Mary Conway's picture

What is Causing Navigation Failure on 2015 Ram 1500

The owner of a 2015 Ram 1500 is frustrated by the repeated failure of his navigation unit.

This is the sort of problem that would drive you crazy. Hayden, the owner of a 2015 Ram 1500, writes, “Recently I am having a problem with the Navigation on a 8.4 radio. The system works fine until I get an error message that just pops up on the screen in BRIGHT RED that says "Vehicle phone requires service". Once that appears the Navigation system quits working (vehicle and map are they but do not move with motion) and takes a few days before it starts working again. Any ideas?”

Unfortunately, a number of other Ram 1500 owners know exactly what Hayden is experiencing. HMCS responds, “This is a hardware malfunction. Typical when the Sierra wireless card fails. The uconnect needs the wireless card for navigation. I have the same problem and the only fix is a new unit. It's not cheap if you're out of warranty. Mine made it less than 30,000 miles. Seems to be a fairly common failure.”

Hayden isn’t happy to hear that it is common. “I hate to hear that. I have the extended warranty. So hopefully it won't hurt too bad.”

Yankee, who is a frequent poster, says, “Since the last OTA, (over the air), radio update, I have had 2 of them so far. Several owners have had the dealership replace the radios due to a malfunction.”

Apparently the Radio has been Known to Fail

Badger, from Idaho, is having trouble with the radio in his 2013 Ram 1500. “I'm having an issue with my Uconnect 8.4 in a 2013 truck. Since it is an issue with the nav, time, compass, and sirius radio, Uconnect says it is not an issue on their end, but a problem with the radio. Since my radio is long out of warranty, it is pretty expensive to have a dealer replace the radio since that is what everyone tells me. I have found a company in FL, that does repairs at about 1/3 the cost of a replacement, and or much cheaper to purchase a whole replacement. At this time that seems to be my only options. Everything else works with the exception of the previously mentioned. Good luck with yours.”

Hayden is concerned that the dealership will give him a hard time about replacing it. “Thanks for the info. My navigation issue and "Vehicle phone" does not seem to effect the compass, time or Sirius radio. Only Navigation. I hate making an appointment at the dealer because unless it is not working when you take it in, they can't find the problem.”

At that point, Ramcares reached out to Hayden about his problems. “Would you mind sending us your VIN within a direct message? We'd be glad to look more into this and help in the best way possible.”

When Hayden tells Ramcares that he already sent them a message, they reach out again. “We're sorry to hear you're having a hard time. If you do decide to have this looked at by your Ram dealer, please let us know. We'd be glad to help and get your inquiry over to a Case Specialist for further handling.”

Hayden tells Ramcares, “I am open to suggestions, but it needs to be fixed. If taking it to the dealer with your assistance will speed up the process I would be willing to try that step.”

Hayden went to the dealership and his fears materialized. Even though the radio wasn’t working, the dealership gave him the runaround. “Here is the latest of this sad saga. I stopped at the dealer service center yesterday when the Navigation was not working correctly. I showed the service writer the problem, he agreed it was a problem and made an appointment for today for me to return to have the radio removed so they could get the numbers required to get the radio replaced. I asked how long that would take and he replied about an hour or so. I returned to the dealer today at the appointed time to have the radio removed and number obtained. After a couple hours I inquired why it was taking so long. I was advised the mechanic said the radio needed an update and that was causing the problem. I said the radio already had an update and it was the most recent update. They insisted it was not. They insisted that only the dealer gets this update. And they wanted $115 to update the system. I insisted it was already updated and told them how to check that with the system info button and they insisted their computer said otherwise. When I was finally allowed in the service bay I showed them it was already updated. Now they used the "Assist" button to contact uconnect which told them they need to check something. 4 1/2 hours later I was given a rental car to go home because Uconnect needed the dealer to have access to the vehicle. They insist it is a firmware issue that only the dealership gets. They want to do the update, charge me the $115 to do it and if that doesn't work then replace the radio, which will cost me another $200 that I have as a deductible on the extended warranty. This will be my last Ram.” This is exactly the sort of time loss and aggravation that drives owners crazy.

