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Ford maintenance: cost, plans and service schedule

Upkeep on a Ford may cost more than you think

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    If you’re considering buying a Ford or keeping yours after the warranty expires, it’s worth knowing how much you can expect to spend to keep it on the road. Ford is one of the most popular automakers in the U.S., and its F-Series trucks are consistently among the best-selling vehicles nationwide. However, some of its estimated repair and maintenance costs are surprisingly above the industry average.

    Keep reading to see what maintenance you should be doing on your Ford, how much repairs and maintenance might cost you and whether there’s anything you can do to protect yourself from a mechanic bill that’s more than you can afford.

    Key insights

    • On average, it costs $775 per year to maintain and repair a Ford vehicle, according to RepairPal.
    • Ford recommends minor maintenance every six months or 5,000 miles for some of its vehicles, but maintenance schedules vary by model.
    • Ford’s factory warranty provides three years or 36,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper coverage and five years or 60,000 miles of powertrain coverage.
    • An extended warranty or prepaid maintenance plan can help you avoid some of these costs, but it’s important to find the right coverage.

    Ford maintenance plan

    Every Ford model has its own maintenance schedule, so you’ll need to look in your owner’s manual or check Ford’s website to see what’s recommended for your vehicle.

    Ford F-150 maintenance schedule

    We’ve provided the maintenance schedule for a 2023 Ford F-150 below as an example to help you see what your expected maintenance may look like.

    Oil and filter change Every 6 months or 5,000 miles
    Tire rotation Every 12 months or 10,000 miles
    Multipoint inspection, including your vehicle’s brakes, cooling system, fluids, steering and suspension Every 12 months or 10,000 miles
    Replace cabin air filter Every 20,000 miles
    Replace engine air filter Every 36 months or 30,000 miles
    Change brake fluid Every 36 months

    You can keep up with this schedule on your own if you prefer, but newer Ford vehicles also have computerized systems to tell you when it’s time for maintenance. These alerts are reset after the technician performs the necessary service.

    Maintenance for severe driving conditions

    Ford expects that you may push some of its vehicles to the extremes. For example, if you own a Super Duty truck or Bronco Raptor, Ford understands that your vehicle may be hauling heavy loads or going off-road, and it publishes alternate maintenance recommendations for vehicles in those situations. For example, Ford recommends that the 2023 Ford F-150 should have more frequent cabin air filter replacements if you drive in dusty or dirty conditions.

    If you frequently use your vehicle under nonnormal driving conditions, make sure you check your owners manual or Ford’s website for these special maintenance recommendations.

    Are Fords expensive to maintain?

    According to information from RepairPal, Ford vehicles tend to cost more to maintain and repair than many other brands. While the reported industry average for yearly maintenance and repair costs is $652, Ford vehicles average $775 per year.

    MakeAverage repair and maintenance cost*
    Ford $775 per year
    Honda $428 per year
    Toyota $441 per year
    BMW $968 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    RepairPal also rates Ford’s reliability at 3.5 out of 5, which puts the company 21st out of 32 automotive brands. While it estimates that Ford vehicles visit the repair shop slightly less than the industry average, Ford vehicles have a 15% chance of the repair being severe, which is above the industry average of 12%.

    Of course, your results may vary, especially if you meticulously maintain your vehicle and drive with caution. These estimates are based on data from a multitude of vehicles, and combining something as variable as maintenance and repair costs into a single figure erases a lot of nuance that may be necessary to understand what you can expect from your vehicle. With that in mind, let’s dig a little deeper into how these costs break down.

    Author’s note: As a mechanic, it’s always been difficult for me to understand why Ford vehicles are associated with such high average maintenance costs because that hasn’t matched my experience. What I’ve come to learn is the popularity of the F-Series trucks, especially the Super Duty models, has skewed the brand’s average. Some of the older sedans and the newer crossovers usually cost far less to repair and maintain than what the brand’s average may suggest.

    Ford maintenance costs

    Maintenance and repair costs vary from vehicle to vehicle based on a number of factors, so it’s worth picking a reliable vehicle with low repair costs. We’ve included the estimated yearly maintenance and repair costs for three popular Ford models in the table below so you can see how much of a difference your choice of vehicle can make.

