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What is causing some 2015 Ram 1500 truck backup cameras to go haywire?

Some 2015 Ram 1500 truck owners are finding what they are calling the "blue screen of death" instead of the backup camera display. Forum members make suggestions on quick fixes.

Backup cameras have become an integral part of driving for many people, especially pickup drivers and now NHTSA requires backup cameras on all new cars. The cameras help reduce the chance of accidents and make everyone safer. That is why a Houston 2015 Ram 1500 owner, who calls himself River, is frustrated. River asks members of a popular truck forum for help. “For the past two mornings when getting to work and backing up into a parking space, the backup camera did not work and shows a scrambled screen with the message System Not Available. I restarted the truck and it then it works ok. Has anyone else seen this type of message?”

It turns out that several others have had this happen as well. Jarhead, from South Florida, says, “Mine has not worked for 2 weeks. Same message and blue screen only. Went to dealer service and they were telling me they need it for a day...I have to find some time for that. Only 1400 miles on her and everything else on the 8.4A works fine.”

River says that he even tried downloading the latest software update and that helped, but only temporarily. “Did the latest system update two days ago and the camera was fine until I got home tonight and the darn camera did the same thing. Guess it's off to the dealer.”

Yankee, from San Diego, says, “I believe that if you have a blue screen & the message displayed, you will find that a camera connector at the bottom of the tailgate is loose or has a bent pin OR the connector inside of the tailgate inspection/access plate at the back of the camera is loose. If someone has removed the spare tire or worked on the exhaust near the spare tire, you may want to check another connection that is near the drivers’ side rear frame near the spare.”

A driver from West Virginia gave his take on the annoying issue, and he believes that it is tied to water getting into the wiring. “Recent purchase of 2015 Ram 1500 Laramie edition. I too have experienced the blue screen of death, and the fuzzy backup screen. Mine started after I gave the truck a good bath. By the time I could get an appointment with the dealer it was working fine... The 1st time it happened, I scrubbed the truck, and hosed out the bed. I not only got the blue screen of death, the fuzzy backup screen but the radio also locked up... could not change the station, volume, or control anything through the screen. After two days it cleared up and everything was normal.”

Wildcat says he had the backup camera problem with his 2014 Ram 1500 truck. “I had to go out of town so I left it with them and it finally did it for them and it threw a code. They replaced the camera and it has worked fine ever since. If you have a code reader, download the code when it does it and take that to the Ram dealership.”

It sounds like a problem best sorted out at the dealership. A number of 2015 Ram 1500 owners said they have the problem but only occasionally. Usually, the camera starts working again after the truck is restarted. It is usually some wort of wiring issue that can be complicated by wet weather.

Mary Conway covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin. Follow Mary on Twitter at @maryconwaymedia.


R Tiscareno (not verified)    July 26, 2017 - 10:57AM

check the harness between tailgate and bed, it may be being pinched when you close the tailgate

Dave Robinson (not verified)    August 14, 2018 - 5:05PM

I have a 2018 ram SLT . my screen is blue when I back up. I checked all the connectors and the radio is receiving voltage from the camera. It just did this. I have also removed the battery cables so the computer could reboot. Nothing changed. Still a blue screen. New camera is 190.00 and non refundable and the stereo which is factory is over 1000.00. Don't want to waste my money.

Dan R Martin (not verified)    December 20, 2018 - 3:54PM

In reply to by Dave Robinson (not verified)

I got so frustrated with my POS Uconnect 5.0 that I replaced it with an Android head unit. Gave a bigger screen, music streaming, navigation, traffic, weather, front camera and pretty much anything you can put on a droid tablet. It was on eBay for $375ish listed as factory replacement radio ram 2015. With the exception of having to add an RCA connector for the tailgate cam, it was all plug n play. I used the included cam on the front for pulling into parking spaces. One more HUGE feature... AN OFF SWITCH!

Dan R Martin (not verified)    December 21, 2018 - 10:17AM

In reply to by Dave Robinson (not verified)

I got so frustrated with my POS Uconnect 5.0 that I replaced it with an Android head unit. Gave a bigger screen, music streaming, navigation, traffic, weather, front camera and pretty much anything you can put on a droid tablet. It was on eBay for $375ish listed as factory replacement radio ram 2015. With the exception of having to add an RCA connector for the tailgate cam, it was all plug n play. I used the included cam on the front for pulling into parking spaces. One more HUGE feature... AN OFF SWITCH!

JemMack (not verified)    December 24, 2018 - 12:22PM

In reply to by Dave Robinson (not verified)

I have the same issue and purchased a new camera from the dealer. They quoted about $130.00 I said I found it on Amazon for $83.50. and asked if they would match the price. They did and I replaced the camera. Unfortunately
it still did not work. I went back to Dealer for refund and am now looking for a different solution. Ironically,
the same day, the camera came back on for a few moments, held onto the picture then went away. Frustrated!
Forget all the cup-holders and build a better machine.

Flyingv (not verified)    September 30, 2018 - 8:17PM

2016 Longhorn Larime bought new ay Helfmsn Dodge Houston, Tx.
The camera has worked only 50% of the time for the last year giving a screen with lines through it, when I'd take it to service they said unless it was doing it when I had it there then they would not look at the truck, I took it 5 times even with a video. My wife was backing up one day and the camera and sensors stopped working and she bumped a pole damaging the tailgate and bumper.
I went to the owner Steve Wolf, the owner said he would not honor the warranty, that Chrysler had to fix the truck. I contacted Chrysler and told them what the owner said and they told me they would fix the truck. Well when I went to pick up the truck they had replaced the camera and radio, but not the damage, so I looked at what the Feds had to say: In Addition to posing a serious hazard to occupants, the defective cameras violate Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard NO. 111, which Mandates that all manufacturers ensure all models facilitate "clear and reasonable unobstructed views to the rearCFR-2011-title49-vo16/CFR-2011-title49-vo16-sec571-111."

