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How to Change the Oil in Your F-450 Super Duty: A Step-by-Step Guide

You know that feeling when you roll up your sleeves and get a job done yourself? Maybe you don’t have all the answers before you start – or even 100% confidence that you can do it. But you choose to do it anyway. And with each step, you achieve what was once “the impossible” in your mind. That’s what changing the oil in your F-450 Super Duty is all about. It’s not just about saving some cash (though that’s a nice bonus), it’s about connecting with your truck, understanding its rhythms, and taking pride in a job well done. This isn’t rocket science; it’s a straightforward task that anyone can tackle with a bit of guidance. And with this guide, coupled with a few handy videos from the interwebs, you’re good to go.

So, grab a wrench, take a deep breath, and let’s dive in.

Preparation is Key

Having the right tools, supplies, and game plan is key to a hassle-free oil change. Here’s a list of everything you’ll need.

The Essentials

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This will provide specifications for your vehicle, including the correct type of oil and oil filter and how to reset the oil life monitoring system. If you need a digital version of your manual or are curious about other F-450 model years, visit that section on our F-450 main page: F-450 Super Duty Owner’s Manuals.

The motor oil requirement for your Ford F-450 largely hinges on the specific model and engine type. Most F-450 Super Dutys use 5W-20 or 5W-30 motor oil, though recently we see 10W-30 more. In certain scenarios, especially with some diesel engines, 15W-40 may also be recommended. It’s best to check your owner’s manual or a reliable online source to determine the correct type of motor oil for your particular model. It’s worth noting that Mobil 1 is a preferred brand among many F-Series owners. Mobil 1 has high-quality synthetic motor oils and many owners have reported positive experiences, regardless of the specific oil type required. When it comes to selecting an oil filter, Motorcraft is a great choice. We recommend utilizing the Amazon “Your Garage” feature for confirming fit, though other platforms also offer excellent tools for this purpose. Need the detailed specs for your F-450? We’re here to help.

For your F-450 Super Duty, you’ll most likely be using a 14mm, 15mm, or a 16mm (5/8″) socket wrench to remove the oil drain plug. Make sure to have a socket wrench set on hand before starting the project. (The socket wrench is the actual socket piece that fits onto the nut or bolt you are trying to turn, and the ratchet is the handle part of the tool that the socket attaches to. They work together to allow you to turn a fastener without having to reposition the tool on the fastener)

Before we delve into the topic of oil filter wrenches, it’s important to mention that the oil filter should be hand-tightened. But what if the previous person used a wrench? Or had the strength of a gorilla? How do you remove it then? One simple solution is to wear rubber gloves. Nitrile gloves, 7 mil thick can provide a nice grip and brief heat protection, making it easier to remove the filter. Another popular option is to use oil filter pliers. Other F-450 owners find a classic oil filter wrench set to be handy. Just make sure your oil filter size is included.

The oil capacity of the Ford F-450 Super Duty can range from 7 quarts (6.6 liters) to 15 quarts (14.2 liters) depending on the engine and model year. A drain pan that can comfortably hold at least 7 quarts would be suitable for most models. However, if your F-450 has an engine with a higher oil capacity (those with a diesel engine, pay attention) you will need a larger drain pan to collect the used oil. This pan should be clean to avoid contamination.

A clean funnel is recommended to pour the new oil into the engine.

Rags will be useful for tidying up any accidental spills and for cleaning specific parts such as the area around the oil drain plug and the oil filter housing.

When it comes to performing an oil change on a Ford F-450 Super Duty, lifting the truck is not always a necessity. The F-450’s ground clearance, which typically ranges from 7.8 to 8.6 inches depending on the model, can provide ample space to access the oil drain plug and filter without the need for a jack or ramps. And if you have larger tires or a lift system? That’s even more room to work. However, if you prefer to elevate your truck for easier access, make sure you use reliable truck ramps or safe, heavy duty jack stands. Rhino ramps are often recommended by owners for their durability and ease of use. And at least two jack stands are typically required for an oil change, allowing you to safely lift and support the front end of the truck. When it comes to the topic of whether a vehicle should be level during an oil change, there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. The design of the F-450 Super Duty, with the oil drain located at the rear of the pan, means that a slight incline can actually facilitate the draining process. However, some argue that for a complete oil drain—especially if the truck hasn’t had ample time to sit and allow the oil to fully collect in the pan—the vehicle should ideally be level. In practice, using ramps for an oil change has generally not been an issue. Regardless of your approach, always prioritize safety when performing maintenance on your F-450. To enhance stability and prevent any unwanted movement while the truck is elevated on the ramps, it’s a good practice to place wheel chocks, blocks of wood, or other sturdy objects behind the rear tires. This adds an extra layer of safety and keeps it securely in place during the maintenance process.

