dodge ram check gauges alert

Check Gauges Dodge Ram 1500 [Meaning & Fix]

Seeing the red “check gauges” alert on your Dodge Ram instrument cluster can be a bit alarming, especially if you’ve never seen it before.

Fortunately, Over the years working as an Auto technician, I’ve come across many different situations where the check gauges light comes on.

In this article, I’ll go over some of the most common causes for this alert and how to fix them.

Let’s get to it!

What Does “Check Gauges” Mean on a Dodge Ram?

In simplest terms, when the “check gauges” alert illuminates on your Dodge Ram 1500 dashboard, it’s trying to alert you to a potential issue.

This usually means that one or more of the gauges in your truck are registering readings that are out of the normal range.

It could be an issue with the electrical system or perhaps an indication that one of your vehicle’s vital fluids, like engine oil, transmission fluid, or antifreeze, is running low or has dried up (Leading Causes Below).

Important Gauges on the Dodge Ram 1500

Now that I have briefly explained what the warning message means, let’s look at the important gauges.

The main gauges on your Ram Pickup are that are on the Dodge Ram 1500:

  • Coolant Temperature Gauge
  • Engine Oil Pressure Gauge
  • Battery Voltage Gauge
  • Fuel Gauge

Dodge Ram Check Gauges Message Leading Causes

Now that you know what the “check gauges” really mean on your Dodge and the main gauges of your Ram Pickup,

Let’s look at the leading causes of this warning message based on my experience as a mechanic (Ordere d From Most Common to Least).

1. Faulty ECM/PCM

The most common cause of the “check gauges” warning message is a faulty ECM/PCM (Electronic Control Module).

The ECM controls your engine’s performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions, including the voltage regulator.

If this component fails(which is pretty common on Dodge trucks),

it can cause the check gauges alert to come on since the voltage regulator is integrated into the ECM.

2. Bad Battery

The second most common cause of this error message is a bad battery.

A weak or failing battery can cause the “check gauges” light to come on in your Dodge Ram 1500.

The battery provides power to all of the truck’s gauges and sensors.

If it is not supplying adequate voltage, it may cause erroneous readings from gauges and sensors, triggering the “check gauges” warning light.

A battery no longer capable of holding a full charge or that is drained too low can cause the gauges to malfunction and display improper readings.

The battery on your Dodge Ram typically lasts 3-5 years before needing replacement,

If yours is over 3 years old, the chances are it needs a replacement

Other things related to the battery can also cause this message, including:

  1. Corroded Battery Terminals
  2. Loose Battery Terminals
  3. Battery Wiring issue

3. Low Engine Oil

Low engine oil can cause low oil pressure, which can lead to the “check gauges” message when the pressure drops too low.

The engine will be starved of oil, which can cause damage to your engine and other components.

Low motor oil on your vehicle can be caused by things like leaks, not topping off the oil, or running your engine low on oil.

A bad oil pressure sensor can also cause this light as well, and it’s prone to failing on Ram Trucks.

4. The Coolant Level is too low

Another possibility is that the coolant level is too low, causing the engine coolant temperature gauge reading to be outside the normal range.

Since a low coolant level will lead to a high coolant temperature on your Dodge Ram.

This triggers the “check gauges” light. Low coolant could be due to a leak in the cooling system or simply needing to top it off.

5. Faulty Alternator

The alternator on your Truck is responsible for charging the battery and powering some of the electrical components in your vehicle.

If the alternator is not working properly, it won’t be able to charge the battery properly.

This will cause the battery voltage to drop drastically and the “check gauges” alert to come on.

6. Failing Fuel Pump

The sixth and final common cause of the check gauges warning your Dodge Ram is a bad fuel pump.

The fuel gauge on your truck is a mechanical device that moves up and down as the fuel level in your tank changes.

If the fuel pump is not working properly, it won’t be able to move when necessary, which will cause your check gauges light to come on.

How to Fix and Reset Dodge Ram “Check Gauges” Alert

So, what should you do? Firstly, while the engine is running, carefully observe all the gauges on the dashboard.

Identify any that aren’t displaying their typical readings. This will give you a clue about what might be causing the warning.

Here are things to look at depending on the malfunctioning gauge:

Battery Gauge Out of Range:

  1. Get the ECM Checked
  2. Check the Battery Voltage and replace it if needed
  3. Check the battery terminals for corrosion or looseness.
  4. Test the alternator, if it reads 12.5 volts or less then get it replaced.

Engine Oil Gauge out of Range:

  1. Check the Oil Level and Top up if needed
  2. Ensure the Oil Pump is Working Properly
  3. Check the Engine oil pressure sensor 
  4. Look for any signs of oil leaks and fix if there are any

Coolant Temperature Gauge out of Range:

  1. Check your coolant level and add if it is below the minimum mark
  2. See if you don’t have any coolant leak somewhere. If not, you’re good to go.

Fuel Level Gauge out of Range:

Lastly, if the fuel gauge on your Dodge Ram 1500 is the one that is out of the typical range, then I recommend having the fuel pump checked.

If all gauges of your Pickup look normal, but you are still getting the “check gages” warning, then it’s likely the battery voltage was too low, or the ECM is failing.

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