For more than 44 years, the Ford F-series has been the most popular full-sized line of pickup trucks, with the F150 reigning supreme out of all the other models in the line. If you drive a 2003 Ford F150, you’ll need to know its engine oil capacity in order to keep it in good shape.
If you’re still driving your 2003 Ford F150, you’ve probably gone to some lengths to take care of it over the years. Or, if you bought it used, you’ve got the previous owner to thank. There are tons of things that go into keeping your car shipshape, and one of them is knowing its engine oil capacity: what kind and how much oil your truck needs during a routine oil change.
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2003 Ford F150 engine oil capacity
Before we get into what you need to know about oil types, let’s answer a simpler question: how much oil does your 2003 Ford F150 actually need?
To keep its engine fully lubricated, your 2003 Ford F150 needs 6 quarts (or 5.7 liters) of motor oil. This means that, when you flush out the old oil during an oil change, you will need 6 quarts of oil on hand to pour into your engine.
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What kind of oil does a Ford F150 need?
So, you need 6 quarts of oil. Time to put the cheapest 6-quart bottle we see on Amazon into your shopping cart, right? Wrong!
Not all oil types are the same, and putting the wrong oil type in your engine could result in a shorter engine lifespan.
For the 2003 Ford F150, your owner’s manual specifies that you must use SAE 5W-20 motor oil. Ford does not specify whether you need to use conventional, fully synthetic, or a synthetic blend of oil, but they do state that you should avoid supplemental engine oil additives, engine cleaners, or other do-it-yourself engine treatments.
If that oil type looks like a bunch of gibberish to you, allow us to translate it piece by piece. SAE stands for the Society of Automotive Engineers. The rest of the numbers and letters refer to oil’s viscosity, or thickness, under various temperature conditions.
The W stands for Winter, and the 5 next to it tells us that this oil type remains thin enough to flow well even at temperatures of 0°F. On the other hand, the 20 at the end implies this oil is still relatively thin (but not too thin) at your engine’s toasty operating temperature of 212°F.
Not sure where to begin shopping? Here are our top three picks for a 2003 Ford F150:
- A fully-synthetic option:Valvoline Advanced Full Synthetic SAE 5W-20
- A high-quality blend:Pennzoil Synthetic Blend 5W-20
- For high-mileage vehicles:Valvoline High Mileage 150K with Maxlife Plus Technology SAE 5W-20
Pro Tip When shopping for motor oil, pay attention to how much you’re buying. Many motor oils come in 5-quart bottles, so make sure you purchase enough for your 2003 Ford F150!
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How often to change the oil on a Ford F150
Alright, we now know not only how much oil your truck needs, but we’ve also learned how much to buy. It’s now time to roll up your sleeves and start changing your own oil…right?
To help extend the life of your engine, Ford recommends that you change your oil every 7,500 to 10,000 miles. In general, if you use synthetic oil instead of conventional (or even a synthetic blend), you can push it closer to the 10,000-mile mark.
That said, you may sometimes have to change out your oil a little ahead of schedule. If you notice any of the following signs, you probably are in need of an early oil change:
- Motor oil that needs changing is dark brown or black (Clean oil is light brown or amber, like a cup of tea)
- Motor oil that feels coarse or gritty, like someone mixed sand into it
- Strange new noises coming from the engine
- Smoke, oil, or burning smells coming from the engine
- Decreased vehicle performance
How to change your oil and oil filter
Ready to learn how to change the oil on your 2003 Ford F150 yourself? You’ll need a drain pan, filter wrench, socket wrench, replacement oil filter, and 6 quarts of 5W-20 motor oil.
With your materials at the ready, start the process off by running your engine until it reaches its normal operating temperature. In normal weather, this should only take about five minutes, but if it’s cold out, give yourself a little more time.
After that, turn the engine off,
open the hood, and complete the following steps:
- Position your drain pan underneath the drain bolt.
- With your socket wrench, remove the oil drain bolt. Allow the old oil to drain out into the pan. Be careful when doing this, as the oil will be hot!
- With your filter wrench, remove the old oil filter and replace it with a new one by hand.
- Replace the drain bolt and tighten it to 10 lb-ft.
- Remove the oil fill cap and pour in 6 quarts of motor oil.
- Replace the oil fill cap.
After all this, we’d suggest you run the engine for a couple of minutes to make sure that there are no leaks. If you’ve done everything properly, that pesky
oil pressure light on your dashboardshould turn off.
And last but not least, cleanup! Don’t just dump your dirty oil down any drain or throw it away in your garbage can. Place the old dirty oil in a sealed container and bring it to a recycling center for proper disposal.
Don’t forget regular insurance policy maintenance
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