On this blog, we’ve written extensively about the features of the American-made Ford F-150. Today we’re going to answer the question of what kind of fuel this truck should take. Even though many variations of the F-150 have been build throughout the years, Ford has been able to keep the fuel requirements relatively simple. Let’s start with a quick answer:
Most variations of the Ford F-150 that have been manufactured between 1996 – Present-day use regular unleaded gasoline with an octane rating of 87. For some supercharged F-150’s and the ones manufactured after 2012, Ford recommends 91 octane although 87 octane can still be used. F-150’s that have a yellow fuel cap can also run on E-85.
However, that answer certainly doesn’t tell the whole story. Every generation of the F-150 has slightly different requirements and we will definitely dive into those requirements in the subheadings below. Furthermore, we’ll talk about what you should look for in high-quality gasoline and diesel, where to buy it and the use of alternative fuels such as E-85. Finally we’ll also talk about the tank size of each specific generation and model of the F-150. Read on!
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Also read: 15 Common Problems Of A Ford F-150
Types Of Fuel Per Generation And Model
The below recommendations that are given apply to all models of the Ford F-150. This includes, but is not limited to, the Regular Cab, Super Cab, Super Crew, and Raptor. Ford has been able to keep the fuel requirements of every generation relatively simple. This is because most models within a generation use the same kind of engine and, if they don’t, they still generally have the same fuel requirements.
1996 – 2004
All Ford F-150’s manufactured between 1996 – 2004 with a 4.2L V6 or 4.6L V8 engine make use of gas with an octane rating of 87. F-150’s that have the 5.4L supercharged V8 make use of gas with an octane rating of 91 or higher. F-150’s that have The CNG fuel system is rated at a pressure of 24 800 kPa (3.600 psi) at 21°C (70°F)
2004 – 2008
All Ford F-150′ manufactured between 2004 – 2008 with a 4.2L V6, 4.6L V8, or 5.4L V8 make use of gas with an octane of 87. F-150’s with a yellow fuel cap or E-85 emblem are Flexible Fuel Vehicles which means they can take regular 87 octane gasoline, or E-85, which consists of 15% regular gasoline mixed with 85% ethanol.
2009 – 2012
All Ford F-150’s manufactured between 2009 – 2012 with a 4.6L V8, 5.4L V8, or 6.2L V8 use gas with an octane of 87. F-150’s with a yellow fuel cap are Flexible Fuel Vehicles which means they can take regular 87 octane gasoline, or E-85, which consists of 15% regular gasoline mixed with 85% ethanol.
2012 – Present
All Ford F-150’s manufactured between 2012 – Present-day with a 2.7L/3.3L/3.5L Ecoboost/3.7 V6, 5.0/6.2L V8 use gas with an octane of 87. For optimal performance, gasoline with an octane rating of 91 or higher is recommended. F-150’s with a yellow fuel cap are Flexible Fuel Vehicles which means they can take regular 87 octane gasoline, or E-85, which consists of 15% regular gasoline mixed with 85% ethanol.
Ford F-150’s produced between 2020 – Present-day that have a 3.0L Powerstroke V6 diesel engine make use of Ultra Low Sulfur Diesel (1-D or 2-D).
Furthermore it’s good to know that Ford mainly recommends octane 91 fuel in extreme conditions such as hot weather or when the F-150 is towing.
Different Kinds Of Fuels And Their Compatibility
As you may know there are many different kinds of gasoline and other types of fuel on the market. Furthermore, all these fuels have a different compatibility with the F-150. Please be aware that most of the information that we’ve written down below comes from the 2021 owner manual. This means these rules apply to the 2012 – Present-day generation.
However, most of the times these rules have stayed the same throughout the decade and they are therefore most likely applicable to earlier generations. If you want to be sure about the compatibility with your F-150. Please look into the owners manual of your car.
