Coolant, also known as antifreeze, is an essential component of your Ford F150’s drivetrain, as it ensures that the engine temperature remains consistent in all types of driving conditions. Without the proper levels of coolant, your engine is at extreme risk of overheating and total system failure. But just how much coolant does a Ford F150 need?
A modern Ford F150 needs 5.4 gallons of coolant. This will consist of a 50/50 mix of 2.7 gallons of coolant concentrate and 2.7 gallons of distilled water.
While the coolant reservoir in Ford F150s made since 2014 will hold 5.4 gallons of fluid, it is always best to check your owner’s manual before attempting to service just to confirm that you do not have a special model that requires a different amount. Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about coolant in Ford F150s!
A Ford F150 made in 2014 or later will hold 5.4 gallons of antifreeze.
However, this can be a bit deceiving, as only half of the coolant mixture is antifreeze, while the other half is distilled water. So, technically, your Ford F150 will need 2.7 gallons of concentrated antifreeze/coolant and 2.7 gallons of distilled water.
Many automotive parts stores will sell coolant in prediluted 50/50 mixtures that is ready to use with no mixing required.
Therefore, before adding or replacing coolant in your Ford F150, it is critical to read the label and see if the coolant you are purchasing is this prediluted mixture or is a concentrate that needs to be mixed with distilled water.
A couple of other important points pertaining to your Ford F150’s antifreeze capacity:
- You will see some online forums and message boards saying that a F150 only needs one gallon of coolant and one gallon of distilled water. They are doing something called a “quick flush” that is not comprehensive. If all of the old coolant is drained and replaced with the correct 50/50 mixture, your F150 will have a coolant capacity of 5.4 gallons.
- Be sure that you are thinking in the correct units. Many forums mistakenly interchange gallons with liters. As engine capacity is measured in liters, uninformed users think that this correlates to coolant capacity as well.
- You must use distilled water when mixing coolant. Tap water will not work.
- When using a coolant concentrate, mix the coolant with distilled water before adding it to the engine. Simply pouring the concentrate into the coolant reservoir and adding an equal amount of distilled water is incorrect practice.
All things considered, if you are not completely comfortable with the process, be sure to consult a professional auto technician.
A coolant flush is not as simple as draining old coolant from the reservoir and adding new (what DIYers call a quick flush). This will only take care of about 30% of the F150s total coolant, as much of the coolant remains in the engine when parked and must be cycled through in order to flush the system of all 5.4 gallons.
If you are driving a Ford F150 made in 2014 or later, it is extremely likely that your vehicle requires 5.4 gallons of the aforementioned 50/50 blend. However, older models will use different amounts.
For example, the 2001 Ford F150 series will vary based on the size of the engine. (source)
- The smallest model–the 4.2L V6 engine with a one row radiator–will use 5.025 gallons of coolant
- While the largest model–the 5.4L V8 with a two row radiator–will use 6.375 gallons of coolant.
Therefore, if you have an older model F150, it is critical to consult the owner’s manual to determine the exact specifications prior to starting service.
It is common for modern coolants to be colored to help owners distinguish which product is correct for their vehicle. The coolant for contemporary Ford F150s is orange, which signifies Dexcool.
Dexcool differs from regular coolant that uses a combination of methanol and ethylene glycol to mix with distilled water. Dexcool is an extended life product that uses organic acids instead of glycols. It has a longer lifespan than regular coolant and does not need to be replaced as often.
While you may be able to get away with using a cheaper coolant product in your F150, it is very risky. Regular coolants may break down quickly and cause your engine to overheat.
You should replace the coolant on your Ford F150 about every 36,000 miles. For most regular drivers, this will equate to a coolant flush every 2 to 3 years.
Drivers may be able to get away with slightly low levels of coolant in their F150, but overfilling coolant poses an acute risk.
When there is too much coolant in the system, the excess will flow into the engine compartment. Not only will this cause a mess that puts other components of the engine at risk of failure (especially electronic elements) but it will leak out and cause you to leave toxic waste on the driveway.
Too much coolant can also put sensors and hoses under undue pressure, resulting in failure.
Low coolant, on the other hand, may not lead to immediate engine failure (unless levels are extremely low) but continued use over a long time will wear on the engine as it operates at higher temperatures, resulting in failure.
Modern Ford F150s require 5.4 gallons of coolant. This is a 50/50 mix of 2.7 gallons of coolant and 2.7 gallons of distilled water. Most auto parts stores will carry a premixed, orange Dexcool that is the recommended coolant for F150s.
However, as with any automotive DIY project, always check your owner’s manual for exact specifications on coolant capacity before beginning work!