Notes: The 2002 has the well-known and documented problem with their dashboards falling to pieces, but it also has engine failure from oil sludge. That's a doube shot of awful in your morning coffee.


really awful
Crashes / Fires:
2 / 0
Injuries / Deaths:
2 / 0
Average Mileage:
46,730 miles

About These NHTSA Complaints:

This data is from the NHTSA — the US gov't agency tasked with vehicle safety. Complaints are spread across multiple & redundant categories, & are not organized by problem.

So how do you find out what problems are occurring? For this NHTSA complaint data, the only way is to read through the comments below. Any duplicates or errors? It's not us.

2002 Dodge Ram 1500 steering problems

steering problem

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2002 Dodge Ram 1500 Owner Comments (Page 1 of 2)

problem #26

Feb 182015

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • 102,500 miles


My son was on the I-5 coming home from school when the seals blew on the rack and pinion. Upon taking it to a repair shop we were informed that this is a known defect of the Dodge Ram trucks and they are known to blow any where from 50,000-100,000 miles. If we had known about this defect we would not have purchased the truck. When the seals blew the truck steering components began to grind and it was difficult to get it off the road. There was no warning and luckily my son had the opportunity to pull off the freeway with out injuring anyone. My father who has contracted with a local reservation contacted their service department only to find out that the Dodge Ram trucks were known to have serious power steering and front end issues. The only reason they purchased the trucks were that Dodge provided the low bid and there has not been a government recall on the steering and their practice is to accept the low bid. The power steering. Tie rods and suspension are major components to going down the road safely. It shouldn't take someone dying to solve the issue. While we all are concerned about the impacts caused by larger vehicles against the new smaller lighter weight cars it is extremely important that we know the larger trucks are safe to drive on our roads. The Dodge Ram has numerous complaints on the internet, as well as dealers and repair shops noting that this is an issue. Chevy trucks, Ford trucks and Toyota trucks do not have the reputation for have issues with the front end and steering components. Thus this would appear to be a defect isolated to the Dodge Ram trucks. Since you cannot require and individual to replace the rack and pinion themselves every 50,000 miles the only option would be to require Dodge to solve the issue. Thank you for your time and attentions.

- Lynnwood, WA, USA

problem #25

Jun 112014

Ram 1500

  • 169,000 miles
Vehicle problem first started when turning steering wheel to the right entirely. Currently vehicle airbag light comes on and of through all ranges of steering.

- Felton, PA, USA

problem #24

Aug 142013

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • miles
Vehicle has severe dash cracking. Power windows are not working and lamp indicator will not shut off causing ongoing beeping. Concerned that dash parts are stuck inside causing driving conditions to be unsafe. Would like to be notified if an investigation has been done to remedy the problems at dealer cost.

- Harker Heights, TX, USA

problem #23

Apr 152013

Ram 1500

  • 156,000 miles


The contact owns a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. The contact stated that the steering wheel seized and could not be turned left. The failure occurred as soon as the vehicle was started. The contact also stated that the power steering fluid leaked continuously. The vehicle was neither diagnosed nor repaired. The manufacturer was not made aware of the defect. The approximate failure mileage was 156,000.

- Egg Harbor Township, NJ, USA

problem #22

Dec 122012

Ram 1500

  • miles
My steering is vibrating at low speeds easing into curves left or right and causes the steering wheel to shake as if I'm going to shake off the road.

- Whiteside, TN, USA

problem #21

Dec 262010

Ram 1500

  • 66,513 miles
My truck began leaking power steering fluid while parked outside my house. The vehicle was not running, nor moving. Enough fluid leaked out to form a puddle under my truck. I use this truck to tow a 3200 pound travel trailer. I am thankful I was not pulling this trailer or driving the truck when the power steering began leaking. I am not the only Dodge truck owner to whom this has happened. This is a design flaw, a safety hazard and these trucks need to be recalled before someone is seriously injured or possibly killed. I live in southwestern Pennsylvania and the roads on which I travel are very steep and winding. It terrifies me to think what may happen if this unit was to fail while I was navigating these roads. Please take action to force Dodge to correct this design flaw before someone dies. Thank you!

