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Ram now charging for many software updates at the dealership

Get ready for a surprise the next time you go in for your regular service. The owner of a 2016 Ram 1500 finds that Ram is now charging for many software updates that are deemed non-essential.


The owner of a 2016 Ram 1500 was stunned when he went to his local dealership, in Florida, for his regular service. Johnson tells members of a popular truck forum, “I went to my local Ram Dealership for an oil change and asked about flashing the following updates for my 2016 RAM 1500, SLT 4x4:

  • 18-078-16
  • 08-080-16
  • 08-073-16
  • 08-082-16
  • 18-001-16

I was informed by the Service Manager that unless something was specifically wrong with my truck that they would no longer flash these, unless I paid for them. They did not provide a cost for these while I was there. Is this something that was recently changed in the last few months? Or should I contact Chrysler about this misinformation and go to another dealership?”

Jimmy, from Illinois, says unfortunately, it’s true. “Yes. In around April this year, FCA started requiring the dealers to charge for non-essential updates.”

Essential vs Non-Essential

Copper, also from Illinois, asks the important question. “What or who decides what is essential, or non-essential for updates??”

Yankee, a frequent poster on the forum, replies, “The powers in control in the RAM offices decide. If it’s a Safety item, the NHTSA makes them fix it, otherwise it is sent out with a code. RRT = Rapid Response Transmission, Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) is of a higher priority or importance than that of a standard TSB. This also is intended for dealers and auto mechanics. A normal TSB may or may not be implemented in the course of a vehicle repair as it can and often is done at the discretion of the dealer. TSB = Technical Service Bulletin , is intended for dealers and auto mechanics. A TSB will contain information about a common issue and information on how to correct it. Dealers use this information when dealing with warranty service. CSN = Customer Satisfaction Notification.”

Possible approach

Airforce, from Michigan, relays what the dealership told him. “Talked to my dealer yesterday and they are now charging for the updates and do not automatically check if any are available when you go in. But, if you can find out what is effected and can tell them your truck is acting up like the TSB says, they will still do it free. Example, TSB out for tranny shifting problems and it says slow upshift 1st to 2nd. If you go to the dealer and complain that your tranny is upshifting slow, they will do it for free.”

Many Ram owners will now be scrambling to find out where the Technical Service Bulletins are posted. Airforce adds, “A lot of times members will post them on here and I think you can find them on the NHTSA web site. If you have a good relationship with your dealer they might tell you about them. Maybe a Google search might find them.”

Technicians aren't happy either

Yoda, from Minnesota, is a service tech who is seeing it from the other side. He is upset because I’m sure Ram owners are screaming at him. He says, “As a dealer tech, this new policy from FCA really p@#$es me off. Double talking penny pinching a-h%&*s. They speak out of both sides of their mouth, customer satisfaction is 1st, unless it costs FCA. More and more they are trying to shift expense and blame to the dealers. Looking for any reason to charge back claims to the dealers. Owners should contact FCA and raise hell.”

It is clear the new policy is creating frustration for many of the truck owners. It is particularly important that owners stay informed on what updates are available and definitely demand the ones that may affect safety. The original poster did not find out how much the software updates will cost. If anyone is aware please let me know and I’ll update the information.


TimU (not verified)    January 2, 2018 - 11:49AM

While I'm one of the lucky ones and have had no problems with my 2016 1500 Laramie, this is one more reason my next truck will be a Toyota Tundra or Ford F-150.
Sick and tired of the rumors about Ram/Jeep being sold. Crazy lack of customer service. Lousy resale value.
Just another nail in FCA's coffin for their total lack of concern for their customers.

PaulC (not verified)    January 5, 2022 - 5:48PM

Ram dealer wants to charge me $500. to do a software update so my transmission on my Ram 1500 upshifts correctly. It seems like this is a safety issue and should be essential and not a charge especially $500!