Keith Pendleton (not verified)    October 22, 2019 - 8:41AM

In reply to by Flyingv (not verified)

I have a 2015, 1500 Ram and have been to the dealer three times in the past year. New radio and camera. Still not working 100% This should be a recall by now. :-( I doubt I will ever by another RAM

Ryan Jarrett (not verified)    October 30, 2018 - 3:01PM

I just had a camera installed by Dodge dealership. Worked for about a month and then one day it came on and stayed on. When in drive and after you get going after 10 mph it turns blue. Radio has not worked since. If the truck isn't placed in reverse the screen remains with Ram logo.

Samuel Smith (not verified)    January 3, 2019 - 10:43PM

In reply to by Scott (not verified)

I pulled the plastic piece that connects the connectors under the tail gate when you lay down the tailgate. Reattached and used heavy tape to secure the connection and no more problems. The plastic that holds the connections actually keeps to much tension on the connector thus causing them to twist apart

Keith Pendleton (not verified)    February 17, 2019 - 12:02PM

I have a 2015 RAM 1500. The active guidance parking lines quit working. The backup camera is still functioning okay. Had it at the dealer, they couldn't figure it out. Now what should I do? Grin and bear it?

George Causby (not verified)    February 19, 2019 - 8:17PM

Similarly...Ram had a recall to upgrade code on my 2014 Ram 1500 and now the grid lines on my backup camera are gone. Disappointing how the dealer just raised their hands and backed away.

scott s (not verified)    May 10, 2019 - 4:29PM

just took my 2016 Big Horn 1500 to the dealer with a green backup camera screen...their diagnosis was that they would need to do a radio software update...but warned me that 60% of the time this update fries the radio, so it continues to draw current even when the ignition is turned off, which drains the battery until it is dead.

So, my having the lifetime warranty, they suggested that i get the update done when i can be without needing the truck for 10 days , just in case they need to order a new total cost, including 10 days loaner car...$200

dealer is century dodge, mt airy, md

ck (not verified)    May 11, 2019 - 4:42PM

I have fussed with this intermittent issue since I purchased my 2017 Ram. I have had multiple tailgate cameras replaced by the dealer. Put truck in reverse and get jaggy lines or a green or black screen. I found it is often provoked by opening and closing the tailgate. I found that it can be provoked or fixed by jiggling the wiring harness between the truck and the tailgate. Must be a pinched wire or connector because I have replaced everything but that item and I have had the dealer check the connectors and replace the screen and head unit.

Walter F Shearin (not verified)    September 5, 2019 - 7:01PM

My 2016 Ram 1500 was having backup camera issues. It would work sometimes and sometimes not. I could shake the cable to make it start working. I checked the cable connection unde the truck bed. It was fine. I opened up the tailgate to check the connection at the camera. I found the wiring between the camera and bottom of tailgate had a 90 degree bend in it. I straightened the wiring and the camera started working like it was supposed to. The wiring was being pinched.

ck (not verified)    September 5, 2019 - 9:26PM

In reply to by Walter F Shearin (not verified)

I finally got to the bottom of this problem, it was a defective wire running to the camera. RAM worked for two weeks, supposedly replacing everything, the last item was the wire in the tailgate. FIXED now.

Keith Pendleton (not verified)    October 19, 2019 - 10:13PM

I bought a used 2015 Ram 1500 last August. Back up camera worked great for about three months, then the back up assist lines disappeared. I spent a day at the dealership and they said I needed a new radio. It took nine months to get it put in. Now it is worse than ever. When I first start up the truck, the back up camera works, without assist lines. Buy the time I get to work, about a 45 minute drive, it doesn't screen. Back to the dealer for another waisted day for a new camera this time. Still having the same problem, and the assist lines never came back. Doubt I will ever buy a Dodge again. I needed the camera for hooking up my camper. Shouldn't Doge step up and have a recall on this problem?

Samuel Smith (not verified)    October 21, 2019 - 5:07AM

I had the same problem for over a year and several trips to the dealership without a fix, until I purchased some extension wires off of Amazon and rewired the wires under the taillight, DON'T USE THE INITIAL HOLE UNDER THE TAIL GATE. When you close the tail gait it pulls the wires thus causing the disconnection.

Scott (not verified)    October 29, 2019 - 12:39AM

If it says “System Not Available” then Check all the connections on the wires. My camera showed static one day, then fixed itself but then got real foggy and stayed foggy. My wire connections were fine. I opened up the tailgate to see inside it, found nothing. Drying out the camera did not work. I fixed it by removing just the little cube camera (not the whole integrated handle) and the dealership sold me a new one that has been upgraded with a different part number than the OEM one. Just remove the two little screws that’s hold just the camera. You don’t have to remove anything but the access panel to reach it.
Now mine works like new!!! Super clear picture!!
Cost me $270.00- expensive I know but better than paying someone to diagnose it first.
-October 28, 2019.

Jpr (not verified)    September 24, 2020 - 12:53PM

I have had the same issues with my back up cam recently as well with my 2015 ram. As a mechanic I found out that the issue could be one of two things. First off the cam can just be bad period. Second and what I found on mine was that the harness that connects by the spare tire had water and dirt which killed my cam connection. I have come to the conclusion that if you take apart the connector and clean it fill with dielectric grease it should be fine. I’ll keep you updated if anything changes for me.