Ford F150: Basic Maintenance Schedule

If you want to make sure your Ford F-150 runs perfectly, forget about the air freshener and focus on the basic maintenance.

By Pizzaman711 - October 10, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014).

General routine maintenance can be the difference between your Ford F-150 lasting 50k miles or 250k miles. It needs to be done on schedule and luckily you can do the majority of it yourself. Most of the maintenance requires a basic tool set and patience. If you are ever in doubt if you need to do something or when to do it, refer to your Owner's Manual.

MileageMaintenanceInspections Needed
10,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Tire alignment
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake System (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
20,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Tire alignment
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake System (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
30,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • Brake fluid
  • Tire alignment
  • Clean Mass Airflow Sensor
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, and lines)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
40,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Tire alignment
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
50,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Tire alignment
  • Timing belt
  • Clean throttle body
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
60,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake fluid
  • Tire alignment
  • Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, and lines)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
70,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Tire alignment
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
80,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Spark plugs
  • Tire alignment
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
90,000
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Engine air filter
  • Brake fluid
  • Tire alignment
  • Clean Mass Air Flow Sensor
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, and lines)
  • Cooling system (hoses and fluid)
  • Wheels
100,000
  • Engine coolant
  • Engine oil
  • Oil filter
  • Tire alignment
  • Timing belt
  • Clean throttle body
  • Drive belts
  • Transmission fluid
  • Brake system (pads, rotors, drums, lines, and fluid)
  • Cooling system (hoses)
  • Wheels

Engine Oil

  • Change every 3-7k miles or 3 months
  • Check level biweekly using dipstick
  • Refer to owner’s manual for type and amount, usually 5w20 or 5w30
  • Requires socket set, oil filter wrench, and drain bucket

Oil keeps your engine lubricated to perform its best. When it gets old it starts to break down and lose its lubricating properties. Once this happens, parts in the engine will begin to overheat due to the friction and will eventually lead to the engine seizing.

(Related Article: How to Change Engine Oil - Ford-trucks.com)

Transmission Fluid

  • Change every 60k miles
  • Check level monthly using dipstick
  • Refer to owner’s manual for proper ATF fluid to use
  • Requires socket set, new filter, and drain bucket

Like engine oil, this keeps your transmission both lubricated and cool. Without it, transmission components will wear against each other and eventually break destroying the transmission. Changing this fluid is a bit more challenging than your engine oil, but definitely doable for the weekend mechanic.

Related Articles

Engine Coolant

  • Change every 75-100k miles if needed
  • Check level bi-weekly using markings on reservoir
  • Motorcraft Gold coolant
  • Requires socket set, screwdrivers, drain bucket, and distilled water (if coolant isn’t pre-mixed)

Without coolant, your engine will overheat and die very quickly. It’s important to make sure your coolant level is within the markings on the reservoir, especially if you live in a hot climate. Likewise getting a proper mixture of 50-50 antifreeze to water is important as well. The antifreeze will protect your engine from below freezing temperatures, without it hoses and fittings could freeze over and crack causing leaks.

(Related Article: How to Flush Your Radiator - Ford-trucks.com)

Brake Fluid

  • Change every 30-50k miles
  • Check level bi-weekly using markings on reservoir
  • DOT 3 Fluid
  • Requires socket set, screwdrivers, rubber tubing, drain bucket, and an assistant

This is a more involved task and not something I recommend for the beginning mechanic, because a mistake could mean redoing it all over again. Your brake fluid is what makes your brakes work by using the fluid pressure to compress the pistons on the brake rotors, without it your brakes can fail.

(Related Article: How to Bleed Your Brakes - Ford-trucks.com)

Washer Fluid

  • Just top off when it’s low/out
  • I recommend a name brand product with Rain-X in it
  • No tools required

There’s nothing worse than having a bug hit your windshield and your windshield washer fluid being out meaning you can’t get it off. Running without it won’t cause your truck to breakdown, but it can make it harder to see out the windshield if it’s dirty.

Power Steering Fluid

  • Just top off when it’s low
  • Check monthly using markings on reservoir
  • Refer to owner’s manual for proper type
  • No tools required

Your power steering pump is linking to your main drive belt, so keeping the fluid full is a necessity. If the fluid starts to run low you’ll be greeted by a whining sound when you try to turn the steering wheel. If it runs completely dry it can cause the pump to seize which can break your drive belt, leaving the truck inoperable.

Tires

  • Check biweekly
  • Rotate every oil change
  • Alignment every 5-10k
  • Replace if necessary with the proper size tire (I recommend replacing the tire beside it at the same time to prevent uneven wear)
  • How to Rotate Tires

Without tires, your truck won’t go anywhere so it’s important to make sure they’re in good shape. A tire blowing out on the interstate can be deadly. You’ll want to:

  • Inspect for uneven tire wear – this can be a sign of a bad alignment or wrong air pressure in the tire
  • Check tread depth – the penny head test can tell you when it’s time to replace
  • Check air pressure – this can be trial and error if not using the OEM spec tires, otherwise refer to air pressure stated on the door jamb sticker

(Related Article: How to Check Your Tire Tread - Ford-trucks.com)

Spark Plugs

  • Check monthly
  • Change every 60-80k miles or when bad (I recommend doing all at once)
  • Motorcraft products
  • Requires a socket set with a spark plug socket

Spark plugs let your motor convert your gasoline into power by providing the spark for it to burn. Faulty spark plugs can lead to misfires which can lead to damage cylinders and blown motors.

(Related Article: How to Replace Your Spark Plugs - Ford-trucks.com)

Pro Tip

Always listen carefully to your brake pads, because pad replacement depends on the driver, driving conditions, and weather. When your truck comes to a stop, listen to a small whistle from your brakes.

Always replace your pads when they start making noise. If you don't replace them when they need to, it will ruin the rotors and it could become pricey to replace.

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