Dodge Ram Transmission Problems

by Dennis Hartman
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The Ram is a full size pickup truck manufactured and sold by American automaker Chrysler. The Ram made its debut in 1981 ans was part of the Dodge division from its inception until 2009, when Ram became its own unique truck division. While the Dodge Ram was known for nearly 30 years as a reliable, capable truck, owners have experienced some common problems, including issues with the truck's transmission.

Types of Problems

Over the course of its production, Dodge offered several different transmissions in the Ram pickup. These included both manual and automatic transmissions. Some drivers of Rams equipped with a manual transmission have complained of the shifter knob coming loose, a transmission that leaks fluid and gears that grind easily when shifted. Problems with the Ram automatic transmission include leaking fluid, unwanted shifting between gears and abrupt automatic shifts.

Dangers and Symptoms

There are several basic ways to identify one of these Ram transmission problems. Most of the problems lead to excessive noise during shifts, often described as a clunking sound. Other transmission problems can cause a pool of fluid to develop under the truck. Poor fuel economy is another symptom of transmission problems. While most of these issues pose no serious, immediate danger to the driver, a severely damaged transmission may cause the Ram to stall in traffic, creating a dangerous situation.

Repair Costs

The cost of repairing a Ram transmission varies as much as the nature of the problem. Tightening a loose shifter or resetting an automatic transmission's electronic control unit may only require an hour's labor from an auto technician. On the other hand, more severe problems may require the installation of an entirely new transmission, which can cost upward of $1,000 installed. Small fluid leaks and faulty gears may cost several hundred dollars.

Warranty Coverage

Every Dodge Ram was sold with Chrysler's new vehicle warranty, which included powertrain coverage. This warranty is likely to cover the majority of major transmission problems that a vehicle less than a few years old is likely to experience. If an owner purchased a lifetime or extended warranty, or the dealer added one as a promotional item, the coverage may be even more complete. Be sure to check with your local dealer before ordering repairs to see whether your Ram's transmission still has warranty coverage of some kind.


The Dodge Ram has been the subject of several recalls enacted by Chrysler to address known issues. One of these recalls dealt specifically with the automatic transmission in Ram models produced in the early-2000s. The recall, issued in December of 2003, dealt with fasteners that affixed the transmission to the transfer case. Faulty fasteners created the potential of a fluid leak that could cause a gas leak and present the danger of a fire.

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