    ModelAverage maintenance and repair costs*
    Ford Escape $600 per year
    Ford F-150 $788 per year
    Ford Edge $611 per year
    *According to RepairPal

    So far, we’ve conflated maintenance and repair costs because they’re both figures that will show up on your bill at the mechanic, but it’s helpful to understand the difference between them if you’re trying to budget:

    • Repair costs are generally random, infrequent expenses that result from something in your vehicle malfunctioning or failing.
    • Maintenance costs are easier to plan for because they’re usually needed on a regular schedule regardless of whether your vehicle shows signs of breaking down.

    Typical maintenance costs for a 2019 Ford Escape

    To see how much maintenance services may cost you, let’s take a look at some average prices for them on a 2019 Ford Escape in Austin, Texas.

    Tire rotation $86-$110
    Oil change $172-$207
    Transmission fluid change $553-$586
    10,000-mile service $341-$423
    30,000-mile service $408-511
    60,000-mile service $491-$629
    Front and rear brake pad replacement $740-878
    Spark plug replacement $137-$280
    *According to RepairPal for a 2019 Ford Escape in the 78705 ZIP code

    Your costs may vary based on your vehicle’s maintenance needs, where you take your car for service and local labor rates, but comparing costs for these services with your recommended maintenance schedule can give you a good idea of how much you’ll spend to keep your car running, assuming nothing goes wrong.

    Ford repair costs

    If something does go wrong with your vehicle, you may end up spending big on a repair bill. While repairs are generally needed less frequently than maintenance, they tend to be considerably more expensive.

    In a previous investigation, we spoke to mechanics around the country to see what they’d charge to fix major issues in some sample vehicles, one of which was a Ford F-150. We’ve compiled the Ford-specific results of those articles below.

    *For a 2016/2017 Ford F-150

    There’s no guarantee that your vehicle will need repairs of this magnitude, but it is a possibility. Some people even get stuck with paying for multiple major repairs on their vehicles.

    Curt, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from Pennsylvania, told us: “I purchased a brand-new Ford F-150 in 2016 with an EcoBoost engine. At the 3,000 mile mark the engine failed and had to be completely replaced. Fast-forward to the 30,000 mile mark. The second engine failed, and half the engine is being replaced as we speak.”

    Dwight, a ConsumerAffairs reviewer from New York, reported numerous issues with their Ford Escape, including two failed engines and two failed transmissions. “For the past three years, I’ve been dealing with multiple manufacturing defects and repairs that have rendered my vehicle unusable for extended periods of time. This has had a deleterious effect in many aspects of life, as I have no alternate means of transportation and live in an area where a car is necessary for work,” Dwight wrote.

    Cases like this are why it’s smart to be aware of what major repairs could cost you. That way, you can budget appropriately and make educated choices about your vehicle.

    » LEARN: What is a manufacturer’s warranty?

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      How can an extended warranty or maintenance plan help?

      If looking at the costs above made you feel a twinge of panic, you’re not alone. Many people have trouble affording vehicle maintenance and repairs, especially when something major goes wrong. However, there are ways you can avoid the brunt of these costs.

      If you’re purchasing a new Ford vehicle, the points you earn through the FordPass Rewards program can pay for your maintenance appointments. Ford also offers optional prepaid Premium Maintenance plans that you can buy for scheduled maintenance. Prices for these plans vary, so it’s difficult to say for sure that they’ll save you money.

      Prepaid maintenance plans can actually help you beat inflation by giving you today’s price on tomorrow’s services.

      Ford also provides a 3-year/36,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty on new vehicles. That means if covered parts fail during this period, you won’t have to pay for the repairs. However, once your factory warranty ends, you’re on the hook for anything that breaks on your vehicle as a result of normal use — unless you buy an extended warranty.

      Extended warranties are available from third-party providers and Ford itself, so you can choose a variety of plans that range from basic powertrain coverage to bumper-to-bumper protection. There are pros and cons to these service agreements, but they’re worth considering if you can’t afford the cost of a major repair on your own. We recommend getting estimates from different warranty companies to see what’s available and what a warranty will cost for your vehicle.

      » MORE: Car warranty vs. car insurance

      ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. To learn more about the content on our site, visit our FAQ page. Specific sources for this article include:
      1. Ford, “2023 F-150 OWNER MANUALS, WARRANTIES, AND OTHER INFORMATION.” Accessed March 2, 2023.
      2. Ford, “What is FordPass Rewards Complimentary Maintenance?” Accessed March 2, 2023.
      3. Ford, “PREMIUM MAINTENANCE PLAN.” Accessed March 2, 2023.
      4. RepairPal, “Ford Repair & Maintenance Costs.” Accessed March 2, 2023.
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