03-07-2011, 12:19 PM
Dodge Ram Forum Senior Member!
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Johnson City, TN
Vehicle: 2004 Dakota Club Cab 4X4
Trim Level: SXT
Color: Bright Silver
Engine: 2002-2008 226ci (3.7L) Magnum/PowerTech V6 215hp 235lb/ft
Rep Power: 15
I'm frequently asked about fluid change and maintainence intervals for Ram trucks so I decided to write up a schedule based on my personal recommendations based on my experiences and observations. These are the guidelines I use for my own personal truck, so I practice what I'm preaching here. I'll also recommend a couple brands of fluids and filters but by no means should anyone limit themselves to these brands if they find another good product. I use synthetic fluids everywhere in the truck. Under NO circumstances should any reccomendation here exceed the intervals listed in the owners manual.
Engine oil - I change mine every 5k miles along with the filter. I use Mobil 1 5W-30 oil exclusively although there are plenty of good oils on the market.Be sure to use the correct viscosity.
Oil filters - I generally stick by Wix but will use Mobil 1, Purolater, Napa Gold (made by Wix), or K&N if I find a good deal on them. I avoid Fram and generic filters unless I know for sure who makes them.
Greasable joints - One or two shots every oil change unless the boots appear full.
Automatic Transmission fluid - I flush mine every 30k miles. This is a overkill, I know, since the fluid is designed to go 100k miles. I don't recommend going over 60k and if you do a lot of towing or heaving hauling, I recommed every 30k. Since filters rarely clog unless there's a transmission problem, I only change mine every other service. I strongly recommend factory filters for this service.
Manual transmission fluid - Every 30k miles with the specified fluid type.
Transfer case - Every 30k miles with the correct fluid type.
Differentials - Every 30k miles but more frequently if much heavy towing or hauling is done. If you tow/haul a lot with a 4WD but don't use 4WD very often, change the rear fluid around 15k and the front fluid at 30k.
Power steering fluid - Every 30k miles.
Brake fluid - Every 30k or whenever I perform any brake service.
Coolant - regardless of the 5 year 100k mile claim, I will not let mine stay in that long; I've seen too many cooling systems start to look nasty much sooner than that. I change mine every 3 years regardless of mileage.
Air filter - Inspect every oil change. Cleane/change as needed.
Cabin air filters - As needed; generally once a year.
Spark plugs - Every 30k miles with NGK. You can go longer but I'd recommend no more than 40k miles because that's when gap erosion becomes noticable to the naked eye. Be sure to apply dielectric grease to the boots. I also recommend antiseize on the threads.
PCV valve - Inspect each oil change and clean or change as needed.
Fuel system service - Once a year. This includes removing and cleaning the throttle body and IAC if equipped.
Decarbon valves - Once a year with Mopar combustion chamber cleaner.
Fuel system additives - One bottle in the tank bi-monthly.
Fuel filter (gas) - Not serviceable except on older models. Change annually if equipped.
Fuel filter (diesel) - Every other oil change if the truck is primarily used on road. For frequent off road use or in dirty environments such as construction sites, I recommend every oil change.
Tire rotation - I rotate and balance mine every oil change. While balancing may not always be needed, I strongly recommend cross rotation at this interval or whenever abnormal wear is noticed.
Alignments - Whenever I notice any kind of lead or pull not related to a tire condition, if signs of abnormal wear appear, after any suspension/steering work, or when new rubber is put on.
Tire pressure - At least once a month or if any kind of abnormal handling appears. More often in drastically changing weather conditions.
Hinge lubrication - Once a year with Wurth HHS 2000 lubricant. It sprays as a liquid but sets into a grease. It's pricey and hard to find in stores but a superior product for getting in hard to reach places.