What Year Is My Dodge Ram?

There is a sure-fire way to find a lot of helpful information about your vehicle that many people might not know about. The VIN is a series of numbers unique to the vehicle, with each set of numbers giving you coded information. If you have a Dodge Ram and want to know what year it was manufactured using the VIN, we can help. We researched this vehicle from multiple professional sources, so you'll know how this can be done.

The 10th character in the VIN will identify the year the Dodge Ram was built. Match this character to the one on the VIN chart, and you will see the date of manufacture. This only applies to vehicles built in or after 1980. Before then, a VIN was not standardized across all manufacturers. 

Now that we know how to use the VIN to tell the year that the Dodge Ram was built, we'll take a look at the VIN chart that identifies the meaning of the 10th character. You might also wonder how you can tell if a Dodge Ram is a quad cab or a crew cab or how long a Dodge Ram will last. For the answers to these questions and more, read ahead in this post to see what our research has uncovered.

A dodge Ram TRX drives on a country road, What Year Is My Dodge Ram?

Using a VIN chart to identify the year of manufacture

The characters within a VIN will tell you many things. Ahead in this post, we'll discuss what each one means. For now, we'll focus on figuring out the year of manufacture.

Counting to the 10th character from the left, you will find a letter or a number. This character signifies the year your vehicle was built. Match that character to the VIN chart below, and it will reveal the year for you.

For example, if the 10th character is an "E," you know the vehicle was built in 1984 or 2004. If the 10th character is a 7, it was built in 2007.

What do the numbers on a VIN Chart tell you?

We know what the 10th character in a VIN tells us. But what about all of the others? This 17-digit code can be easily deciphered if you know what you are looking for.

The first three characters

The first three characters are referred to as the World Manufacturers Index. By looking at these three characters, you can determine what country the vehicle was made in, the manufacturer's code, and what division inside the vehicle was produced in.

You will be able to look at the first three characters and determine that the vehicle is a U.S.-made [first character] Chevy [second character] pickup truck [third character].

The fourth through eighth characters

The next series of characters will more specifically describe the vehicle from the VIN. After decoding the first three, you know where it was made, the manufacturer, and the vehicle type. Now it's time to get the finer details identified.

The fourth character will describe the weight or the horsepower. The fifth character represents the vehicle's platform. So if it's a two or four-wheel drive truck, a sedan, or a mini-van, this character has a code for it. 

The sixth character shows the model type. For example, if you know from earlier that you have a Honda, this will tell you if it's an Odyssey, an Element, etc.

The seventh character describes the body type [2-door, 4-door, convertible, etc.] The eight characters give specific information about the engine type.

The ninth character

This is considered a "check digit" from the manufacturers. This is used to identify any errors that might have been made when entering VIN information.

The 10th character

We know from earlier that this character reveals the year the vehicle was manufactured.

The 11th character

This is the character that tells you the Plant Code. It's an easy way to find out at what manufacturing plant your vehicle was built.

The 12th through 17th characters

The last series of characters are specific to each vehicle. They serve as an individual ID number for the vehicle. As there will be many produced each year that share the first 11 characters, there will be none that share both the first 11 characters and the last six.

If you have difficulty locating all the various charts you need to decode your VIN, Fax VIN has an automated decoder you can use for free. Enter your VIN, and you'll get an instant answer for all of the above.

Car Vin Number under the windshield

How do I know if my Dodge Ram is a quad or crew cab?

If you are trying to identify the various trims and styles of a Dodge Ram, you'll know that there is a lot to consider. With multiple beds and cab configurations, this might seem reasonably tricky. But there is an easy way to tell the difference between a quad cab and a crew cab.

Both cab configurations will have front and rear sets of doors. If you look carefully at the rear doors, you can spot the difference. 

The crew cab has a full rear seating area. The crew cab's rear doors are full-size, matching the front doors. The quad cab has a smaller seating area in the rear, and the rear doors are noticeably narrower than the front ones.

Dodge Ram 1500 express truck

How long will a Dodge Ram last?

Dodge is known for making long-lasting vehicles. The Dodge Ram, for instance, has a storied reputation for both reliability and longevity. This vehicle can last upwards of 300,000 miles if it is correctly cared for.

Car odometer displaying 300 thousand miles

But getting the Ram to this mileage milestone will take some work. No matter how powerful a machine is, it will still require care and maintenance.

Here, we'll review some important things to consider when getting the most out of your Dodge Ram.

Perform all scheduled maintenance

The owner's manual for your Ram will have a detailed maintenance schedule. This will tell you when the oil and various filters need to be changed. But it also covers when certain parts, like your suspension system and timing chain, need to be evaluated.

You should follow the factory-recommended maintenance guidelines to the letter. Doing so will prolong the life of the engine and other vital parts.

Do not overload it

The Ram, if properly equipped, has more towing capacity than any other passenger pickup truck. But if you overload it, you will greatly damage many of its parts.

If you tow or carry too much weight, you will put undue strain on the transmission. This can lead to transmission failure. It can also lead to the drivetrain prematurely wearing out.

Ram 2500 pickup towing a Camplite 16DBS travel trailer

The engine can only handle so much strain as well. If you overload your Ram, you risk damaging the engine. Your brakes, tires, suspension system, radiator, and other parts are also subject to great damage.

Drive mindfully

How you drive your Ram can also help determine how long it will last. Be careful not to mash down on the accelerator or slam on the brakes (unless necessary). Avoid as much stop-and-go traffic as possible to keep wearable parts from needing to be replaced too soon.

Remedy problems as soon as possible

Checking the engine oil level

Routine maintenance is the single most effective thing in making any vehicle last. But not all problems will appear magically during these crucial checks. Sometimes, there won't be a sign presented during them that signifies a part needing to be replaced soon.

This means you need to listen to and trust your senses. You should act if you hear, see, smell, or feel anything unusual. The sooner you get a problem identified and remedied, the better the odds are that a small problem doesn't grow into a larger one.

Final thoughts

The 10th character in any vehicle's VIN is a coded way to identify what year the vehicle was manufactured. The remaining 16 characters of the VIN will allow you to decipher a lot of helpful information about the vehicle. You can determine this information on your own or use a VIN decoder for free and get instant results. Drive safe!

We hope this post on the Dodge Ram answered all of your questions. For more helpful information on this popular truck, we recommend reading the following posts:

Ram 2500 Tradesman Vs. Big Horn Vs. Laramie —Which Is Right For You?

5 Types of Dodge Trucks You Should Know [Ram Pickups]

How Long Is A Dodge Ram 1500? [Cabs And Beds Combos]

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