Huge win for car owners! All TSBs to be made public. The Center for Auto Safety just made the NHTSA (US Government) make public the full text of all TSBs from now on. They are the same organization that has petitioned the NHTSA & filed lawsuits to protect car owners over exploding gas tanks & other major safety issues. Whenever you drive in your car, you are safer thanks in part to a lot of work over the years by this small but very effective consumer advocacy group.

Please take a moment & say thank you by donating $5 or whatever you can to the Center for Auto Safety.


pretty bad
Typical Repair Cost:
Average Mileage:
83,388 miles
Total Complaints:
75 complaints

Most Common Solutions:

  1. should recall (33 reports)
  2. recall-new paint job (18 reports)
  3. should have new boxsides installed by dodge (14 reports)
  4. not sure (10 reports)
2003 Dodge Ram 1500 body / paint problems

body / paint problem

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2003 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments (Page 3 of 4)

« Read the previous 20 complaints

problem #35

Feb 152011

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 96,000 miles


I have taken very good care of my truck and it has rarely seen any mud in it's lifetime. One day I was washing my truck just like I always do when I saw a bubble in the paint on the driver side rear fender. The paint bubbled right off and the bare metal was showing. I bought some touchup paint from Autozone and filled in the hole but soon after I noticed rust bleeding out. This is absolutely rediculous because I haven't even paid off my truck and it's already rusting. I hope there is a law suit and a recall soon.

- , Vincennes, IN, USA

problem #34

Jan 012011

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

as my dodge ram began to rust around the wheel wells, i wanted other makes and models of similar age to do the same thing. its not cool that people say its rusting cause its a dodge.. but its true. it is rusting from a poor design. and i see most other dodge rams from my era doing the same thing. this sucks. 2000 dollars was the best and only price i got to fix it. included new wheel arches and hours of body work. most other body shops say new bedsides... and wont even dare tell you how outrageous they cost. i'm really disappointing with dodge for this. i stick up for that company through all odds against anyone but i've come to realize its just so i don't feel stupid for buying one. a recall would be nice for a paint job. as well as the clear coat finish on my hood practically just washing away leaving nearly a square foot of ugly white spots in three perfectly symmetrical and predictable spots. tell me you know what i mean.

- , Great Barrington, MA, USA

problem #33

Sep 262011

Ram 1500 Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 79,000 miles

Paint has bubbled around each rear wheel well. Very disappointed with Dodge.

If this is never going to be supported by the manufacturer then I will never buy a Chrysler vehicle again.

- , Holland, PA, USA

problem #32

Jun 202010

Ram 1500 Hemi

  • Automatic transmission
  • 76,000 miles


Over a year ago big bubbles of rust appeared around the rear wheels and near the bottom of the rear fenders. It's rusting from the inside - under the paint!

- , Pulaski, WI, USA

problem #31

Mar 012003

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 85,000 miles

click to see larger images

rust and corrosion rust and corrosion

2003 DODGE RAM 1500 85000 MILES Never drove in the snow that we get once a year. Very well took care of. Have rust growing from the inside out on rear fenders! Kills the resale value.

- , Muskogee, OK, USA

problem #30

Jun 032009

Ram 1500 5.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 100,000 miles

I have a 2003 Ram 1500 Quad Cag 4X4. I bought it new in 2003 it has been a great truck for driving, towing my boat. It has been mechanically sound but the exterior is disappointing to say the least. i always kept my truck clean and proud to drive but I am embarrassed to be seen driving now with all the RUST! I would sure like to think it wouldn't rust out in less than 8 years. This is my first Dodge but I would sure be hard pressed to buy another. I just wish that Chrysler would pull up to the pump and make things right.