Before we look at the specific requirements of gasoline and diesel for the F-150 we feel it’s important to mention that Ford, at all times and for all F-150’s, recommends the use of reformulated gasoline or diesel when it’s available. These reformulated fuels help the engine burn more cleanly and reduce emissions. Furthermore, they reduce deposits in the engine which increases the lifespan of the fuel system.
Reformulated fuels, or high-quality alternatives, can be bought by certified TOP TIER Gas retailers. Go to toptiergas.com to find out where the closest retailer is.
Gasoline With Additives
Like most carmakers, Ford recommends you use gasoline that has a high percentage of cleaning agents mixed into it. This way, you can be sure that your engine is being cleaned of deposits that will reduce performance and fuel efficiency. For this reason, it’s recommended you buy your gasoline at TOP TIER retailers. These are retailers that use a higher than average amount of cleaning agents in their gasoline. You can visit toptiergas.com to find such a retailer.
However, there may be instances in which TOP TIER gas is not available in your region. In this case, you likely fill up at BP, Amoco, Walmart, or 7-Eleven. All these brands aren’t TOP TIER retailers and you need to add a detergent to your gasoline to keep your engine clean or deposits will build-up, reducing MPG and the lifespan of your fuel system.
In this case, we recommend you go with a product like Hot Shot’s Gasoline Extreme and Stiction Eliminator. Gasoline Extreme cleans the complete fuel system whereas Stiction Eliminator focuses on the sticky, gummy residue of burnt oil in the engine. Furthermore, these products don’t contain metallics or silicon and are guaranteed to not void any warranty. It’s the best option if you can’t fill up with TOP TIER gas in the first place.
- Diesel fuel (if the car does not specifically have a diesel engine)
- Fuels containing kerosene or paraffin.
- Fuels containing more than 10 – 15% of ethanol if the vehicle is not a flexible fuel vehicle.
- Fuels containing more than 85% ethanol or E100 fuel if it’s a flexbile fuel vehicle.
- Fuels containing methanol.
- Fuels containing metallic-based additives, including manganese-based compounds.
- Fuels containing the octane booster additive, methylcyclopentadienyl manganese tricarbonyl (MMT).
- Leaded fuel, using leaded fuel is prohibited by law
Switching between E-85 and Gasoline
It’s not recommended to switch between E-85 and gasoline repeatedly. If you do switch from one fuel to another it’s recommended that you add as much fuel as possible, at least half a tank. After that, you should drive your vehicle immediately for a minimum of 5 miles (8 kilometers) to allow it to adapt to the change in ethanol. If you only run on E-85 it’s recommended that you fill the fuel tank with unleaded regular gasoline with an octane of 87 or higher at each scheduled oil change.
Diesel fuel for F-150’s that have a diesel engine should adhere to the following requirements:
- Ultra low sulfur diesel fuel (ULSD) should be used. ULSD is indicated by the numbers 1-D or 2-D and has a maximum of 15-ppm sulfur.
- The F-150 can be operated with diesel fuels with a maximum of 20% biodiesel (B20). These fuels should meet the ASTM D975 or ASTM D7467 B6-B20 biodiesel industry standards. Outside of North America the EN590 or equivalent standard should be met.
- Low sulfur diesel (LSD, 16-500ppm) or high sulfur diesel (HSD, 500+ ppm) will cause damage to the fuel system that’s not covered under warranty.
- When temperatures drop below 19 degrees Fahrenheit or -7 degrees Celcius it’s recommended to use seasonally adjusted diesel.
- Additives should not be needed if you use fuel that meets industry standards as specified above. However, you may use Motorcraft® cetane booster or an equivalent cetane booster if you suspect you’re using fuel with a low level of cetane. Other additives are not recommended and will most likely cause damage that’s not recommended.
If you make use of diesel with a maximum of 20% biodiesel than the maintenance schedule of your F-150 needs to be adjusted. Please take a look at the maintenance schedule in your owners manual to see how this should be adjusted.
