Ford F-150/F-250: How to Change Your Oil

Learn to change your F-150's oil yourself and save hundreds of dollars a year on mechanic labor fees.

By Pizzaman711 - November 12, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 and F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

Let the engine cool for 3-4 hours before you do this. Otherwise, the oil coming out can be hot and give you some pretty nasty burns. Engine oil allows the spinning, metal components of your engine to slide over each other without damage. The oil takes damage instead. Worn out oil doesn't lubricate very well, which means those hot, spinning, metal components start doing damage to each other. This is why oil should be changed every 10,000 miles or sooner according to Ford. It may take you a while to hit that number depending on how often you drive, in which case you should change it every 3-7 months. Still, you should check your oil at every gas stop. If your oil is pitch black, it's most likely time for a change. Diesel engines use different weights of oil compared to gasoline engines, so be careful to choose the right one if you're working on a F-250 or Super Duty.

There are a few reasons it's recommended to change the oil yourself:

  • Certainty that the right type and amount of oil is used
  • It's easier to keep track of how much oil goes in each time to see if you're burning/losing oil
  • It's generally cheaper

Materials Needed

  • Proper type and amount of oil (refer to owner's manual)
  • New oil filter
  • Socket set
  • Paper towels
  • Funnel
  • Jack and jack stand (depending if you can slide under your truck without raising it or not)
  • Drain container (two recommended)

Step 1 - Drain old oil

Again, be sure to allow ample engine cooling before you begin. Heated oil can get very hot and you don't want to handle hot oil.

  • If necessary, block the rear wheels and raise the truck using the jack. Support the truck with jack stands. Never crawl under a vehicle that isn't supported by jack stands.
  • There will likely be a several rubber panels underneath your truck if it's new. They're there to protect the engine and underbody of dust and detritrus, but they're also in the way of you getting to the oil filter and oil pan drain plug. The following pictures are from an F-150 Ecoboost, but the steps will be similar in other years and models. Every Ford truck engine will have an oil pan on the the bottom and a plug that will allow you to drain it.
  • The oil drain plug is located farther back beneath the truck and is protected by a black rubber mat. It's held in place by four thumb screws. Twist them counterclockwise a few turns and then pull the mat from beneath the truck. You'll now have access to the oil pan plug.
  • F-150 Rubber Dust Cover
    Figure 1. This black rubber panel protects the oil pan.
  • F-150 Rubber Dust Cover
    Figure 2. The thumbscrews are grey. Twist to release panel.
  • Figure 3. Rubber panel removed from trucks.
  • Locate the oil drain plug on the oil pan underneath the truck (if you're unsure, your owners manual should tell you its location).
  • Select the proper size socket for the drain plug.
  • Line the area underneath the drain plug with a decent amount of paper towels. This makes clean up a lot easier.
  • Place your drain container underneath the plug.
  • Slowly loosen the drain plug with the socket until it starts dripping oil. Using one hand, slowly unscrew the plug. Align the drain container with your other hand to make sure it's catching all the oil.
  • Figure 4. Remove this plug and oil will flow freely from the pan towards the passenger side.
  • Figure 5. This is the oil pan of an 2014 F-250 6.7 Power Stroke Diesel. The pan might look different, but the procedure is the same.

This is where having two drain containers comes in handy. Due to the pressure in the system, when you remove the filter more oil will come out through the drain plug while it's coming out of the filter port. If you only have one container, you can close up the drain plug, drain the filter, and then re-open the plug to get the rest. If you have two containers, you can leave it draining from the plug while you drain the filter; this is the preferred method.

Step 2 - Replace oil filter

The small rubber flap between the radiator and the rest of underbody is held tight with two white thumb screws.

  • Simply twist them 90 degrees counter-clockwise to release them.
  • Pull the flap down and out of the way to access the oil filter.
  • Figure 6. Twist the white thumbscrews counter-clockwise.
  • Figure 7. Pull the rubber back to reveal oil filter (the white semi-circle in center of photo).
  • Figure 8. Another angle of the oil filter access.
  • Figure 9. The red arrow is pointing towards the oil filter.
  • Locate your oil filter (it looks like a small coffee can). Line underneath with paper towels and align your drain bucket.
  • Using your hand, unscrew the filter. Be prepared, as oil will begin to run down the sides of the filter. The filter will also still have oil in it, so it may be heavier than you expect.
  • While the oil is draining from the filter port, drain the oil out of the filter and then dispose of the filter properly.
  • At this time, it's best to let it drain for a while, just to be sure as much oil as possible gets out. Once it comes to a pretty slow drip and you've drained from the drain plug again (if you only used one container), go ahead and re-install the drain plug and install the new filter.

Pro Tip

Be careful not to over-tighten the drain plug and only hand tighten the filter; both of these have threads that are rather easy to strip.

Step 3 - Fill up with new oil

Locate your oil cap under the hood and remove it; be sure to know where your oil dipstick is, too. Because it's pretty hard to completely drain every drop of oil, even though you bought the recommend amount, chances are you won't use it all.

  • Insert your clean funnel into the oil fill tube (where you removed the oil cap). Fill up the oil to 1 quart less than the recommended amount.
  • Start the truck, let it run for about 10-15 seconds, then turn it off.
  • Using the dipstick, check to see if you need to add oil. If you do, add in small increments and repeat step 3 until the oil level is in the acceptable range on the dipstick.
  • Once the oil level is in the acceptable range, re-install the oil cap.
F-150 Oil Cap
Figure 10. Remove this cap and pour fresh oil (funnel recommended).

Pro Tip

Be sure to use the correct oil for you engine! The recommended weight will change depending on how frequently you use your truck in sub-freezing temperatures. Here's a little cheat sheet for reference:

  • For diesel engines (Ford F-250 and Super Duties): 15W-40
  • For gasoline engines (Ford F-150 and Super Duties): 5W-20

(Related Article: How to Choose the Right Oil - Ford-Trucks.com)

Step 4 - Clean up

Properly dispose of your oil; don't dump it out in the woods or a storm drain. Depending on your state, they'll have different places you can dispose of it including local auto parts stores, mechanic shops, and certain landfills that have designated containers.

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