Ram 1500/2500/3500 Owners & Service Manuals

Ram 1500/2500/3500: Six-Speed Automatic Transmission - 1500 Models Only (If Equipped)

Ram Truck 1500 2500 3500 (2009 - 2018) Owner's Manual / Starting And Operating / Automatic Transmission / Six-Speed Automatic Transmission - 1500 Models Only (If Equipped)

The transmission gear position display (located in the instrument cluster) indicates the transmission gear range.

The shift lever is mounted either on the right side of the steering column (if equipped) or on the console (if equipped). You must press the brake pedal to move the shift lever out of PARK (refer to "Brake/Transmission Shift Interlock System" in this section). To drive, move the shift lever from PARK or NEUTRAL to the DRIVE position. Pull the shift lever toward you when shifting into REVERSE or PARK, or when shifting out of PARK (column shift only).

The electronically-controlled transmission provides a precise shift schedule. The transmission electronics are self-calibrating; therefore, the first few shifts on a new vehicle may be somewhat abrupt. This is a normal condition, and precision shifts will develop within a few hundred miles (kilometers).

Only shift from DRIVE to PARK or REVERSE when the accelerator pedal is released and the vehicle is stopped.

Be sure to keep your foot on the brake pedal when shifting between these gears.

The transmission shift lever has only PARK, REVERSE, NEUTRAL, and DRIVE shift positions. Manual downshifts can be made using the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control (refer to "Electronic Range Select (ERS) Operation" in this section). Pressing the ERS (-/+) switches (column shift) or moving the shift lever to the left or right (-/+) (console shift) while in the DRIVE position will select the highest available transmission gear, and will display that gear in the instrument cluster as 1, 2, 3, etc.

Gear Ranges

DO NOT race the engine when shifting from PARK or NEUTRAL into another gear range.

NOTE: After selecting any gear range, wait a moment to allow the selected gear to engage before accelerating.

This is especially important when the engine is cold.


This range supplements the parking brake by locking the transmission. The engine can be started in this range.

Never attempt to use PARK while the vehicle is in motion. Apply the parking brake when leaving the vehicle in this range.

When parking on a level surface, you may shift the transmission into PARK first, and then apply the parking brake.

When parking on a hill, apply the parking brake before shifting the transmission to PARK, otherwise the load on the transmission locking mechanism may make it difficult to move the shift lever out of PARK. As an added precaution, turn the front wheels toward the curb on a downhill grade and away from the curb on an uphill grade.


  • Never use the PARK position as a substitute for the parking brake. Always apply the parking brake fully when parked to guard against vehicle movement and possible injury or damage.
  • Your vehicle could move and injure you and others if it is not completely in PARK. Check by trying to move the shift lever out of PARK with the brake pedal released. Make sure the transmission is in PARK before leaving the vehicle.
  • It is dangerous to shift out of PARK or NEUTRAL if the engine speed is higher than idle speed. If your foot is not firmly pressing the brake pedal, the vehicle could accelerate quickly forward or in reverse.
    You could lose control of the vehicle and hit someone or something. Only shift into gear when the engine is idling normally and your foot is firmly pressing the brake pedal.
  • Unintended movement of a vehicle could injure those in and near the vehicle. As with all vehicles, you should never exit a vehicle while the engine is running. Before exiting a vehicle, always apply the parking brake, shift the transmission into PARK, turn the engine OFF, and remove the key fob. When the ignition is in the full OFF (key removal) position, the transmission is locked in PARK, securing the vehicle against unwanted movement.
  • When leaving the vehicle, always remove the key fob and lock your vehicle.
  • Never leave children alone in a vehicle, or with access to an unlocked vehicle. Allowing children to be in a vehicle unattended is dangerous for a number of reasons. A child or others could be seriously or fatally injured. Children should be warned not to touch the parking brake, brake pedal or the shift lever. Do not leave the key fob in or near the vehicle (or in a location accessible to children), and do not leave the ignition of a vehicle equipped with Keyless Enter-N-Go in the ACC or ON/RUN mode. A child could operate power windows, other controls, or move the vehicle.


  • Before moving the shift lever out of PARK, you must turn the ignition switch from the OFF position to the ON/RUN position, and also press the brake pedal. Otherwise, damage to the shift lever could result.
  • DO NOT race the engine when shifting from PARK or NEUTRAL into another gear range, as this can damage the drivetrain.