Furthermore, do not store biodiesel in the fuel tank for longer than one month. If you have to store the vehicle for this period it’s recommended that you drain the fuel tank, fill the car with a pure petroleum blend and run the vehicle for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Consider changing brands or lowering the amount of biodiesel if the vehicle is having problems.
What If I Hear A Knocking Noise After Refilling?
A slight engine knock is no reason for concern. However, a loud engine knock can occur after refilling and this is a reason for concern. This is because it’s very likely you’ve used fuel with an octane rating that’s lower than recommended. Using fuel with a lower than recommended octane rating (in the case of the F-150, lower than 87 or in some cases 91) will cause engine knock. If this happens it’s advised to stop the car immediately and contact your dealership.
Fuel Tank Size Per Generation
It will come as no surprise that every generation and almost every model of the Ford F-150 has it’s own fuel capacity. Below we’ve outlined the fuel capacity for each generation and model in both gallons and liters. However, let us also give you a general answer:
Ford F150’s manufactured between 1996 – 2004 have a fuel tank size of 24.5, 25, or 30 gallons depending on the model. 2004 – 2008 F150’s have a fuel tank size of 26, 27 (with an option for 35.7) or 30 gallons. Ford F150’s manufactured between 2009 – Present-day have a fuel tank size of 26 gallons and some have an option for 36 gallons. Only the Raptors manufactured since 2012 have 36 gallons as a standard.
|1996 – 2004||4×4 Reg. Cab with a short wheelbase||24.5||92.7|
|4×2 Regular Cab, SuperCab, and SuperCrew with a short wheelbase||25||94.6|
|All long Wheelbase||30||113.6|
|Bi-fuel, slow fill||12.5||47.3|
|CNG, slow fill, 3.000psi||19||71.9|
|CNG, fast-fill, 3.000psi||16.1||60.9|
|CNG, slow fill, 3.600psi||21.7||82.1|
|CNG, fast-fill, 3.600psi||18.5||70|
|2004 – 2008||Reg. Cab 6.5’ box / SuperCab 5.5’ box||26||98.4|
|SuperCrew 5.5’ box||30||113.6|
|SuperCrew 6.5’ box||27 (35.7 optional)||102.2 (135.1 optional)|
|Reg. Cab 8’ box / SuperCab 6.5’ box / SuperCab 8’ box||27 (35.7 optional)||102.2 (135.1 optional)|
|2009 – 2012||Reg. Cab 6.5’ box / SuperCab 5.5’ box||26||98.4|
|SuperCrew 5.5’ box / SuperCrew 6.5’ box||26 (36 optional)||98.4 (136.2 optional)|
|Reg. Cab 8’ box / SuperCab 6.5’ box / SuperCab 8’ box||26 (36 optional)||98.4 (136.2 optional)|
|2012 – Present-day||Regular cab / Super Cab||23 (36 optional)||87.1 (136.3 optional|
|Crew Cab, Raptor Super Cab||26 (36 optional)||98.4 (136.3 optional)|
|Raptor Crew Cab||36||136.3|
- 1996 – 2004: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/03f12og5e.pdf
- 1996 – 2004: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/03f12sv1e.pdf
- 1996 – 2004: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/03bifbf2e.pdf
- 1996 – 2004: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/03ngvng1e.pdf
- 2004 – 2008: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/07f12og3e.pdf
- 2009 – 2012: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/11f12og3e.pdf
- 2009 – 2012: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/catalog/owner_guides/11f12rp1e.pdf
- 2012 – Present-day: https://www.fordservicecontent.com/Ford_Content/Catalog/owner_information/2021-Ford-F-150-Owners-Manual-version-2_om_EN-US_10_2021.pdf
Hi! My name is Stefan; I’m the owner and lead writer at TheDriverAdviser.com.
I’m an active writer on this blog myself, as well as a novice car mechanic. For the really technical stuff, I find writers with experience as a mechanic or who have studied mechanical engineering.
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