June 24, 2010
In the spirit of sketchy dealer service, I pulled this blog from the back of my drawer. I can't believe I forgot about it. Yes, our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 is gone butits memory lives on. This is a picture of its new oil filler cap. Why did we buy that, you ask?
At 25,000 miles we serviced the Ram at Lithia Dodge. Well, we think there could be a kleptomaniac in the house. We are not qualified to make a clinical diagnosis, but here's what we have to go on. The Ram went in with a cap. And when it left, no cap. Our only regret is that it took us several days to realize it was missing. It reminds me of the day our long term Q7 returned from service with a pair of channel-locks under the hood.
Do you have a dealer service horror story? Let's hear it.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager
May 26, 2010
Last week Doug had trouble with the radio and displayin our 2009 Dodge Ram.Over the past week I've put400 miles on it. Istarted it at least30times. Iturned the radio display on and off twice that many times.I even fumbledaround with the dimmer switch, assumingthat played a role. Despite my poking and prodding, theRam didn't miss a beat.
We will continue to monitor the issue, but the radioseems fine now.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 29,400 miles
May 20, 2010
On the way into the office one morning this week, I pushed the volume on/off switch on the Ram's head unit and nothing happened. The display was dark and the audio system was silent. I pushed the switch several more times to try to get the radio to come back to life before I came to the conclusion that I'd have to make my commute in silence.
At least I could catch up on a few phones calls while stuck in traffic, so I dialed a friend. And before I could hit the speaker option on my iPhone to comply with California's hands-free law, I was startled by a sound coming over the truck's speakers.
While the audio wasn't working, the Bluetooth system was since I'd previously paired my phone. Before I heard a ring, my friend's voice mail greeting came blasting through the speakers (as captured in the video below). But the radio display was still blank and I couldn't view his name and number on it, per usual.
By the time I got to our offices the radio display was coming back to life, although it was dim. And when I jumped back into the truck at the end of the day, the display was working normally.
If I had to choose between making phones calls and listening to music, I'd always chose tunes over talking, especially at the end of a long day.
May 12, 2010
What the what? Why, that's a spare tire on our longterm 2009 Dodge Ram 1500!
It's a long story, filled with intrigue and scofflaws. And I'm going to share it with you.
Okay, I'm lying about the intrigue.But not the scofflaws.
Picture it. Thunderhill Raceway, Willows, CA. May 2010. The Ram is my tow vehicle. The TPMS light flicks on during the drive back to the hotel after the first day of a two day race. I hit the driver's front tire with some air the next morning on my way back to the track a few miles away. There's a tire service in the paddock, so I'll have 'em fix whatever's ailing it.
April 28, 2010
Last week I brought our Ram to Lithia Dodge of Fresno for its 25,000-mile service, which entailed an oil change and a tire rotation. I've been to this dealership twice before, firstfor our departed Grand Caravan and then our Challenger. As was the case with those appointments, Lithia's service was prompt and courteous. Total cost was $56.30.
We don't promote it as much as I think we should, but our Local Dealer Ratings feature is still alive on the Edmunds site where you can read and write sales and service reviews about your local dealers. Remember to tell your friends and family about it.
Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor
April 02, 2010
It was cold, it was dark, it was 5:35 in the morning. I was running about 15 minutes behind scheduleand I was in a hurry to get onto the freeway before traffic started to build.
And then this happened: the TPMS warning light on our 2009 Dodge Ram's dashwinked on along with a "Low Tire Pressure" message on the display as Iwarmed the truck'sengine.
I grabbed my trusty tire gaugeto see which one it was, first glancing at the door jamb to confirm the recommended tire pressure, which turned out to be 35 psi. Three out of four were bang-on that mark, but the right front was down to 26 psi.
I heard no hissing and the nearest gas station was only two miles away, so off I went. After all,the Ramhad been parked all night andthe tirewas nowhere close to flat. Sure, I could have fired up my garage compressor, but in the pre-dawn light my neighbors would not have been amused.
At the gas station, I added air, overfilling the tire somewhat to 38 psito give me a buffer in case some leaked out on the 50-mile drive to work. If the pressure did come down and the light came on again, I reasoned, I could always stop once more, refill, and hopscotch my way to the office.
That turned out to be unnecessary. I made it in one go and the TPMS light did not come back on. Once in our garage, I measured the tire pressure again: 38 psi. No change. Try as I might, I couldn't see a nail or any other reason forthe low tire. We decided to monitor the right front for awhile before taking it in for repair.
Today, one day later, Josh has the truck. As of an hour ago, it's still at 38 psi.It must be a very slow leak, indeed. Maybe some crudwason the valve seal and it got blown out when I put the gauge on. Maybe there is a very tiny brad or staple hiding where we can't see it. We'll keep aneye on it.
Whateverthe root cause of the air loss, TPMS hasyet-again warned us well beforeprolonged low-pressure driving due to an unnoticedslow leak could turn into a roadside flat or blowout. Since the systems became mandatory a couple of years ago, we've had over a dozen such warnings on various cars in our long-term fleet that were easily handled with low-stress flat tire repairs at a tire shop, at our convenience.
Unlessthe test carhit something really big and developed a very fast leak or a sidewall tear, no one has had to call AAA, no one has had to break out the jackand spare.
