Having a limited-slip differential in your truck can be quite useful, especially if you like to go off-roading.
But how do you know if your Ram 1500 has a limited slip?
The easiest way to know if your Ram 1500 has a limited-slip differential is to look in the owner’s manual or on the build sheet. Or, you can jack your truck and spin one of the tires. If the opposite tire spins in the same direction, you have a limited-slip differential.
In this article, I will describe what a limited slip differential is, whether all Ram 1500s have a limited slip, as well as four methods you can attempt to find out if your Ram has a limited slip.
Then, I will detail three benefits of a limited-slip differential, how much it costs to install a limited slip, and whether it is the best differential for snow and ice.
What Is a Limited-Slip Differential?
A limited-slip differential is an improvement on the more common open differential.
And to understand limited-slip differential, you first have to know what an open differential is.
You see, when vehicles turn corners, the outside wheels have to travel a slightly longer distance than the inside wheels.
So, if all the wheels moved at the exact same speed, the outside wheels would skitter during turning.
But luckily, an open differential makes it so that the outside wheels move a little bit faster than the inside ones, allowing everything to run smoothly.
And vehicles with limited slip differential act like open differentials most of the time, except for when one tire loses traction.
When this happens, the vehicle stops sending power to that wheel so that it doesn’t just keep spinning.
At the same time, the limited slip delivers more power to the wheel with the most traction, which helps the vehicle move more effectively in low traction road conditions.
Do All Ram 1500s Have a Limited-Slip Differential?
No, not all Ram 1500s have a limited-slip differential.
Some have an open differential.
4 Methods to Determine if Your Ram 1500 Has a Limited-Slip Differential
There are a few different ways to determine whether your Ram 1500 has a limited-slip differential, and I will detail them in the sections below.
Method One: Check Your Owner’s Manual
If you check the owner’s manual for your Ram, it may tell you whether your specific vehicle has a limited-slip differential.
This method is the easiest, but unfortunately, Ram 1500 owner’s manuals do not usually provide this information.
Yet, if your manual does have info on limited slips, you will find it under the “Starting and Operating” chapter.
If you no longer have your owner’s manual, you can find an online version here.
Method Two: Read Your Build Sheet
A factory build sheet is a piece of paper that factory workers use to know what they need to install in a vehicle.
As such, your build sheet will tell you everything included in your Ram.
To find your build sheet, you have two options.
The first is to search your car because sometimes the build sheet will be in the vehicle when you purchase it, typically in the glove box or tucked inside the owner’s manual.
However, in most cases, the build sheet will not be in the car because the factory or dealership will have thrown it away.
If this is the case, you should call Ram’s customer service number to get your build sheet.
Below are the Ram customer service numbers:
- USA – 1-866-726-4636
- Canada – 1-800-361-3700
If you need the Ram customer service line for another country, you can find that number here.
Once you have your build sheet, look for either “Limited-Slip Differential” or “Anti-Spin Differential.”
If you find either of these terms on your build sheet, your Ram 1500 has a limited slip.
But, if your build sheet does not mention differential, it almost certainly has an open differential.
Method Three: Check the Wheels
Another option is to lift your truck up and check the wheels.
To do this, you can either use jacks or an automotive lift.
Whichever you choose, just make sure both your rear wheels are off the ground.
Then, spin one of the rear wheels.
If the other back wheel spins in the same direction, your Ram has a limited-slip differential.
Method Four: Perform a Dirt Road Test
Although this test may not be very accurate, it is a possible way to determine if your vehicle has a limited-slip differential.
To perform this test, you first need to take your Ram 1500 to a dirt road with a long straight away.
Then, press down hard on the gas pedal for about four seconds.
Now, get out and look at the tire tracks.
If both tire tracks look the same, your Ram has a limited-slip differential.
And, of course, when performing this test, ensure you take all necessary safety precautions to prevent harm to yourself, other people, or your vehicle.
3 Benefits of a Limited-Slip Differential
Below I will list some of the top benefits of having a limited-slip differential in your Ram 1500.
Benefit One: More Traction
Probably the biggest benefit of a limited-slip differential is the better traction it provides.
A limited-slip differential makes it less likely you will get stuck in rough terrain because when one drive wheel slips, the other makes up for it.
Limited slip also increases your traction on paved roads for better performance.
Furthermore, if your wheels start to slip on ice or water, the limited-slip differential will help you regain control much more quickly than the standard open differential.
Benefit Two: Less Tire Wear
Since your tires won’t spin in place as much when you have a limited-slip differential, you won’t get as much wear on your tires.
And, of course, less tire wear will save you money because you won’t have to change them as often.
Having less wear on your tires is also safer because it gives you even more traction on the road.
Benefit Three: More Power
Since a truck with limited slip uses wheel power more efficiently, it can use its engine power on other aspects of performance instead.
How Much Does a Limited-Slip Differential Cost?
If your Ram 1500 does not already have a limited-slip differential, you can add one without paying an exorbitant amount of money.
Typically, adding a limited-slip differential will cost $700-$1,000, which is not a tremendous amount of money when compared to similar upgrades.
Is a Limited-Slip Differential Best for Snow and Ice?
Although a limited-slip differential will fare better in snow and ice than an open differential, it is not your best option.
If you often drive in very snowy or icy conditions, your best bet is a locking differential.
Locking differentials differ from limited slips because they give every wheel the same amount of torque instead of just the rear wheels.
When all the wheels have the same torque, you get a fixed axle, which is ideal for severe snow and ice.
The easiest way to tell if your Ram 1500 has a limited-slip differential is to look in the owner’s manual or check the build sheet.
You can also lift the rear wheels off the ground and see if they spin in the same direction, or you can perform a dirt road test.
Table of Contents
- What Is a Limited-Slip Differential?
- Do All Ram 1500s Have a Limited-Slip Differential?
- 4 Methods to Determine if Your Ram 1500 Has a Limited-Slip Differential
- 3 Benefits of a Limited-Slip Differential
- How Much Does a Limited-Slip Differential Cost?
- Is a Limited-Slip Differential Best for Snow and Ice?