1996 Dodge Ram 1500

The Dodge Ram is near and dear to my heart since I owned a 1998 model for almost 20 years. So, yes, I’m biased when it comes to this particular model. The 1996 model I reviewed had a 5.2 Liter V8. The engine was part of the Magnum family of engines, but it wasn’t quite as powerful as my 5.9 Liter V8.

Interior

There is nothing terribly exciting when it comes to the interior of the 1996 Dodge Ram 1500.  It’s the typical Dodge battleship gray with very simple controls.  Actually, I like the simplicity of the controls. Some newer cars that I’ve been in require a degree in IT to figure out how to turn on the heat and air conditioning controls. Speaking of heat and air, these controls are very simple and standard. The dash is pretty sparse. However, there is one feature I really liked. The shift light.

The model I drove was a 5-speed 4-wheel drive version. It had a nice little light that signaled when to switch gears. Although many people find this to be a minor detail and one they pay little attention to, I think it’s a nice feature.

Radio

Really, just about any radio in the 90s was pretty lame. It was a period of transition from cassettes and CDs to USB drives and Bluetooth. So, the radio was nothing really special. Most people who have this truck are quick to swap the radio for a newer model almost immediately.

Rear Seat

This model had a rear seat, but no rear doors. There were no full size or even half-size doors to make it easy to climb in and out of the back seat.  I tried to crawl back into the back seat area and it was pretty tough without a half door. I guess if you have kids, this would be okay. Also, you could put groceries back there pretty easily.

Rust

One thing these trucks are particularly known for is rust. They rust out a lot. And that is putting it mildly.  If you buy one of these trucks, I would suggest looking for a truck from a southern state, or a state that doesn’t use salt on the roads in the winter. The main places where these trucks rust is the top of the wheel wells, the bottom of the wheel wells, the bottom of the doors, and well, just about any lower panel. One reason why they rust is that they tend to trap water in those places on the inside. Over time, the rust gets in and completely takes over.

I’ve tried fixing the rust. I even used fiberglass at some point. But the rust was so bad, it ate around the fiberglass and turned it brown.

Reliability

Yes, they rust, but they are VERY reliable. They work and work and work. The fact that I drove my 1998 for almost 20 years is a testament to the sturdiness of this truck.

Final Thoughts

Yes, I love this truck. I highly recommend the Dodge Ram for reliability, comfort, simplicity, and style. My truck never really let me down, and I would buy another one, given a chance.

Written by Gary Pradel