Tips on buying used Ram 1500

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Junior Member
Apr 16, 2021
Reaction score
Ram Year
Hemi 5.7
Hello all. I have been eyeballing used single cab sport r/t's, usually in the 2014-2017 year range. When checking out these trucks and driving them, what would be your top red flags to look out for? I'm shooting for a truck with at most 50k-75k mileage, obviously less if the price is right. Been paying attention to carfaxes, but those don't always show everything. I've been listening to cold start and startups for hemi tick or exhaust leak, checking out engine bay and undercarriage for bad rust. Signs of 3rd brake light or rear seat water leaks. Also been looking for signs of vehicle being flooded since I'm in the Houston area. Vibrations or pulling when test driving.

Thanks for your help guys


Senior Member
Sep 8, 2017
Reaction score
Ram Year
2012 Reg Cab, 4x4
5.7 Hemi
Hey welcome aboard!! So... you're talking about a Regular Cab/Short Box truck, right? 2-WD or 4x4?

Pretty much what you listed off are the main things. Exhaust manifold warpage/leaks & broken studs seem to happen in about the range you're looking at. It's not a small job (nor cheap) to fix, so you want to pay attention to that. If you found a good prospective truck you were willing to buy, you could pass the VIN to a chrysler dealer and see if there is a record of the exh manifold's having been repaired. Engine-wise, these seem to be pretty good. There guys like me who have a boatload of miles on our Hemi's. Hemi tick might as well assume your truck will have it or develop it. If you can't get past that, the Ram might not be the truck for you.

Rust-wise live in TX ...what are you worried about?? LOL... But look at the usual things like rust on the frame/bolts/diff, etc. If they're real clean, then it's a good bet the rest is too. But if you DO buy a pickup, I would remove the rear plastic inner fender liners (if your newly bought truck has them) and hose out the wheel wells. Or clean them. They can fill up with rocks dust and debris. I don't know that I would do any undercoating in TX. Anything you apply above the wheel arches is just going to "hold" crap/crud and make it harder to wash out in the future. Esp if it's 'gummy' like most of the undercoating crap is. Applying some oil at the bottom of the tailgate might not hurt either. IDK if that's even necessary in Tx.

The outer drivers seat is a good wear indicator too. They often get boogered up b/c the truck is taller & there's a seat frame member right under the outer seat lip, which pinches the foam as people slide in/out like it's a kid's slide. If you found a truck with a worn seat, you might negotiate in a new seat cushion and fabric/leather ....if it needed. If the fabric is still good, a new cushion might be enough. But then what brand cushion?? (that's another story altogether!).

A warranty might not be a bad idea depending on your penchant for risk or ability to pay for repairs.

Signs of flood damage are going would be water/dirt/mud up high (spread evenly) ...but most sellers would probably clean it up so you'd have to remove lift up the mat/carpet or stick your fingers (or inspection cam) into the frame. Hard to detect those things via online pictures if it's been cleaned up. Check the paint work for signs of refinishing (hail damage?), etc. If it's been done 'right' that's probably not a problem.

Have new truck inspected on a hoist by a 'good' shop prior to purchase is a good idea. Overall these trucks are pretty solid, but any time you have 20k parts screwed together bouncing down roads ...well, you get the picture, things can go wrong.

Good luck :waytogo:
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