- , Carlisle, IA, USA

problem #29

Mar 072011

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 125,000 miles


I noticed the bubbles popping up around the drivers side fender last year, this March it started peeling off, it made me sick to my stomach. Such a nice looking truck, its just not right. I talked to a co-worker who has a 2004 and it has started on his, he felt the same way I did when he saw it in his truck. I have always kept it clean and shiny. I think with all the similar problems I have been reading here that this is a defect and think Chrysler should fix it. I paid 31,000 for this truck in 2003, if anyone knows what can be done please let me know. They have made a lot of money off of these trucks and I don't think it's right that they shouldn't fix it.

- , Bristol, WI, USA

problem #28

Jun 012010

Ram 1500 SLT Hemi 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 67,000 miles

Only owner of 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 noticed a FEW bubbles over rear wheel wells then it progressed to SEVERAL and they are now popping and have rust very annoying as we take extremely good care of our truck my truck only has 89,000 miles on it!!!

- , Nashua, NH, USA

problem #27

Apr 162011

Ram 1500 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 135,000 miles

Only owner of my 2003 Dodge Ram 1500 4.7. Noticed paint bubbling above rear wheel wells last year. Paint has started falling off, revealing rust below. Independent body shop was not surprised to see this on a Ram. Cost me $1169 to fix both sides by having metal cut out/rewelded and repainted. Not happy at all to have to do this to a truck wiht 135k, but it's been good to me other than this.

- , Osceola, IN, USA

problem #26

Apr 012006

Ram 1500 LX 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 102,526 miles

all complaints of this problem start with same symptoms in the same place at about same age .I really think this is a monufactuerers default

- , Simcoe, Ontario, Canada

problem #25

Jul 222009

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 88,000 miles


I have a dodge 2003 ram 1500 4.7 bought brand new. Water started coming into the interior through the upper door handle on drivers side when it rained. Few months later passenger side started to leak. Noticed top of windshield has groove going all the way across, no weatherstripping. On both corners it was rusted out and of course both rear wheel wells are rusting out. Dodge should fix this problem. Never buy Dodge again!

- , Brunswick, OH, USA

problem #24

Dec 072010

(reported on)

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 60,200 miles

I have been doing autobody for almost 30 years and have never seen holes rust right through and paint blisters as bad as fast as on my 2003 dodge 1500, I took the truck back to the dealer and was told it wasnt covered I then took the truck to several bodyshops and they all confirmed what I thought the ploblem was little or no primer before it was painted. dodge should fix the problem I for one will never buy a piece of sh*t dodge again this isnt the only problem Ive had with it but dont have enough time to get in to all the other things

- , Port Byron, NY, USA

problem #23

Mar 072009

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 103,000 miles

I might have been a little more fortunate than some of these other complaints as far as mileage gone by, but I have tried to maintain my truck the best I could, but just like all these others I too have the same problem. I bought this truck brand new in Oct. 2002 (It is a 2003) and from the very start I have maintained everything myself. I started noticing the bubbles around the crest of the wheel wells around 103,000 miles. I was really upset when they first came about. How could this happen! I took such great care, washed every chance I could, waxed more than some classic car enthusiasts do, and in the winter spent $8+ dollars (usually around 4 min per $2.25) every week at the pressure washing stations rinsing off the whole truck including up under neath from road salt. I have now 133,000 miles on my truck and the rust has now spread from just bubbles, to paint chipping away, cracking, and pealing off almost more than half way around the wheel well.

Since this happened I had got an estimate to get both sides re-done. I wanted it done right so I made sure that the collision company warranty'd it for as long as I owned the vehicle. New fenders, paint, and labor for both sides of the truck.......... $6,300.00.

Wow! As well as some of these other complaints I too think it should be recalled, as well as repainted and problems solved. I am very dissatisfied with the way it looks, but I am just not sure paying $6300 bucks pretty much almost what kbb is appraising these trucks at in fair condition (as a result of these rust marks). Hopefully even though my paint warranty has long expired, this problem will be resolved in the near future!

