Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Hill Climbing

Hill climbing requires good judgment and a good understanding of your abilities and your vehicle's limitations.

Hills can cause serious problems. Some are just too steep to climb and should not be attempted. You should always feel confident with the vehicle and your abilities. You should always climb hills straight up and down. Never attempt to climb a hill on an angle.

  • Before Climbing A Steep Hill - As you approach a hill consider its grade or steepness. Determine if it is too steep. Look to see what the traction is on the hill side trail. Is the trail straight up and down? What is on top and the other side? Are there ruts, rocks, branches or other obstacles on the path? Can you safely recover the vehicle if something goes wrong? If everything looks good and you feel confident, then change transmission into a lower gear, shift the transfer case into 4L (Low) and proceed with caution. You should use first gear and 4L (Low Range) for very steep hills.
  • Driving Up Hill - Once you have determined your ability to proceed and have shifted into the appropriate gear, line your vehicle up for the straightest possible run. Accelerate with an easy constant throttle and apply more power as you start up the hill. Do not race forward into a steep grade, the abrupt change of grade could cause you to lose control. If the front end begins to bounce, ease off the throttle slightly to bring all four tires back on the ground. As you approach the crest of the hill ease off the throttle and slowly proceed over the top. If the wheels start to slip as you approach the crest of a hill, ease off the accelerator and maintain headway by turning the steering wheel no more than a ¼ turn quickly back and forth. This will provide a fresh bite into the surface and will usually provide enough traction to complete the climb. If you do not make it to the top, place the vehicle in REVERSE and back straight down the grade using engine resistance along with the vehicle brakes.

WARNING! Never attempt to climb a hill at an angle or turn around on a steep grade. Driving across an incline increases the risk of a roll over, which may result in severe injury or death.

  • Driving Down Hill - Before driving down a steep hill you need to determine if it is too steep for a safe descent. What is the surface traction? Is the grade too steep to maintain a slow controlled descent? Are there obstacles? Is it a straight descent? Is there plenty of distance at the base of the hill to regain control if the vehicle descends too fast? If you feel confident in your ability to proceed then make sure you are in 4L (Low Range) with the transmission in first gear (manually select first gear on automatic transmissions) and proceed with caution. Allow engine braking to control the descent and apply your brakes if necessary, but do not allow the tires to lock.

WARNING! Do not descend a steep grade in NEUTRAL. Use vehicle brakes in conjunction with engine braking.

Descending a grade too fast could cause you to lose control and be seriously injured or killed.

  • Driving Across An Incline - If at all possible avoid driving across an incline. If it is necessary, know your vehicle's abilities. Driving across an incline places more weight on the down hill wheels, which increases the possibilities of a down hill slide or rollover. Make sure the surface has good traction with firm and stable soils. If possible transverse the incline at an angle heading slightly up or down.

WARNING! Driving across an incline increases the risk of a rollover , which may result in severe injury.

  • If You Stall Or Begin To Lose Headway - If you stall or begin to lose headway while climbing a steep hill, allow your vehicle to come to a stop and immediately apply the brake. Restart the engine and shift into REVERSE. Back slowly down the hill allowing the compression braking of the engine and transmission to help regulate your speed. If the brakes are required to control vehicle speed, apply them lightly and avoid locking or skidding the tires.

WARNING! If the engine stalls or you lose headway or cannot make it to the top of a steep hill or grade, never attempt to turn around. To do so may result in tipping and rolling the vehicle, which may result in severe injury. Always back carefully straight down a hill in REVERSE. Never back down a hill in NEUTRAL using only the vehicle brakes. Never drive diagonally across a hill, always drive straight up or down.

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