Transmission fluid checks are a must for Ford F-150 maintenance

By Mister Transmission

Although the new Ford F-150 boasts a number of unique features, like the Power Boost, Zone Lighting System, and Trailer Backup Assist, to name a few, it relies on transmission fluid for safety and performance just as much as any other modern vehicle.

Time and time again, we’ve recommended that customers keep an eye on the level and the condition of their transmission fluid (see: How Do I Check My Transmission Fluid Level?, Transmission Fluid Diagnosis and Changing Transmission Fluids).

In fact, if you want to control vehicle maintenance costs, it is essential that you keep your transmission fluid topped up and in good condition, as transmission components are some of the most expensive to repair and replace.

Accordingly, in the past, Ford F-150 manufacturers recommended checking your transmission fluid on a regular basis.

However, that’s easier said than done for some drivers, who may be surprised to find that the Ford F-150 no longer has a standard transmission dipstick under the hood. If you’re driving a newer model with a “Sealed-for-life” transmission, read on to learn more about what that means, or contact a local Ford transmission specialist to book a free inspection and service straight away.

Why does the Ford F-150 no longer have a transmission dipstick?

Many modern vehicles are designed without standard transmission dipsticks, opting instead to use a “sealed-for-life” transmission that does not require the same upkeep as older vehicles. This can be seen in the new Ford F-150, Canada’s best selling truck, which made the switch to sealed transmissions in 2017 when they rolled out their new 10-speed transmission, the 10R80.

But why does the Ford F-150 no longer have a transmission dipstick? In short, it is because the new transmission system in the Ford F-150 requires less frequent care, and when the time comes for maintenance and repairs, it is meant to be left to professionals.

According to the Ford F-150 2022 owner’s manual, the automatic transmission:

  • Should only be checked and changed by an authorized dealer or transmission specialist
  • Does not consume fluid, and thus does not require regular top-ups from drivers
  • Does not require supplemental transmission fluid additives, treatments, or cleaning agents, all of which can negatively affect transmission operating and result in damage to internal transmission components

Do-it-yourself transmission service attempts and fluid top-ups could result in overfilling, cavitation, oil starvation, lack of lubrication, fluid leakages, accelerated wear-and-tear, and transmission system failure. For best results, find a Mister Transmission near you.

How to access the screw-in dipsticks on the Ford F-150

Should you need to access the transmission dipstick for any reason, you won’t find it under the hood of your Ford F-150, at least not if you’re driving a model released after 2017.

The 10R80 uses a unique screw-in dipstick that can only be accessed from underneath the vehicle, which may require special skills or tools. This dipstick threads into the passenger side of the transmission case in a location similar to where dipstick tubes used to fit into rear-wheel drive transmissions.

What’s more, not all screw-in dipsticks are the same in newer Ford F-150s. Some are marked off with letters; others use numbers, listed 1 to 6. Because the 10R80 is used in multiple applications, and the driveline angle varies with each, the correct level of the dipstick will not always be in the center of the crosshatch where you’d expect. In fact, in the 2018 Ford F-150, the correct fluid level actually appears quite close to the bottom, which can be confusing for some drivers trying to get a proper reading.

The correct procedure for checking your transmission fluid is as follows:

  • Drive your Ford F-150 until the transmission fluid reaches a temperature of 206° to 215°
  • Either lift your vehicle on a hoist or crawl underneath to access to screw-in dipstick
  • Caution: The exhaust will be hot, so you may need to wear gloves or long sleeves to avoid burns
  • The 10R80 screw-in dipstick uses a 19mm nut—use a socket or end wrench to loosen it
  • Consult the owner’s manual or ask a Mister Transmission expert which fluid reading to use

By working with a local Mister Transmission, you’re guaranteed easy access, accurate readings, and quality service in a fraction of the time, with none of the hassle, safety concerns, or risk of potentially voiding your vehicle warranty.

When to book a transmission fluid service for your Ford F-150

As per the Ford F-150 2020 owner’s manual, you should book a transmission fluid service for your vehicle if:

  • You notice transmission slips
  • Your transmission shifts slowly
  • You spot signs of transmission fluid leaks

Additionally, you should book a transmission service after approximately 240,000km.

Book a transmission service for your new Ford F-150

Since the Ford F-150’s triumphant release in 1975, Mister Transmission has been helping Canadians protect their investment with qualified transmission repair and maintenance services, and we can do the same for you.

As part of our commitment to keeping your Ford F-150 in shape, we offer 100% free road tests and multi-check inspections at 56 different locations across the country, including:

Whether you roll into the shop for a transmission fluid check, top-up, repair, or overhaul, we guarantee:

  • One-stop shop convenience, with everything you need gathered together under one roof to save you time and money.
  • Unparalleled selection of transmission parts from top brand names.
  • Superior transmission service, as evidenced by 58+ years of success and over 11,000+ glowing reviews.
  • Cutting edge service, including modern diagnostic technology, best practices, and tools.
  • The best warranty in Canada, available as a Standard (12 months / 20,000km) and Premium (36 months / 60,000km) package.
  • A chance to win a free repair, with $1000 in service fees given away every month as part of the Win Your Repair Program.
  • Budget-friendly payment options, as described in our Flexible Payment Plan.

To book a free road test and multi-check inspection, you can use the Mister Transmission Finder to connect with a Ford F-150 transmission expert near you.

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