- , Aurora, OH, USA

problem #22

Jun 162010

Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 58,000 miles

Bought my 2003 Ram 1500 SLT Quad Cab 5.7 Hemi 4X4 brand new and now have 59,000 miles on it. I have had only minor issues with the truck until now. The driver’s side rear wheel well on the bed is now starting to rust from the inside out. When I first bought the truck I also purchased the plastic inserts that mount inside the rear fender wells that protect the metal from the elements. It is obvious that the rusting is not being triggered from the environment since I was proactive with the wheel well install and is a factory defect that should be backed up by Dodge. I am also having some minor rusting on the tailgate which started after only about 4 years of owning the vehicle. I am all about buying American products but it seems that the quality and warranties are still not as good as the imports.

- , Sicklerville, NJ, USA

problem #21

Oct 152008

Ram 1500 Quad Cab SLT 5.9L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 72,300 miles

I bought my ram 1500 quad cab in January of 2008 with 58,000 miles on it by October 08 i noticed bubbles under the paint on fender well of the bed first driver side then pass-side now to this date the rust is out of control I have noticed several other 2003 rams with the same problem,I have read the other complaints, And it looks like no one is willing to step up to fix the problem. I say we turn to the news media for help and see how many trucks,have the same problem,the numbers are most likely in the thousands,Then its time for a Class action law suite.

- , Garfield Hts, OH, USA

problem #20

Oct 202010

Ram 1500 SLT 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 89,000 miles

My dodge ram is great, I love it. Except for the rust blowing through my bed above the wheel well. Its horrible and ugly and the manufacture really should live up to the means and quality of their products. Mainly 01 - 04 this is common on 100% of them they will all do it, rust like hell on the bed. i have not seen one that is smooth on both sides and yes it gets worse if you don't fix it fast. within six months it went from one blister to seeing inside the well by a whole big enough to fit your fist in it. if you have an 03 dodge ram any trim i don't care if you clean it every day, it will happen.Sorry but yes its true.

- , Pittsburgh, PA, USA

problem #19

May 012008

Ram 1500 5.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 23,500 miles

bought with 19,700 miles on veh looked great until bubbles showed up over rear wheel well.I took it to a bodyshop and it cost over five hundred to the same problem has shown up on the other wheelwell, paint is still intact rust is on backside of metal going thru.

- , Lindenwold, NJ, USA

problem #18

Sep 262010

Ram 1500 SLT 5.9L V8

  • Automatic transmission
  • 65,000 miles

click to see larger images

rust and corrosion rust and corrosion rust and corrosion

Noticed paint bubbling up on the rear fenders of my '03 ram. Bought in in sept of 2009 with 59000 miles on it. Never noticed it on any other rams in this area but on alot of chevys from 99-02. Took it to two body shops and they both suggested replacing the panels not just repainting costing about 4,000!!!. I've decided to possibly just cut away the bubbles touch up with paint and cover with fender flares!! Not gonna hassel with the Chrysler execs that never gets anywhere. Tried doin that with GM years ago about inadvertant air bag deployment and they were rude and unwilling to do anything!

- , Sioux Falls, SD, USA

problem #17

Sep 292010

(reported on)

Ram 1500 SLT 4.7L

  • Automatic transmission
  • 49,000 miles

I have had this truck since new very low mileage well taken care of. there no way this should not be going on. I will not buy another dodge. my oil pan is rusting, my rear end is rusting. just terrible.

- , Millersburg, MI, USA

problem #16

Mar 012010

Ram 1500

  • Automatic transmission
  • 120,000 miles

Have a 2003 Ram 1500, which we've maintained well. Starting this past spring noticing round raised areas on the perimeter of the rear wheel wells. Of course, these rapidly progressed to bleeding rust, and have greatly increased in number over a short time span.

I realize living up north offers more corrosion problems; however, I seem to only see this problem on the other Dodge trucks I pass. Seems like something Dodge should assist in correcting.....otherwise, this will be my last Dodge product.

Terry Ragsdale

- , New Richmond, WI, USA

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