Spark plugs play an essential role in the Ford F150 engine starting, and they work by supplying a spark to start the ignition.
They have a timing control by an electric circuit and ECU to generate a spark at the right time in the correct sequence. They get worn out or have corroded tips that require their replacement with time.
How Often to Change Spark Plugs in Ford F150? You can change Ford F150 spark plugs after 60,000 to 100,000 miles according to the maintenance schedule in its owner manual and driving conditions. However, you can replace earlier if you observe any symptoms like engine misfiring, rough idling, starting failure, or relevant fault codes on the OBD-II tool. Generally, V8 engines on Ford F150 have 8 spark plugs, one per cylinder, and you need to replace them all simultaneously. Platinum or iridium tipped designs are more reliable and last longer than copper and nickel alloy types.
This article will guide Ford f150 truck owners regarding the replacement schedule of its spark plugs and their average life expectancy.
Ford F150 spark plugs replacement schedule
Ford F150 has a maintenance schedule mentioned in its owner manual describing specific mileage and driving conditions to replace the spark plugs.
According to the manual, you should change them after 100,000 miles under normal driving conditions within specified ratings of the truck.
However, in case of rough driving routines like towing, frequent start/stop in heavy traffic, extensive idling, and pulling heavy loads, you will need to change them earlier, after 60,000 miles.
Moreover, in practical life and according to my experience, I have to change them even after 18,000 miles.
Therefore, it depends on several factors, including your driving style, the health of other ignition parts like coils, timing circuit, quality, and type of spark plugs.
What is the life expectancy of Ford F150 spark plugs?
The average life expectancy of spark plugs on Ford F150 varies according to the number of miles you drive per annum.
For example, if you traverse 20,000 miles per annum on average and spark plugs require replacement after 60,000-100,000 miles, approximate life expectancy varies from 3-5 years.
Therefore, it is prone to differ from situation to situation and particular driving conditions of the truck.
Symptoms of bad spark plugs in Ford F150
Ford has mentioned a specific replacement schedule for spark plugs in the owner’s manual of F150 pickup trucks. However, there are particular symptoms that you can face, intimating you to replace them earlier.
Engine misfiring is a condition when one or more of its cylinders does not produce power, and you will observe a jerky movement.
Its most common reason is a worn-out plugs. Tips of contact points of a spark plug get eroded with time, widening gaps between them.
Therefore, you will not get a spark to start ignition at the right time, causing a loss of power from that cylinder.
A bad spark plug can cause engine stalling while driving or idling. The engine will suddenly stop moving and result in the loss of the steering wheel and brakes.
Usually, it is due to the loss of power from more than one cylinder. It can be a dangerous situation for your safety.
Worst case scenario of faulty plugs is engine failure to start.
If the engine does not get a spark in the cylinder, the ignition process will not start, and your truck will not start. In some cases, you have to start the vehicle several times.
Higher fuel consumption
Misfiring or faulty spark plugs have an adverse effect on the fuel economy of the Ford F150.
Due to heat and pressure in the cylinder, the gap between its contact points widens, requiring more power to start ignition.
Therefore, it reduces the overall fuel economy. In some cases, you can get a 20-25% increase in fuel consumption.
Reduced acceleration is a consequence of misfiring in one or more engine cylinders.
There will be more fuel intake in the cylinders by pressing the throttle, but you will not get the necessary power to produce acceleration and loss of fuel due to lack of ignition.
Therefore, worn-out spark plugs require replacement in such conditions to drive them to their full potential.
Loss of engine power
Ford F150 has V8 and V6 engine options available in different trim levels. All cylinders should operate according to the timing sequence for smooth power generation according to driving conditions.
However, worn-out plugs will not produce a spark to start ignition in their respective cylinders.
Therefore, you will not get power at that moment in the power cycle. However, your vehicle will keep on moving, with reduced power causing inefficient operation.
Check engine light/fault codes
Ford F150 will illuminate the check engine light on the instrument cluster in case of a faulty spark plug or misfiring.
You can read the fault codes by using an OBD-II scanner and reading the reason behind the specific code.
Fault codes associated with engine misfiring are P0300 for random misfiring and P0301-P0308 for misfiring in particular cylinders from 1 to 8.
There can be other reasons for these codes, like faulty coil packs or timing circuits, but you should check for spark plugs as the most frequent reason.
Does the frequency of changing Ford F150 spark plugs vary with model years?
According to the owner manual for various Ford F150 from 1997-2021, the recommended frequency or interval to change the spark plugs remain the same.
Moreover, it is also the same for various engine options, including 2.7L, 3.3L, 3.5L, 4.2L V6, and 4.6L, 5.0L, 5.4L, and 6.2L V8 engines. However, it varies according to the severity of your driving conditions.
How many spark plugs are in Ford F150?
The number of spark plugs on a Ford F150 can change according to the engine type and number of cylinders.
For example, most V8 engines have 8 spark plugs, one per cylinder, while V6 has 6 plugs.
However, there are exceptional cases like the 6.2L V8 engine for F150 SVT Raptor has 2 spark plugs per cylinder and has a total of 16 of them you need to replace.
Do you need to change all spark plugs simultaneously during scheduled maintenance?
It is a recommended practice from experts and good mechanics to replace all spark plugs simultaneously.
It is vital for matching the performance level of all of them to have an efficient engine operation.
If you change only the faulty one, it will give an inconsistent performance from the rest of them and cause disturbance of their rotation cycle.
Moreover, you will have more workshop visits to replace them one by one at different intervals.
Types of spark plugs used in Ford F150
Various types of spark plugs are available for Ford F150, depending on the type of material at their spark contacts.
Their durability, melting point, and performance vary according to their kind. The most common types are Single/Double Iridium, Single Platinum, Double Platinum, Silver, and Copper/Nickel alloy.
Iridium is the best material for long service life and best performance with Ford F150, but it is a bit expensive.
Platinum is the second-best option available in single and double options to have reliable performance for a longer duration.
Finally, copper/nickel alloy is the least expensive spark plug for the F150 and has a shorter service life due to its low melting point.
How to change spark plugs in Ford F150?
Spark plugs replacement is challenging because you have to access all their locations.
Moreover, you have to be careful during the procedure to prevent any damage to the threads of the plug spots.
You have to arrange for various extensions and flex joints to access all 6, 8, or 16 spark plugs on Ford F150.
First of all, remove the battery’s negative terminal and isolate it. Next, remove the engine cover to access its head.
Remove the ignition coil by unplugging and removing its retainer bolt. Next, clean the cylinder head using compressed air or a clean cloth to prevent debris or dust from falling into the cylinders.
Next, remove them using appropriately sized sockets. Install the new plugs by turning the initial threads with your hand in its socket.
Tighten them with a ratchet until it snugs. Finally, reinstall the ignition coil, its retainer bolt, and connector.
It completes the replacement procedure and will take a maximum of 1-3 hours, depending on your expertise.
Cost of spark plugs replacement
The cost to replace spark plugs on Ford F150 varies according to their type and number.
The price of a single piece can range from $3 to $25, from Copper to Iridium. In addition, labor costs can vary from $75 to $150.