The F-Series Is America’s Top-Selling Truck: Here’s What Breaks On Them
Table of Contents
- Ford F-series trucks are popular and reliable, but they still need maintenance to keep them running efficiently.
- Wheel bearings, spark plugs, shock absorbers, and fuel pumps can all last as long as 100,000 miles. However, you should check each of these components regularly, as there is no guarantee that they will wear out at the same time.
- Brake pads and rotors wear out more quickly than many other components, and need to be replaced every 30,000 to 70,000 miles for best results. Batteries also need to be replaced eventually, but can last 3-5 years each if properly maintained.
Your Ford was designed to be rugged and tough, but that’s not the same as invincible. Even the most popular trucks on the market need maintenance and replacement parts sometimes, and the iconic F-series is no exception.
Fortunately, you’re in the right place to learn all about the components that will likely wear out soonest on your F-series pickup. Our team has spent years researching popular vehicles from major brands, so we’re intimately familiar with America’s favorite truck and its few-but-important vulnerabilities. Read on so you’ll know what to look for and have plenty of time to source new parts before you need them.
Brake Pads & Rotors
The way you drive your F-series truck will have a lot to do with how long the brakes last. Constantly stopping and starting in city traffic, for example, will wear them out a lot more quickly than cruising on the interstate. But in most cases, Ford factory brakes tend to need replacing between 30,000 and 70,000 miles.
Your truck’s wheel bearings are responsible for bearing the forces created as you accelerate, steer, and brake in your truck. Since your wheel bearings are constantly subject to friction and located near the surface of the road, they will eventually need to be replaced as they wear down or their lubricant becomes tainted by dirt and debris. This happens around the 100,000 mile mark for most Ford trucks, including the F-series.
Fortunately, aftermarket wheel bearings and hubs for F-150s and other Ford trucks are easy to buy online—and you can put them in without expert mechanical knowledge, although you’ll need a few tools. Check out this guide on how to replace wheel bearings in your Ford truck and the accompanying video to get started.
The spark plugs in your truck help ignite the mixture of air and fuel in your engine, which makes them vital for starting your truck and maintaining its fuel efficiency. You’ll need to replace the spark plugs in most F-series trucks every 100,000 miles or so to keep them from burning out.
Even a battery you take good care of (regularly cleaning the terminals, using a trickle charger in winter or during periods of low usage, etc.) will eventually need to be replaced. The batteries in F-150, F-250, and F-350 trucks all last around the same amount of time with proper care: 3-5 years.
Changing your tires is a critical part of making sure your truck can brake and handle effectively, which improves your safety (particularly if you take your Ford off-roading). You should be putting fresh rubber on your wheels every 50,000 miles or so, but here are a few tips you can use to monitor the state of your tires in the meantime:
- Make sure your tires are cool and dry (heat and moisture will cause them to expand and throw off the reading).
- Find the tread wear bar on your tires (small bars in the grooves of each tire). The tread should be higher than these bars; if it’s not, you’ll need to replace them ASAP.
- Insert the base of a tread depth gauge (available at most hardware stores) into the groove of each tire. Keep the gauge perpendicular to the surface of the tread.
- When the base of the gauge touches the surface of the tire, check the measurement and compare it against recommended minimum tread depth for your tires (find this in your owner’s manual for stock tires or check online if your tires aren’t OEM).
- Repeat this process at several different points on each tire to ensure consistent results.
The suspension in most F-series trucks is pretty similar to the brakes, in that its lifespan will depend largely on your habits as a driver. Regularly going off-road in your F150 or F250, for example, will cause your shocks and struts to wear out a lot more quickly than only driving on paved roads.
To prevent your ride from getting too bumpy, you’ll want to consider replacing your shock absorbers after 50,000 miles (and definitely before they hit 100,000). That’s a big range, but trust us—your bottom will tell you when it’s time to change ‘em out.
The fuel pump in your truck will last longer than most of the other components on this list, but you’ll still want to replace it eventually to keep your Ford running properly. Neglected fuel pumps will cause rough starts, sputtering noises from the engine, and may even lead to stalling if you leave them alone for too long.
Changing your filter frequently and keeping a decent amount of gas in your truck at all times helps prevent your fuel pump from wearing out prematurely. Still, you’ll want to put in a new one every 100,000 to 150,000 miles or so to avoid issues.
Replacing Wear & Tear Parts Keeps Your Ford Functional
Since the F-series has almost a third of the market share for pickup trucks in the US, you’re probably going to own one at some point if you use a truck for work or leisure. That makes knowing how to care for these vehicles extra important.
Your Ford F-series pickup deserves a long and safe career on the road. Make sure you keep an eye on the components listed above and change ‘em out before they start causing trouble.