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Why a new 2017 Ram 1500 safety feature is confusing drivers

A new safety feature on the 2017 Ram 1500s meant to protect drivers who are backing up is catching drivers off-guard. Some current owners have suggestions on what to do back up effectively.


It happens pretty frequently, drivers open their door so they can lean out while backing up and make sure they don’t hit anyone or anything. Ram is trying to stop drivers from doing that if they aren’t being exceptionally careful. Swan, from Iowa, asked members of a popular Ram forum for help. “Ok my brother-in-law just got a new 2017 Ram Tradesmen 1500, pretty plain Jane but it works for what he does with a truck. When he was backing up to hook up a trailer he cracked the driver door open to see something as he was in reverse and the truck wouldn't move after that. If you close the door and cycle the shifter knob to P and back to D or R then the truck will move. My 2014 Limited doesn't do this. I figure this is again a "safety" issue.

Several Ram owners were stunned to hear this. Many immediately went out and checked. Mystro, had never heard of such a thing. “Gotta try this. It might be a rotary knob only safety item.”

New Safety feature in 2017 Ram and other Fiat-Chrysler vehicles

Thunder, a frequent poster, commented on the change and the addition of the safety feature. “Yeah this is a recent addition. People were leaving their vehicles in gear and they would run away because they didn't set the parking brake. Some actor ran himself over; people wouldn't admit it was their fault and blamed the vehicle despite there being no evidence it shifted itself.”

Thunder is referring to an accident in 2016. “Star Trek” actor Anton Yelchin was killed when his Jeep rolled down his driveway and trapped him between his Jeep and a brick post. Fiat Chrysler had already filed a recall notice for the 1.1 million cars and SUVs because there was confusion over whether the vehicles were in park. There were several accidents where people got out of their vehicles and were hit. The actor’s family is suing Fiat-Chrysler over his death.

Mac, from Boston added, “Software was added to automatically put the truck in park if you try to get out of the truck or turn off the engine.”

Dan, from West Virginia, says that this technology has been around for a while. “This isn't new, BMW has had this feature for years maybe even a decade.”

Blade, from Texas, agrees. “Mercedes has a similar feature, only, when you open the door while in motion, it jams the vehicle into park. It makes nasty, expensive sounding noises, too.”

How to avoid or work around the Auto Park feature

Cliff, from Maryland, found out about this just recently. “I was surprised by this just yesterday. Picked up my new 2017 Longhorn last Friday, learning to use everything. I was trying to pull to the very edge of my driveway, so I opened the door to look down. Bang ! Auto-park, truck won't move until you close the door and cycle the gear knob to P and back to R or D. I would really like to disable this.”

An engineer, from Michigan, was quick to explain how to work around the auto park feature on the 2017 Ram 1500. “For parking maneuvers (assuming the truck will creep on its own without throttle input), you should be able to just keep one foot lightly on the brake pedal and thereby avoid auto-Park.”

Grizz, from Canada, says he has been able to lean out of his truck, but always with his foot on the brake. “I do this all the time. I am backing up and the park sense lets me know that I am in the red zone then I pop open the door and back up some more so my truck is not sticking out in the parkade at work. I don't take my foot off the brake as I want to move very slow.”

Presumably, this same approach would work with all of the Fiat-Chrysler vehicles that have the new safety feature.


Bryan (not verified)    June 4, 2018 - 2:02PM

I really need to be able to disengage the auto park system I hunt an fish tow trailers and boats from wv to outer banks of N.C. I hav to be able to open my drivers door in areas that r a bit rough and narrow if I cant fix this I will hav to get rid of this truck a 2019 ram Laramie wish this had been explained to me I may hav kept my ford lariat Dam

mike (not verified)    June 23, 2018 - 7:19PM

In reply to by Bryan (not verified)

Same issue here. I did however notice that the truck will still move with the door open as long as the seat belt is fastened. So wrapping the seat belt around the back of the seat out of the way and fastening it is one option. If you happen to wreck with your seat belt like that in this day and age you could probably sue them for not giving you the option to turn this crap off.