- Conemaugh, PA, USA

problem #20

Aug 152010

Ram 1500

  • 8,300 miles


I purchased my 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 about 3 months ago in August, the first incident occurred while driving down a very busy 35 mph road just passed a dangerous school zone and I have a total loss of steering. Turns out my power steering rack and pinion has failed. Now in 12 month I have replaced the part 4 more times and it is still broken leaving me everytime with a total loss of steering. The truck now sits in my driveway as I pay for it every month because Dodge wont do anything about this problem that cant be fixed.

- Tualatin, OR, USA

problem #19

Aug 172002

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • miles
While driving down a 35mph paved busy road, the rack and pinion under my 2002 Dodge Ram 1500 fails, leaving me with a loss of steering and almost catching the truck on fire from so much fluid getting all over a hot engine bay. Now after a month and a half I have paid for 4 more rack and pinion failures and now my truck is still sitting in my driveway broken waiting for the 6th one. Everytime it is a total loss of steering and there are no warnings.

- Tualatin, OR, USA

problem #18

Jun 142010

Ram 1500

  • 86,312 miles
Replaced rack and pinion four times along with the upper control arm, upper/lower ball joints, and tie rod ends. This last time the boots on the rack and pinion busted power steering fluid was lost causing steering to lock up. The severe underlying issue to the failure of the rack and pinion is the left and right steering knuckles are faulty causing the tires to turn to far which is causing the damage to the rack and pinion busting which is causing the drainage of power steering fluid and locking up the steering.

- Great Lakes , IL, USA

problem #17

May 052010

Ram 1500

  • 50,000 miles
Complete loss of power steering fluid resulting in severe difficulty in steering vehicle. This is a 2nd occurrence after having replaced the steering gear on the same vehicle approximately 20,000 miles earlier. I had the steering gear replaced new for a 2nd time.

- Charlotte, MI, USA

problem #16

Feb 192010

Ram 1500

  • 60,000 miles


2002 Dodge Ram 1500 rack and pinion going out only 60,000 miles....also, they replaced A/C fan motor once...I paid several times...about to go out again (low humming noise is indicator - as noise increases, motor fails). I am so disappointed; as a special needs teacher I depend on this vehicle to Transport me safely to and from my work....cannot depend on it. I hate's been a pain since first problem with 18 miles on it!!! please, hold Dodge accountable for their mistakes....

- Lake Charles, LA, USA

problem #15

Jun 052005

Ram 1500

  • 62,000 miles
My 2002 Dodge 1500 quad cab 4X4 had a leak on the power steering hose, which was repaired under warranty in 2004. In 2005 I notice power steering fluid leaking again in the same area and thought it was the hose again. This time it turn out to be a leek in the gear box. At the time the truck had 62000 kms and 3 months past it's warranty and has not been driven off road. The Dodge dealer would not help cover any expenses for this premature failure. Currently the steering is unstable on uneven road surfaces and I do not drive it in the winter. There has been no accidents but one near miss when the truck veered over to the on coming lane after going over a bump.

- St Albert, Ab, Canada, 00, USA

problem #14

Jan 192009

Ram 1500

  • 41,150 miles
2002 Dodge Ram 1500. The power steering quit while I was driving and I was in a curve and almost wrecked. I have heard other people talking about this same problem. I thought safety was number one. But I guess this will not be a recall until some one from your office or someone you love is killed in this type of situation. I have read that people have ran of the road when this has happened or have struck a roadside object trying to stop. Come on people lets fix this issue.

- Ridgeley, WV, USA

problem #13

Jan 022009

Ram 1500

  • 48,000 miles
Lost all steering capability while driving: Almost ran into a house. There is power steering fluid all over the engine compartment. No collisions in this vehicle other than a minor rear end fender bender. Previously I had the high pressure pwr steering hose replaced and the system flushed.