The following indicators should be used to ensure that you have engaged the transmission into the PARK position:

  • When shifting into PARK, pull the column-mounted shift lever toward you and move it all the way counterclockwise until it stops. For console-mounted shifter, firmly move the shift lever all the way forward and to the left until it stops.
  • Release the shift lever and make sure it is fully seated in the PARK gate.
  • Look at the transmission gear position display and verify that it indicates the PARK position.
  • With brake pedal released, verify that the shift lever will not move out of PARK.


This range is for moving the vehicle backward. Shift into Reverse only after the vehicle has come to a complete stop.


Use this range when the vehicle is standing for prolonged periods with the engine running. The engine may be started in this range. Apply the parking brake and shift the transmission into PARK if you must leave the vehicle.

WARNING! Do not coast in NEUTRAL and never turn off the ignition to coast down a hill. These are unsafe practices that limit your response to changing traffic or road conditions. You might lose control of the vehicle and have a collision.

CAUTION! Towing the vehicle, coasting, or driving for any other reason with the transmission in NEUTRAL can cause severe transmission damage. Refer to "Recreational Towing" in "Starting And Operating" and "Towing A Disabled Vehicle" in "What To Do In Emergencies" for further information.


This range should be used for most city and highway driving. It provides the smoothest upshifts and downshifts, and the best fuel economy. The transmission automatically upshifts through underdrive first and second gears, direct third gear and overdrive fourth and fifth gears. The DRIVE position provides optimum driving characteristics under all normal operating conditions.

To access all six available gears, you must use the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control, described below.

When frequent transmission shifting occurs (such as when operating the vehicle under heavy loading conditions, in hilly terrain, traveling into strong head winds, or while towing heavy trailers), use the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control (refer to "Electronic Range Select (ERS) Operation)" in this section) to select a lower gear range. Under these conditions, using a lower gear range will improve performance and extend transmission life by reducing excessive shifting and heat buildup.

If the transmission temperature exceeds normal operating limits, the powertrain controller will modify the transmission shift schedule and expand the range of torque converter clutch engagement. This is done to prevent transmission damage due to overheating.

If the transmission becomes extremely hot or is in danger of overheating, the "Transmission Temperature Warning Light" may illuminate and the transmission may operate differently until the transmission cools down.

NOTE: Use caution when operating a heavily loaded vehicle at low speeds (such as towing a trailer up a steep grade, or in stop-and-go traffic) during hot weather. In these conditions, torque converter slip can impose a significant additional heat load on the cooling system.

Downshifting the transmission to the lowest possible gear (when climbing a grade), or shifting to NEUTRAL (when stopped in heavy traffic) can help to reduce this excess heat generation.

During cold temperatures, transmission operation may be modified depending on engine and transmission temperature as well as vehicle speed. This feature improves warm up time of the engine and transmission to achieve maximum efficiency. Engagement of both the torque converter clutch and the top overdrive gear are inhibited until the transmission fluid is warm (refer to the "Note" under "Torque Converter Clutch" in this section).

During extremely cold temperatures (-16ºF [-27ºC] or below), operation may briefly be limited to first and direct gears only. Normal operation will resume once the transmission temperature has risen to a suitable level.

Transmission Limp Home Mode

Transmission function is monitored electronically for abnormal conditions. If a condition is detected that could result in transmission damage, Transmission Limp Home Mode is activated. In this mode, the transmission remains in direct gear regardless of which forward gear is selected.

PARK, REVERSE, and NEUTRAL will continue to operate. The Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) may be illuminated. Limp Home Mode allows the vehicle to be driven to an authorized dealer for service without damaging the transmission.

In the event of a momentary problem, the transmission can be reset to regain all forward gears by performing the following steps:

1. Stop the vehicle.

2. Shift the transmission into PARK.

3. Turn the ignition switch to the OFF position.

4. Wait approximately 10 seconds.

5. Restart the engine.

6. Shift into the desired gear range. If the problem is no longer detected, the transmission will return to normal operation.

NOTE: Even if the transmission can be reset, we recommend that you visit your authorized dealer at your earliest possible convenience. Your authorized dealer has diagnostic equipment to determine if the problem could recur.

If the transmission cannot be reset, authorized dealer service is required.


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