Chris (not verified)    May 4, 2019 - 6:20AM

In reply to by Bryan (not verified)

So, I have a 2017 Dodge Ram 1500...this stupid mf just turned off mid-drive down a dirt road that led to a cane field. I’ve never gone mud riding in my new truck (2nd Dodge Ram I’ve owned) and literally 300yds into it (going slow) the entire system failed. Idk what it is but since I got this new update, I’ve absolutely hated everything to do with any new safety features. And if one of them is causing my truck to not start on a little bumpy yet flat, dirt road then fuck dodge..I just had to walk 2 miles to get home .it’s a piece of shit and it’s time to get a new truck. I’m done defending dodge

Ron Jenkins (not verified)    September 27, 2023 - 11:20PM

In reply to by Bryan (not verified)

This page is full of all the same comments I too already made with a great deal more cussing involved.
My brand new 2023 Durango has the exact same factory installed defect. And it is indeed a defect, for all the reasons stated in this forum. All of which are correct. I had no idea this was installed on this vehicle or I would not have bought it for this reason alone. This is a serious, serious safety problem. Indeed, what if someone grabs your door handle and you can't get away because of this installed defect from Chrysler. I've been in that situation before and am extremely glad that I didn't have this vehicle under those circumstances. This is an extremely dangerous thing to drive. And not knowing a thing about it caused me a phenomenal amount of stress, grief, and choice words for Chrysler of which I've owned more than 100.
I fought for 15 minutes to figure out why I couldn't back up the last 6 inches I needed to get my trailer ramp to touch the concrete. Beat the snot out of the car in the process and was already figuring out how I was going to have them come and pick up their defective vehicle. Stop with the mindless, ignorant technology. Just because you can, does not mean you should.

Randy (not verified)    August 6, 2018 - 6:22PM

This (Safety) feature has rendered my truck useless! I have a rather large trailer and a boat.

Ever try to see how deep the boat is in the water with out opening the door?
Ever try to back a 31 foot trailer down a ninety foot down hill driveway with a turn in it?

Come on Ram THESE ARE TRUCKS let us use them as such!

EJ (not verified)    August 13, 2018 - 5:54PM

In reply to by Randy (not verified)

Simple override but takes an extra 5 seconds. I keep a 5/16 bolt in the consile pocket. Take the bolt and slide door mechanism so it thinks its closed and everything work. I keep the bolt in my hand so i remember to unlock door before i try to shut it again.

Paul (not verified)    September 1, 2018 - 11:43AM

Can,t ram just add an optional shut off switch.leave it up to the customers to decide.

Larry pilgrim (not verified)    September 27, 2018 - 8:52PM

What happens if you start to take off and about 30mph someone need to open the door and get their coat or skirt out that has been caught in the door ? Does the transmission go int park at 30mph ? Guess what happens to your transmission ?

Damon Nicholson (not verified)    December 13, 2018 - 5:36AM

In reply to by Larry pilgrim (not verified)

I was playing around with my wife and threatened to jump out of our moving 2017 Ram Tradesman truck going approximately 60mph. I WAS NOT GOING TO DO IT! My seat belt WAS fastened.
I opened the door and it didn't do anything as far as it slamming in to park. It may have shifted in to neutral but I was not driving and my wife said nothing about the truck or transmission shifting to park or acting differently in any way. FYI kinda thing.
I WOULDN'T HAVE BOUGHT THE TRUCK IF I HAD KNOWN THAT THIS WAS A SAFETY FEATURE ON THIS MODEL TRUCK. Actually feel deceived. Any lawyers out there? Is there anything that can be done to have Ram disable this VERY maddening feature?

Paul Larsen (not verified)    November 27, 2018 - 2:39PM

I have a 2016 Ram and recently learned of this safety feature at the car wash. The car wash is full service. After they vacuum your vehicle, they place it on an automated track and place it in neutral. It has never been an issue in the past. After a visit to my dealer for some service updates and recalls, it became an issue. Once the wash attendant places my truck in neutral and leaves the vehicle, it places itself in park. The truck obviously not roll along the track anymore.