- Omaha, NE, USA

problem #12

Jan 042009

Ram 1500

  • 159,000 miles
While driving to work early in the morning, roads were wet, temperature was 23 degrees. Was driving on a two lane roadway about 40 mph. Was on a straight stretch when truck started to fish tail slightly. Rear of the truck slid slightly toward drivers side. I turned the wheels slightly in the direction of the slide and then started to turn the wheels back the other direction as truck started to straighten out. At that point I felt something give in the front end on the drivers side. The truck started pulling across the center line and off the other side of the road. I was heading straight for a telephone pole. I tried pushing the brakes fully, but the pedal went to the floor. I cut the wheels all the way to the right, just missing the telephone pole. My front fender struck a steel pole filled with cement next to a split rail fence. When I got out of the truck, the front drivers side tire was laying under the truck, only held on by the tie rod end. This was by no means a very bad case of sliding and over steering. The upper ball joint had just separated causing the tire to buckle under. I was lucky to have escaped this accident without injury or having my truck roll over. I have seen alot of problems with the Dodge durangos with the ball joint separation and I can only imagine it is the same suspension parts used in the Dodge Ram 1500 4X4 trucks. This needs to be checked into before someone gets killed.

- Prosperity, PA, USA

problem #11

Oct 272008

Ram 1500

  • 62,955 miles
During a tire rotation the mechanic noticed a defect with the rack and pinion system which was leaking and would need to be replaced. He also noticed the tire rods were defective which is allowing unnecessary movement of the tires. Lastly the front differential is leaking as well. This vehicle was purchased approximately 2 years ago used with 41,000 miles and currently has 62,955. This vehicle is operated under normal conditions.

- Brooklyn, MD, USA

problem #10

Apr 152006

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 55,713 miles
I had a 2002 Dodge Ram 1500. While driving at approximately 40 mph I heard a low humming noise. Suddenly the truck veered to the left. I was now in incoming traffic and narrowly missed one car. I tried to get the truck back to the right. The steering wheel had a lot of play in it. The truck fishtailed back to the right only to veer again to the left. I had no control of the vehicle. I was hit by a car, ran up a lawn, hit a tree and flipped the truck. Both myself and the driver of the car suffered minimal physical injuries. Both vehicles were totaled. It is my understanding that there is a class-action lawsuit against daimler Chrysler involving this same problem with the Dodge durangos. I believe that my vehicle had the same problem.

- Abington, PA, USA

problem #9

Jul 102005

Ram 1500 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 41,000 miles
Contact states: When water is splashed under the under carriage of his truck, the steering goes out. He cannot turn the steering wheel at all. He says he is going approx. 25-30 mph when it happens. It has happened twice when it has been raining. The dealer said that they would look at but at the consumer's cost. The manufacturer told him the same thing. The consumer says the warranty has run out. The consumer says he does not know exactly where the water is splashing, just the under carriage of the vehicle.

- Social Circle, GA, USA

problem #8

Feb 092005

Ram 1500 4WD 8-cyl

  • Automatic transmission
  • 31,000 miles
The driver's side seat belt retractor continued to fail. The parts were repaired/replaced three times, however the problem recurred. Both seat bet retractors were replaced, however problem still exist. Right rear door lock inoperative. Rattle sound over bumps. Right front sway bar link replaced. The steering wheel has been oscillating almost takes the wheel out of this hands. Dealer found ice in wheels/cleaned wheels. However vibration re-ocurred.

- Niagara, WI, USA

problem #7

Mar 152003

Ram 1500

  • Automatic transmission
  • 5,000 miles
I brought my truck to the dealer because it pulled to the right and shuddered at 75mph. I had already had 3 alignments on it since I bought it. Dealer said it was due to the tire wear. Tires wore out at 27,000 miles. Dealer was shocked; it?S a new truck the tires should have lasted 40,000 miles. I got new tires but the truck still pulls right and now it is starting to shudder at 65mph. I have had a pull problem since day one. I have also noticed that the raido lights and all dash lights go out when the key is turned to the rear and giggled a bit. I am bringing the truck in to the shop again this week. I hope it can be fixed.

- Carthage, NY, USA

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