2021 RAM 1500 Owners Manual - AUTOMATIC TRANSMISSION


You must press and hold the brake pedal while shifting out of PARK.





This vehicle is equipped with an Ignition Park Interlock which requires the transmission to be in PARK before the ignition can be turned to the OFF mode. This helps the driver avoid inadvertently leaving the vehicle without placing

the transmission in PARK. This system also locks the transmission in PARK whenever the ignition is in the OFF mode.

The transmission is NOT locked in PARK when the ignition is in the ACC mode (even though the engine will be off). Ensure that the transmission is in PARK, and the ignition is OFF (not in ACC mode) before exiting the vehicle.




This vehicle is equipped with a Brake Transmission Shift Interlock (BTSI) system that holds the transmission gear selector in PARK unless the brakes are applied. To shift the transmission out of PARK, the engine must be running and the brake pedal must be pressed.

The brake pedal must also be pressed to shift from NEUTRAL into DRIVE or REVERSE when the vehicle is stopped or moving at low speeds.


The transmission is controlled using a rotary electronic gear selector located on the instrument panel. The transmission gear range (PRND) is displayed both above the gear selector and in the instrument cluster. To select a gear range, simply rotate the gear selector. You must press the brake pedal to shift the transmission out of PARK (or NEUTRAL, when the vehicle is stopped or moving at low speeds). To shift past multiple gear ranges at once (such as PARK to DRIVE), simply rotate the gear selector to the appropriate detent. Select the DRIVE range for normal driving.

In the event of a mismatch between the gear selector position and the actual transmission gear (for example, driver selects PARK while driving), the position indicator will blink continu- ously until the selector is returned to the proper position, or the requested shift can be completed.

The electronically-controlled transmission adapts its shift schedule based on driver inputs, along with environmental and road conditions.

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 gear selector has only PARK, REVERSE, NEUTRAL, and DRIVE positions.

Manual downshifts can be made using the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control. Pressing the GEAR-/GEAR+ switches (on the steering wheel) while in the DRIVE position will select the highest available transmission gear, and will display that gear limit in the instrument cluster as 1, 2, 3, etc page 159. Some models will display both the selected gear limit, and the actual current gear, while in ERS mode.

Gear Ranges

Do not press the accelerator pedal when shifting from PARK or NEUTRAL into another gear range.

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 exiting the vehicle in this range.

When parking on a hill, apply the parking brake before shifting the transmission to 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.

On four-wheel drive vehicles be sure that the transfer case is in a drive position.

When exiting the vehicle, always:

    Apply the parking brake.
    Shift the transmission into PARK.
    Turn the engine off.
    Remove the key fob from the vehicle.


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

    Look at the transmission gear position display and verify that it indicates the PARK position (P), and is not blinking.

    With brake pedal released, verify that the gear selector 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.

Apply the parking brake and shift the transmission into PARK if you must exit the vehicle.

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 all forward gears.

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 a heavy trailer), select TOW/HAUL mode or use the Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control to select a lower gear range page 159. Under these conditions, using a lower gear range will improve performance and extend transmission life by reducing excessive shifting and heat buildup.

During extremely cold temperatures (-22°F

[-30°C] or below), transmission operation may be modified depending on engine and transmission temperature as well as vehicle speed. 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 may operate only in certain gears, or may not shift at all. Vehicle performance may be severely degraded and the engine may stall. In some situations, the transmission may not re-engage if the engine is turned off and restarted. The Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL) may be illuminated. A message in the instrument cluster will inform the driver of the more serious conditions, and indicate what actions may be necessary.

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

In cases where the instrument cluster message indicates the transmission may not re-engage after engine shutdown, perform this procedure only in a desired location (preferably, at an authorized dealer).

    Stop the vehicle.
    Shift the transmission into PARK, if possible. If not, shift the transmission to NEUTRAL.
    Push and hold the ignition switch until the engine turns off.
    Wait approximately 30 seconds.
    Restart the engine.
    Shift into the desired gear range. If the problem is no longer detected, the transmission will return to normal operation.

Even if the transmission can be reset, we recommend that you visit an authorized dealer at your earliest possible convenience. An autho- rized dealer has diagnostic equipment to assess the condition of your transmission. If the transmission cannot be reset, an authorized dealer service is required.

Electronic Range Select (ERS) Operation

The Electronic Range Select (ERS) shift control 4

allows the driver to limit the highest available gear when the transmission is in DRIVE and ERS mode is not active. For example, if you set the transmission gear limit to FOURTH gear, the transmission will not shift above FOURTH gear (except to prevent engine overspeed), but will shift through the lower gears normally.

You can switch between DRIVE and ERS mode at any vehicle speed. When the transmission gear selector is in DRIVE, the transmission will operate automatically, shifting between all available gears. Tapping the - button (on the steering wheel) will activate ERS mode, display the current gear in the instrument cluster, and set that gear as the top available gear. Once in ERS mode, tapping the - or + button will change the top available gear.

    — Shift Up (+)
    — Shift Down (–)

To exit ERS mode, simply push and hold the + button until the gear limit display disappears from the instrument cluster.

Select TOW/HAUL mode when driving in conditions such as: driving in hilly areas, towing a trailer, carrying a heavy load, etc. This mode will improve performance and reduce the potential for transmission overheating or failure due to excessive shifting.

The “TOW/HAUL Indicator Light” will illuminate in the instrument cluster to indicate that TOW/ HAUL mode has been activated. Pushing the switch a second time restores normal operation. Normal operation is always the default at engine start-up. If TOW/HAUL mode is desired, the switch must be pushed each time the engine is started.

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