Dodge Ram 1500 Starts Then Dies [Causes and Solutions]

It is important to maintain your Dodge Ram 1500 regularly to avoid sudden engine failure and the inconvenience of a stalled vehicle. If you do experience a problem where the engine starts but then immediately dies, it is crucial to take immediate action.

Firstly, for safety reasons, you must quickly move your vehicle to the side of the road to avoid causing any traffic disturbance or accident. Once you have safely moved your car, you can then proceed to diagnose and fix the problem or seek professional assistance to resolve the issue.

What does the engine need to run smoothly?

There are three key requirements of the engine:

  • Gasoline or Fuel: The flow or provision of gasoline or fuel to the engine must be consistent at all times.
  • Air: The air and fuel mixture must be appropriate in order for the engine to work efficiently.
  • Spark: The spark must also be consistently provided to the engine.

The electrical system of a vehicle consists of a battery along with a starter. The battery and starter combine to create an electrical system that basically gives power to the engine. Once the engine is running it requires gasoline, air, and a spark.

When even one of the requirements or needs of the engine including gasoline, air, or spark is not enough or is not efficient then the engine will certainly not work.

Possible Problem Causes And Solutions

1. Problem With Your Car Alternator

Dodge RAM 1500 Car Alternator Problem

An issue with the alternator can be one of the culprits behind a failing starter in your car, but unfortunately, many drivers are unaware of this possibility. The alternator is responsible for providing the electrical power that your car needs, generated from the battery.

If there’s a problem with the alternator, replacing the battery won’t help. This lack of power supply can result in an inefficient starter, causing the car to suddenly turn off and not start.

To diagnose the issue, it’s best to seek the help of a trained technician who can use specialized tools to identify the cause of your car’s sudden failure. Regular maintenance checks at a service center can help avoid this problem altogether. The alternator is responsible for converting the kinetic energy produced by the car engine into electrical energy to charge the battery, which powers the car’s electrical components while it’s running.

A faulty alternator can lead to an uncharged battery, which means that the car won’t receive the necessary power supply and the engine may shut down. A defective alternator can also cut off power to essential parts of the vehicle, leading to dashboard light failures, loss of engine power, and other issues even when the car is idling.

In some cases, a worn starter dynamo can also be the reason for the engine dying and not restarting. However, replacing this component is a rare occurrence, especially in newer vehicles.

Regular maintenance can help prevent such issues, as sudden breakdowns can cause accidents and traffic jams. Ignition switch problems can also cause the engine to suddenly turn off, especially if the switch has been in use for a long time.

One way to identify if the ignition switch is causing the issue is if the engine turns off suddenly when starting because power is disrupted to the ignition and fuel systems. However, depending on the severity of the problem, the vehicle may still start later.

2. Car Battery

Dodge RAM 1500 Car Battery

When a car engine fails to start, most people assume that the battery is the problem, which is often true. The battery is like the heart of the car, and any damage to it can cause other components to malfunction. Checking the battery condition is crucial, and you can do this by looking at the battery indicators. A good battery will show green signs, while a red indicator means it’s worn out.

Moreover, it’s essential to pay attention to the battery terminals because a loose installation can also cause the engine to die. If the problem is with the battery, replacing it with a new one is the best solution. However, if the issue is with the battery terminals, you can fix it by tightening the cable connections.

You can also check the battery terminal’s condition using the car’s dashboard display. If your Dodge Ram 1500 starts but then dies, it may be due to a weak power starter caused by a faulty battery.

Check the battery cables for loose or dirty connections, and ensure that the liquid level is sufficient. By following these steps, you can diagnose and resolve the issue, and keep your Dodge Ram 1500 running smoothly.

3. Ignition and Air Intake System Problems

RAM 1500 Air Intake System Problems

The ignition system is one of the critical factors that determine engine performance, and if it fails, it can be due to a faulty or weak coil. It’s crucial to check the 10-ampere fuse on the engine, as it can affect the coil’s performance.

Similarly, the air intake system plays a vital role in the combustion process. If the air filter, air cleaner, or air cleaner box is damaged, the engine’s air intake will be compromised, affecting its performance.

The ignition system supplies power to the engine to keep it running, and if it malfunctions, the engine may suddenly stop working. If your Dodge Ram 1500 starts but then dies, try turning on the ignition again. If the engine still fails to start, it’s likely due to ignition system failure, and you should seek professional help.

The problem may be a small component, such as a faulty ignition relay. These relays control the amount of electricity that passes through them, and even a minor issue can cause the engine to fail. Therefore, it’s essential to have a trained mechanic diagnose and resolve the problem to ensure your Dodge Ram 1500 runs smoothly.

4. Out of Gas

Often engines die because they run out of gas. Although the gasoline indicator in the cabin shows a safe limit, there is no harm in making sure directly by opening the gas tank and checking it.

It’s also possible that your fuel indicator is faulty and needs to be repaired.

A faulty pump or injector can also cause gasoline to not flow properly into the engine. Damaged fuel hoses can also cause a similar problem. Cases like this often happen, so don’t forget to check the gas capacity of your car.

If you drive without paying attention to your fuel gauge, there is a chance that your fuel will run out, and you will end up stranded on the side of the road. Therefore, make it a habit to check your fuel gauge at least once during your daily driving.

5. Engine Overheating

RAM 1500 Air engine problems

Engine overheating is another common cause of car engine failure, often due to neglecting to check the radiator water level. If the radiator water is low, filling it up can solve the problem, but severe overheating requires professional mechanical assistance.