I'm a big fan of TPMS. It's one of the best new NHTSA safety regulations to come along in a long time.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 25,185 miles
March 18, 2010
I walked out to our 2009 Dodge Ram this morning and caught a glimpse of the paint just behind the cab of the truck. Is thatorange peel? And it extends up the back of the cab and onto the roof. Nodody likes to see that.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 23,060 miles
March 15, 2010
I love trucks. Having said that, there are two reasons I'd NEVER get one:
First, I live on the west side of LA. There is a ton a traffic, lots of small streets and the parking can be a massive pain in the a** with such a large vehicle.
Second, I don't want to be "that guy." That guy who owns a truck. Every dirt bag you know that you haven't talked to in three years will call you up and ask how you're doing, how's the lady, how's this or that. They don't care about you. The jerk has a couch they want to ditch in an alley someplace and they can't fit it in their Civic. You (the truck owner) are now their best buddy in the world.
It's for those very reasons I asked for the keys of the Ram. Our company is "that guy" and I hit them up for a favor. Granted, it was very handy to have the truck for the flea market I went to, the four truck loads of boxes I had in storage and hauling away the unwanted cabinets. But in the end, I was that schmuck. I was living the free-loader's dream.
The only hiccup to the dream was a temperamental key fob. It wouldn't always unlock when I hit the key. I used the key to unlock the door but when I opened it the alarm went off. I stood there with sirens blazing hitting the unlock key until it finally worked several stressful minutes later.
I'm ashamed to say that I started to entertain other low-life schemes of truck use. Maybe I could pick up those fence segments at Home Depot. Maybe I could buy those bags of fertilizer and mulch for the garden...
Maybe I can call in another favor.
Scott Jacobs, Senior Photographer @ 23,057 miles
February 17, 2010
So I'm walking around the back of our 2009 Dodge Ram yesterday and found this quarter-sized ding in the tailgate. We don't own this truck, so we'll have to fix it before the loan ends. Personally,Iconsider damage like thisa badge of courage. To me it says, "Hey, I use my truck like it was intended. I load stuff. I unload stuff.Sometimesthat means I'm going to bang up the tailgate."
But what if you owned it? Is a tailgate ding something you would repair?
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,707 miles
January 15, 2010
Back in October, Josh Jacquot posted that our 2009 Dodge Ram's RamBox was a neat idea, but wasn't as tough as it should be. To illustrate the point, he had a nice photo of the ground...taken through the gaping hole in the RamBox caused by a trailer hitch.
The majority of you agreed with Josh: This thing should be able to handle some serious use. Strangely enough, Dodge agreed too and covered the part under warranty. Trouble is, they A) wereon backorder and B) kept showing up to the dealer broken.
Just about 3-months later an in-tact RamBox showed up just when we needed service for our Ram.
We dropped the truck off at LaBrea Chrysler/Jeep around7:30 and they kept it overnight. We were given the option to pick it up at 18:45, but waited for the morning.
The service included an oil change, tire rotation and a service/fluid change on the differentials. Total cost: $63.00
December 25, 2009
Our 2009 Dodge Ram 1500 is back from the body shop after nearly two weeks. Much of the time was spent dealing with the insurance company. The work itself,including the wait for parts took about 6 days.When all was said and done our little indiscretion set us back one very, very pretty penny.
Total Cost: $2,291.32
Days Out of Service: 11
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,813 miles
December 02, 2009
OK, let's hear it. Call me an idiot. I can take it.
I was pulling into a parking space in Inside Line's test-car garage, and scraaaaape, POP, went the right side of the full-size Dodge Ram.
"Shoot," I muttered. (Not really, just trying to keep it clean).
I scraped the truck's side on an, uh, inconveniently placed cement pole.
Based on the loud noise, I feared the damage would be much worse. Turns out, the loud popping noise wasabody panel cringing and flexing back into place.
Still, I managed to take out three separate panels, a feat my boss, Editor in Chief Scott Oldham wasn't afraid to point out: "What did you do? Confirm you made contact and then floor it?," he asked.
No estimate yet, but rest assured I'll be paying my stupid tax for some time to come.
Kelly Toepke, News Editor (and Ram Wrecker)
November 30, 2009
We are twoweeks shy of thehalfway point in our test of the 2009 Dodge Ram 1500. We've alreadyreachedthe 15,000-mile mark. It's popularity in ourfleet is proof that the utility of a truck can'tbe matched.
To date our only out-of-pocket expenses wenttowards routine maintenance. And the only time the truck spent out of service was parked at the body shop waiting for a new rear bumper.
Total cost: $200
Days out of service: 2
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,000 miles
November 06, 2009
As Bryn mentioned, we were still waiting to get the go-ahead from our insurance carrier before repairing therear bumper damage on our2009 Dodge Ram. Not long afterher post went up, we received the settlement check. And the repairs were completed just as quickly.
Within 2 days the new bumper was ordered, shipped and installed. The at-fault driver's insurance company picked up the $637.43 tab.
Days out of service: 2
Total Cost: None
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 12,749 miles
November 03, 2009
I was standing behind our long-term Ram the other day and happened to notice that the plastic piece on our rear bumper is warping. Deja vu. At least it doesn't get in the way ofoperating the tailgate,like it did on our long-term Dodge Grand Caravan.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com
October 04, 2009
Late last week we used the Ram to support a photo shoot on Ford's new F-150 SVT Raptor in the SoCal Desert. The Ram was enlisted because we needed a vehicle to haul a ton of gear over rough terrain (at low speed) and, well, it's the only truck we've got in the fleet right now.
This didn't go so well.
August 12, 2009
Our 2009 Dodge Ram requested its first service right around the 3,000-mark. We'd just driven her cross-country, so some fresh oil was the least we could do. A lube and filter set us back $39.82 at La Brea Chrysler Jeep.