Scott A (not verified)    January 15, 2019 - 11:51AM

Yep my 2015 Big Horn worked fine until the dealer did an update to it. Now auto park it is!!!! I hope someone figures out a way around it or Dodge fixes this. How about you let me put the truck in park, open my door and put it back into reverse?? C'MON MAN!

phil dirck (not verified)    January 19, 2019 - 10:50AM

I bought a 2018 RAM without being informed of this maddening feature. It is causing me considerable backing issues when my trailers are in use. The back up camera is worthless because all I see is trailer. The mirrors give me a limited view around the trailer. I often need to be able to open the door to get a clear view when backing up. I have been a loyal Mopar owner for many years and I am stuck with this for now, but If Ram continues with this feature then a Ford will be my next truck.

Doug (not verified)    January 25, 2019 - 4:47PM

There is an override lever under a panel directly above the parking brake. If you google Ram 1500 neutral override there are several videos showing location and instructions on how to use.

Randy (not verified)    February 14, 2019 - 9:40PM

FCA states that if the vehicle is a RAM or DURANGO, and it is in 4WD Low the Auto Park will be disabled. I'm sure there is someone out there with an encoder that could override the Auto Park feature. Especially if its turned off in the program for certain conditions like 4WD Low being activated.

Aaron (not verified)    March 26, 2019 - 5:34PM

2014 Dodge Ram 1500 V8
Recall mod added this feature to my truck.
Hate it thus far... throws vehicle into park even when foot on brake pedal.
1. why does it have to be at such an insane slow speed to kick into park... I need to sometimes open door to assist w/ backing up dammit! Like others have said, give us a damn option to choose!
2. If a specific fuse burns out (I forget which one) the vehicle will warn you to pull over to a full stop & park... upon doing this, the vehicle is permanently locked into park until the fuse is replaced! WTF! when this first happened to me I had to have it towed & there was no way to put it in neutral & the tow truck had to literally drag the vehicle tires screeching onto the flat top trailer! Again, WTF! What the fock ever happened to being able to put a vehicle into neutral while key is in ignition for EMERGENCY PURPOSES! If this sh!t had happened on freeway & stranded me on the road itself instead of a shoulder I would've become a safety hazard to other drivers! & there would've been no moving it out of the way because the gawddamn knob shifter fully locks itself! (I have since gotten that fuse problem fixed... by having the entire damn transmission replaced.... & haven't had problem since but always in back of my mind that it could happen again)

william dennison (not verified)    July 17, 2019 - 12:48PM

seriously thinking of ram 1500 until reading of the park assist and stop features I am going to stay with the Silverado.. thanks for the postings. appreciate...

Ken Adams (not verified)    October 26, 2019 - 10:33AM

I fish by myself 3 to 4 times a week. Since the 80's, I have used a rope, backed up to water slowly watch the boat come off the trailer and then tow the boat to the ramp by pulling forward. After the recall, my 2013 Ram 1500 locked the transmission throwing my head into the head rest and jerking my boat hard enough to move practically everything. The dealer said it was a safety feature to keep folks from running over themselves and "IT WAS THE LAW. They could not remove it! I now must put my anchor through the window and then take out through the window. Many bangs, scratches etc. have been the result.

I have a total of 5 trailers. Two are not roll-able. The ball has to be within 1/4 inch of the correct placement to lower the couplet onto the ball. The average number of trips to open the door, out of the seat, go to back, seat in the seat, close the door, move the truck is FIVE. I purchased truck in 2014 which now has 35,000 miles on it. The drivers seat looks like it has 100,000 miles on it.

I have owned 7 Chrysler / Dodge vehicles and have 2 right now. This sucks!

Steve in PA (not verified)    December 27, 2019 - 7:17PM

Just purchased a 2020 Durango with Parksense and rear brake assist. Got trapped in my garage because the parking sensors let me in but wouldn’t let me out. Going into reverse the system automatically applied the brakes. The sensors forward and rear were all barking at me. I knew it was Parksense. There’s a switch on the dash to turn it off. Did that. Still stuck. Called Dodge. Friendly folks but no clue what to do. Tried turning the engine on and off a few times. Still stuck. Finally it dawned on me. The drivers door was still open. Closed the door and the sensors turned off and I was free.

Steve (not verified)    February 28, 2020 - 1:53PM

Sorry, but I’m not sure what that issue is. I have keyless (pushbutton) start on my vehicle. This one may be a dealer item.