Warranty Disputes

Hayden gets angrier with each post. “If they are not going to stand behind the product they sell then why would a consumer buy their product? Love the truck, HATE the service at the dealership. Now I find out the "extended warranty" I bought that was bumper to bumper isn't worth the paper it is written on. Now they claim it is only a mechanical warranty. Every time they open their mouth it gets worse. Never again.”

Hayden adds, “Apparently it is a dealer or 3rd party warranty. Never read the fine print, I was told it was full coverage. $40,000.00 + truck, fully loaded. I paid cash plus trade-in. I expected better service. We have bought at least one new vehicle every 2-3 years since 1980. I have 3 fairly new vehicles. Never had a problem like this before, but then, never owned a RAM before.”

Badger is furious about the problems with his radio as well. “This is a prime example why so many people hate going back to a dealer with problems. When the customer knows these updates are completed and it is a different issue, there should not be a charge, but we all know that doesn't happen. These radio's are not just an issue with Dodge, but with other manufacturers that use them as well. In my case, Uconnect claims my problem is not a Uconnect issue and I can believe that. Ramcare could not solve my problem either and told me I had to the dealer to have it fixed. As for getting the numbers off the back of the radio, I believe the numbers are listed in one of the screens. I have removed my radio and sent it in for repairs on my cost, but it will have a warranty when fixed and returned. I would be more upset with the radio and not Ram. Hard to believe that there has not been any class action suits with all the problems of this radio. I wish you luck with yours, and sure do feel the pain.”

Hayden disagrees. “I am upset with RAM as they KNOW it is a well documented problem but act as though it is one that they never heard of before. THAT is NOT CustomerCare. It is the CustomerRunAround.”

Luckily, Hayden found his extended warranty and can prove that the radio is supposed to be covered. “I have a copy of the extended warranty and the radio is covered, according to the extended warranty. They have had the truck all day yesterday and all day today. At 6PM I get a phone call from the dealer that gives me the following information. Ram (?) required them to download the logs from the radio and send it to them. After a review they agreed it was the radio at fault and it needs to be replaced. The radio is covered by the extended warranty. The extended warranty company was contacted and they are sending a claims adjuster to the dealership to see the radio. The dealership says they have never had that request before. But they also said the replacement radio is $2100 ! They still have the truck and cannot order the radio until the adjuster gives the OK. I have a $200 deductible. I'm good with that.”

Except, for Hayden, it gets worse. “The service department of the dealership called about 6PM, when they do that I know it is not good news. The 3rd party warranty adjuster was at the dealership this afternoon and denied the claim because the dealership is unable to make the radio error happen on demand. Even though the dealership has the log of errors and Chrysler says the radio is bad and needs replaced the 3rd Party Warranty company, CNA National Warranty Corporation has denied the claim. They still have my truck. The service writer at the dealership that I have been dealing with says the battle isn't over and they will be going to the corporate office to get this resolved. They should, they are acting as an agent of CNA Warranty Corp by selling me the warranty in the first place.”

Hayden posted at 8:00 tonight that the story is taking yet another turn. “Here is something new, "Freddy" from Uconnect just called and said they will call the dealer and see if they can get the problem resolved. He informed my there is allegedly a NEW update available for the radio that just came out last week. THAT update should resolve the Navigation problems, according to Freddy. Funny, the engineers from Chrysler didn't know anything about it.”

So, it is Easter week-end and Hayden still doesn’t have his truck back. We shall see how the story of the Navigation failure unfolds. If nothing else, it is a huge warning about the extended warranties and that some of them may not cover what they promise. This is how brands lose customers. It only takes one nightmare like Hayden's to scare buyers away from ever buying your product again.

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