. This defect can cause a truck fire whether the engine is running or not. Plus, it affects as many as 131,177 vehicles. With this many defective vehicles around, it’s possible there’s one in every community, just waiting to burst into flames. Which is why Dodge urges anyone who might be affected to park outside and away from other vehicles until the recall repair has been done.
Electrical Fault Causes Fire
It isn’t clear whether this or something else caused a brand new Ram 2500 Diesel to catch fire in August 2022. The owner, from Colorado, reports that the problem started around the alternator that “made a low “whirring” or “humming” noise during a few short drives just prior to the event.” While parking the truck he “noticed smoke coming from under the hood and opened it up to find a small fire involving the alternator and extinguished it with a fire extinguisher.” The fire department ensured it was properly extinguished and conducted an investigation. But it took “three days to get the dealership to accept the truck being towed back so it can be investigated by (the) manufacturer.”
Other electrical issues relate to the blinding brightness of the infotainment screen at night and the windshield defroster malfunctioning. Both issues impact on visibility. ”
An owner from Nevada states that the infotainment screen sets the brightness to full after shifting into reverse. At night this “is blinding and causes eyesight visibility to be extremely low when looking at other views to back up like the mirrors or outside the window. This increases the risk of hitting something or someone when in reverse. Instead, the infotainment screen brightness should not change. Specifically during night time.”
An owner from Missouri complained that he could hear air coming through the vents. However, the windshield was fogging up so he could not see the roadway clearly. No warning light illuminated.
An owner from Maryland also states that problems with the windshield defroster negatively affect visibility. This seems to relate to the u-connect 5 system and 12-inch display screen that controls all radio, navigation, phone, and climate functions.
“After driving the truck for an extended period of time, the 12 inch screen will lock up and all functions are lost. I was told by the dealer to ‘reset’ the display by pressing the volume and tuning buttons simultaneously, and after that to do a ‘hard reset’ through the radio controls. This does correct the problem, but it will eventually lock up again.”
This owner contacted the NHTSA because of the implications of losing climate controls, specifically the windshield defroster when the radio screen locks. “Many times in my life I have found the need to very quickly activate the front windshield defroster to maintain visibility. I am concerned (that) if the screen is locked up, and the defroster cannot be activated, a crash may occur.”
Problems with the Fuel System
Ram 2500 owners are complaining that the diesel exhaust fluid (DEF) freezes in very cold weather. This damages the DEF sensor and causes the DEF system to malfunction. It is also a safety issue because it could result in drivers getting stranded in severe winter conditions. This would be particularly serious if there was an emergency to attend to.
An owner from Vermont states that when the DEF freezes, the sensor reads that the DEF tank is empty even when it’s full. He contacted his local dealer who “confirmed the issue and noted that it is a prevalent problem and he has a backlog of trucks with the same issue.” However, the dealer also says “that the only solution is to put the vehicle in a heated garage for several days to defrost the DEF and allow the sensor to reset.”
An owner from North Dakota has the same problem. His dealership has “explained that this is a known issue and has affected the 2019 to present model year.”
He states: “Either the DEF needs to be redesigned to not freeze or Ram needs to redesign, or go back to what they had that worked, the DEF system. This is not only an emissions issue it is also a safety issue. If the DEF system does not work, the vehicle does not meet the current emissions standards. If the vehicle goes into limp mode, you have stranded customers along (the) side (of) the road becoming a safety hazard and if the limp mode happens at highway speeds, who knows the effects on the vehicle as it slows down and creates a hazard on the highway.”
The NHTSA has only received one complaint about faulty steering, and it’s a serious one. It was filed by an owner from Virginia who was turning onto a highway exit ramp at about 60 mph.
“Adaptive steering may have caused (the) vehicle to not turn adequately and begin to go off the road. Lane keep assist failed to keep, or even attempt to keep, (the) vehicle in (the traffic) lane and on the road. Adaptive steering may have prevented corrective action to prevent (the) incident.”
Unfortunately, the truck struck a guardrail as a result of these failures, “which potentially could have been fatal. No testing, investigation, or inspection has been conducted at this time. No warnings or messages were displayed.”
Your Lemon Law Legal Rights
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