Bob Turso (not verified)    March 6, 2020 - 5:23PM

I am disabled and if I cannot open the drivers door all the way, I need to leave the drivers door open while I move the truck to be able to open the door fully. This feature makes this impossible. When it comes time for a new truck, the Ram may not be considered if other trucks don't have this stupid feature installed...

Lee P Sorrentino (not verified)    August 6, 2020 - 12:28PM

I have a 2014 Charger with the same 8 speed transmission. My car has the specific gear shift that led to this safety feature, as did the Jeep that killed that actor. Your Ram 1500 don't need this feature to be honest but it was needed in the Chargers and Jeeps. The difference being that my gear shift has 3 positions, a forward, a backwards and a center position. When I move the gear shift forward or backwards it always springs back into the center position. So what happens is that from Drive I push it forward and feel 3 steps as it moves through Neutral, Reverse, then Park then the handle returns to the center position once you let go of the handle (You have to look at the indicator light on the dash or the gear shift to see what is actually selected). If one were not careful and release it to soon it will only be in Reverse when they think its in Park. Add the fact that the car has a push button start/stop some people were putting their car in Reverse, thinking it was in Park and then pushing the engine stop button thinking they shut the engine off and getting out of their cars while it was still in Reverse and with the engine still running as the stop switch doesn't shut off the engine in Reverse. This safety feature protects people by switching to Park if they open their door while in Reverse (or Drive) if they are going under a certain speed. So now you know the thinking of why this is in the Rams with that gear shift.

A (not verified)    August 16, 2020 - 12:07AM

In reply to by Lee P Sorrentino (not verified)

I’m desperately searching for an override. My new work truck has this feature. I was assaulted last week. A pan handler was harassing me in a parking lot. I tried to ignore him and leave. I jumped in my truck put it in gear... was rolling away and he grabbed the door handle. My truck slammed to a stop. I was so flustered and scared that I couldn’t think straight to go through disengaging it. I was arguing with him and trying to get the truck moving at the same time. I was helpless and confused trying to get away. I got loud enough to get him to back off but honestly I was a sitting duck and unable to drive away with my instincts. I’m really upset about this “safety” feature. It could have gotten me killed. I want to be able to drive with my own brain and fight or flight abilities. I was left with only fight and am not okay with it.

A (not verified)    August 16, 2020 - 5:08PM

Please help! If anyone knows of a off market work around I need it. I was being harassed in a parking lot recently. I have a brand new Ram 1500 that my company graciously provided me. I ignored the man, tried to go on without engaging him. I lost sight of him for a minute getting into my truck. I felt like I was getting into my safe space, I quickly slammed the door and twisted the knob into drive. I started rolling then it slammed to a stop... he had pulled my door open. That slight second where I was trying to figure out why my truck stopped gave him more time. My mind was racing trying to put two and two together. Yes I had noticed this feature before and found it very annoying but knew the many steps to take to bypass it. But I didn’t have that kind of time and when you are in the fight or flight mode that is the last thing you should have to worry about. I couldn’t slam my door, he was blocking it. I couldn’t get the brake off... every time I put it in drive it flipped itself back to park. I literally felt 100% vulnerable and helpless. None of my natural and long time professionally trained driving instincts could save me. I specialize in safety... this was the most unsafe I have felt in a long time. I couldn’t fly so I fought with words to try and get attention and help hoping he would back away. He finally did. I drove away a complete flustered traumatized mess realizing had it been in a different place where no one else was around he could have Had me pulled out of my disabled truck and done who knows what. I need to think and drive for myself. The smarter we try to make trucks the dumber and more vulnerable we make people. Please if anyone knows a secret work around, even a wire to cut please tell me. I’ve read the manual, I’ve talked to a tech... I know all the legal answers. I need something else.

Jason Beasley (not verified)    September 1, 2022 - 4:54PM

I just aligned a 2016 Challenger with this stupid autopark feature and the bypass lever did not work. I pulled it up and the transmission still autoparked. If this car ever dies in traffic the owner will not be able to push it to safety and could cause an accident. I've actually seen a Challenger stuck in traffic because of this "safety" feature. The owner was almost killed trying to figure it out. This feature is more dangerous than not having it.