Ford F-150: Tough Maintenance Tips for Your Rugged Truck
It may have been a product of the post-World War II era, but the Ford F-150 remains a favorite of today's truck drivers. And although it has evolved from being a purely utilitarian ride when it started to being a modern pickup today, the F-150 has been able to retain the pragmatism that has characterized it right from the start.
If you keep this rugged vehicle in your garage as your daily workhorse or your weekend companion, and you want to keep it functioning well, here are some simple things you can do:
- Add some cover to your truck bed.
Whatever cargo you carry on your truck bed, it needs to be protected from damaging elements such as rainwater. In the same manner, your metal truck bed has to be kept dry and clean to prevent rusting. The right tonneau cover will go a long way in keeping both your cargo and truck bed safe. You can choose between hard and soft tonneau covers according to your preferred level of protection and convenience. There are roll-up covers, foldable covers, sliding covers—the options are almost endless.
Do not bite more than you can chew. Or in truck language: do not carry more than your Ford F-150 can handle. If you often load heavy cargo in your truck bed, you need to determine the maximum weight your truck can carry to ensure that you do not go beyond that weight. Otherwise, it won't be long before your truck buckles under the weight.
To do the math, just determine your truck's gross vehicle weight (GVW) and curb weight (CW), and then subtract the latter from the former. Your trucks GVW determines its total allowed weight when packed up, with passengers and all fluid loaded. The figure is often found in the truck's doorframe or in the vehicle manual. Meanwhile, CW is the weight of the vehicle on its own (passengers are not included but all fluids are, including a full tank of gas). When you subtract the CW from the GVW, you can determine the maximum weight your truck can handle.
Your truck is a giant machine, with metallic parts grinding against each other as the pickup runs—you can just imagine the amount of work that happens and the amount of heat produced as a result. Without your engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant, and all other automotive liquids, your truck will break down under the heat.
Therefore, it's important that you top up all your vehicle fluids at the correct interval as indicated in your truck owner's manual. Aside from topping up, you also need to regularly check on your filters to ensure that they are clean and working well with no clogs to block off fluid flow.
All the mentioned tips are very simple and do not require excessive work on your part. By incorporating the correct auto maintenance habits in your day-to-day automotive activities, you'll be able to keep your Ford F-150 in tiptop shape for many more years to come.
The Ford F-150: America’s Pickup Truck
When it comes to the quintessential American pickup, nothing beats the Ford F-150. A variant of the Ford F-Series line of full-size trucks that date back to the middle of the 20th century, the F-150 has been the best-selling automobile in the US for 30 consecutive years. And the secret to its resounding success is in its capability to become a rugged workhorse that adapts to various tasks. So whether it is for hauling, towing, or simply getting from point A to point B, the Ford F-150 is the vehicle of choice for millions of Americans.
1948-1975: The F-Series
The Ford F-150 can trace its lineage back to the first F-Series truck – the Ford Bonus-Built – manufactured in 1948, but it was not until 1975 that the F-150 was formally introduced. Filling in the gap between the Ford F-100 and the F-250, the F-150 was meant to replace the former as the standard F-Series truck due to stricter emissions requirements. The first F-150s were outfitted with straight-six engines, though these were eventually replaced by the Ford FE, Windsor, and 335 V8 in later years.
1980 -1990: Further improvements
In 1980, the F-150 underwent a major redesign with a larger, more aerodynamic form. The hood was slanted more to the rear, the grille with a cleaner appearance, and the sides with a more chiseled look and a flatter accent groove. The interior also received an upgrade with 10% more interior space. The F-150 saw further changes as well in 1987, with anti-lock brakes as a standard feature and a power-boosting fuel injection system. The exterior was also upgraded with flush headlights, a simpler grille design, and more streamlined front fenders, hood, and bumper, while the interior received a revised dashboard design with more readable gauges and a larger glove box.
With more focus shifting to aerodynamics, the 1992 model of F-150 had evolutionary changes particularly in its exterior. The nose was smoothed out with the front light clusters and bumper ends angled to the rear'
Aero mirrors and a revised tailgate design completed the new F-150. The interior didn’t escape scrutiny either, with new instrument panel configuration, plush seats, door trim, and standard three-point rear seatbelts. The F-150 received interior safety upgrades in 1994 with driver’s side airbags, side door beams, and center-mounted third brake lights.
1990-present: More and better
In 1997, Ford took a gamble and replaced the F-150’s classic chiseled look with a more jelly-bean like appearance. But despite its softer appearance, the F-150 was given a trio of powerful new engines: a 4.2-liter 202hp V6, a 4.6-liter 231hp V8, and a 5.4 liter 260hp V8. A wide variety of F-150 configurations was also offered, from the Regular Cab to the SuperCrew version that caters to passenger transport.
The current F-150, in its 11th generation, is offered in nine trim levels, from the base XL to the stylish Harley Davidson Edition and the off-road specialist SVT Raptor. There are also plenty of engine choices as well, such as a 302hp V6, a twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 and a 411hp 6.2 V8. All of the engines are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.