When fuel burns, it produces heat energy, which the engine converts into mechanical energy to power the car’s parts. However, when the heat levels in the engine bay exceed normal limits, it can cause the pistons to melt, indicating a severe problem.

In many cases, engine overheating is due to negligence in checking the radiator water’s condition. Therefore, it’s crucial to regularly check the radiator water level to prevent overheating and ensure that your car runs smoothly.

This can happen when you buy a faulty used engine that’s why you should always make an informed decision before making a purchase.

6. ECU Problem

Modern cars are equipped with an ECU, a small computer responsible for directing various systems and functions in the vehicle. If there’s a problem with the ECU, your Dodge Ram 1500 can lose power, and the check engine light on the dashboard may turn on.

Ignoring the check engine light can lead to more severe problems, including ECU failure and sudden engine failure while driving. The ECU is a complex component that requires the expertise of a professional mechanic to diagnose and repair, and attempting to fix it yourself can cause further damage.

Therefore, if you encounter problems with your Dodge Ram 1500’s ECU, it’s advisable to seek professional help promptly. By doing so, you can prevent more severe issues and ensure that your car runs smoothly.

7. Clogged Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is a crucial section of the exhaust system, which performs a significant function in maintaining your exhaust clear. If it finds more dirt in the fuel than the converter can handle, it will choke and stop working, causing your car to break down.

8. Loose Engine Bolts

Loose bolts are a rare but possible occurrence that can result from improper engine maintenance. If the engine bolts are loose, the engine will start vibrating, which can cause malfunctions over time. The constant wear and tear while driving can cause loose bolts to come off, leading to engine failure and sudden stoppage.

Therefore, it’s essential to maintain proper engine maintenance to prevent such problems and ensure that your car runs smoothly.

How to Overcome Dodge Ram 1500 Starts Then Dies

If you’ve experienced your Dodge Ram 1500 turning off while driving on the highway and then restarting within a few minutes, there could be various causes, such as a malfunctioning fuel pump, fuel injector, or ignition system. To diagnose the problem, you’ll need a scan tool, which can be purchased used for $30 or new for as little as $50.

To use the scan tool, plug it in and turn the ignition key so that the lights come on but the car doesn’t start. Then, read the code and determine the issue. For example, a PO340 code could indicate a faulty camshaft position sensor, bad wiring, or a malfunctioning main computer.

To fix the problem, you’ll need to check all the possible causes and hope that it’s not the main computer since it’s expensive to replace. The camshaft position sensor, if problematic, is located at the back of the engine, but replacing it can be challenging. If you’re unsure, it’s best to get a new one and have a car technician install it. Additionally, spraying the connectors with electrical cleaner can be helpful.

Remember, a little dirt will make it work incorrectly. Before you plug it back in, lightly grease the electrical contacts on the connector as well, slightly press it into the electrical connector, then screw it back in until it clicks.

Lastly, you’ll want to turn off your check engine lamp by resetting it before starting the car. Just choose clear code, hit enter, and now that code is cleared, you can start your Dodge Ram 1500.


dodge ram 1500

Can I Diagnose the Problem of Dodge Ram Starting and Shutting Off Myself?

Yes, you can diagnose the problem of your Dodge Ram starting and shutting off yourself. One way to do this is by using a scan tool to read the error codes in the car’s computer system.

However, if you’re not familiar with car mechanics, it’s recommended that you seek the help of a professional mechanic to diagnose and fix the problem correctly. They have the expertise and experience to identify the underlying cause of the problem and provide a reliable solution.

What are the dangers of unmanaged issues?

When your vehicle begins to experience issues with starting and shutting off, it’s crucial to identify common causes or have the vehicle checked by a professional mechanic.

Ignoring these issues related to the fuel and electrical system can lead to long-term damage to the vehicle, including severe damage to the engine, which can result in high repair costs.

Therefore, it’s wise to invest some effort into identifying the issues or pay a small fee to have a professional diagnose and fix the problem. This will prevent long-term damage and avoid costly repairs.

Why is it easier to diagnose problems in modern vehicles?

It is easier to diagnose problems in modern vehicles because they are equipped with advanced diagnostic systems that can identify issues with various components and systems in the vehicle. These diagnostic systems use sensors and onboard computers that constantly monitor and record the performance of the vehicle’s systems.

When there is an issue, the system generates a fault code that can be read by a diagnostic tool. This code provides information about the specific problem, which helps mechanics to quickly and accurately diagnose the issue.

Moreover, modern vehicles also have better self-diagnostic capabilities, allowing the car to alert the driver when there is a problem. This is typically done through dashboard warning lights, which indicate the specific issue and prompt the driver to take action.

Also, make sure that you always have the right recommended tire pressure to stay safe on the road.

What major things are needed in proportion to keep the vehicle running?

In order to have the vehicle running smoothly, it must have air, gasoline, and spark in a specific proportion. These three ensure the smooth running of the vehicle, without any obstacles in between.

What sensors can cause stalling?

There are several sensors in a vehicle that can cause stalling if they malfunction or fail. These include:

  • Camshaft position sensor
  • Crankshaft position sensor
  • Mass airflow sensor
  • Throttle position sensor
  • Oxygen sensor

Final Thoughts

Many people experience the common issue of their Dodge Ram 1500 starting and then shutting off. However, the reasons behind this problem can vary from vehicle to vehicle. Modern vehicles have computers that detect issues through error codes, but if the issue is not identified, drivers or owners can try multiple manual methods to diagnose the problem.

Different procedures can then be used to overcome the problem. If the issue and solution are still unclear, seeking professional help may be necessary, as users may not always be able to figure out the cause on their own.