To provide protection against hot oil and engine components, consider wearing durable nitrile gloves (7 mil are great). Keep in mind that while these gloves provide a level of heat protection, they are not completely heat-proof and care should still be taken when handling hot components or fluids. Also, it’s important to note that nitrile gloves can get very slippery when they get even a small amount of oil or grease on them. Therefore, some owners prefer to use thicker gloves for better grip and durability, but these may reduce tactile feel.

What to Expect When Changing the Oil

  • Time: Set aside approximately one hour for the oil change process, especially if it's your first time doing it. Make sure you have enough time.
  • Mess: Changing oil can be a messy process. You might want to wear old clothes and have extra rags or paper towels on hand.
  • Disposal of Used Oil: Have a plan to take the old oil to a recycling center or an auto parts store. It's important to dispose of it properly.
  • Challenges: Sure, sometimes oil changes can have their little quirks. You might encounter a clogged oil filter or a tricky drain plug, but it's nothing you can't handle. If the oil filter is clogged
    It’s a good idea to have a replacement filter (Motorcraft filters are highly regarded for their performance) on hand. In fact, even if the filter isn't clogged, it’s generally recommended to replace the oil filter every time you change the oil. If the drain plug is hard to loosen
    Make sure you have a suitable solution (gloves, pliers, or wrench) and penetrating oil (Kroil is exceptional) to make the task easier. Preparation and having the right tools at your disposal can make the process much smoother.
  • Safety First: Confirm that the vehicle has cooled down before changing the oil to avoid burns from hot oil. If lifting the truck is necessary for the oil change, always adhere to safety precautions to prevent injury.

The key is to be prepared: having the right tools, materials, and plan means... you got this!

Changing the Oil of Your F-450 Super Duty

With all these preparations underway, you should be well-prepared to change the oil of your F-450 Super Duty. Remember to take your time and consult the guide or the owner's manual if you have doubts about any step of the process.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Choose the Right Oil and Filter

As noted earlier in the "Owner's Manual" section within the "The Essentials" checklist located above, consult your truck's manual or our resources to determine if your F-450 Super Duty uses 5W-20, 5W-30, 10W-30, or 15W-40 oil. Conventional, synthetic blend, or fully synthetic engine oils are acceptable. Also, make sure to obtain an oil filter that matches your vehicle's specifications. The Ford F-450 Super Duty trucks typically use a large spin-on style filter. The specific filter model can vary depending on the engine type and model year of the truck. For instance, the 6.7L V8 diesel engine in the 2020 Ford F-450 uses a Motorcraft FL-2051-S filter, while the 7.3L V8 engine in the 2020 Ford F-450 uses a Motorcraft FL-820-S filter. It’s always best to check the owner’s manual. Utilizing features like Amazon "Your Garage" can be extremely helpful in confirming the correct fit for your F-450 Super Duty.

2. Oil Change Preparations

Park your F-450 Super Duty on a level surface and engage the parking brake. If you're lifting the truck, use stands to safely elevate it. Clean the area of the oil drain plug and the oil filter housing to prevent contaminants. Start the engine for a few minutes to warm up the oil and allow for more complete drainage, but make sure it's not too hot. Wearing gloves during the process is recommended to protect the hands, especially when draining the old oil and handling engine components.

3. Drain the Old Oil

Position the drain pan beneath the oil drain plug area. Using the appropriate socket wrench for your F-450 model (which could be a 14mm, 15mm, or a 16mm (5/8”) socket wrench), gradually loosen the drain plug and allow the oil to drain completely. Unscrew the old oil filter with your hand, oil filter pliers, or an oil filter wrench. Clean the oil filter sealing surface and check for any residue.

4. Installation of the New Filter and Oil

Lubricate the rubber seal of the new filter with new oil to prevent it from sticking. Screw on the new filter until it contacts the mounting surface. Replace the drain plug, ensuring you tighten it according to your manual's specifications. Carefully pour in the new oil using your funnel. Most F-450 Super Dutys require between 6-7 quarts of oil, but monitor the level to avoid overfilling. Use the dipstick for accurate measurement. If you have a diesel engine, know that its capacity is most likely far greater (15 quarts).

5. To Finish...

Take your used oil and old filter to a local recycling center. Check the oil level again and top up if necessary. Start the engine and look for leaks around the drain plug or oil filter. Reset the oil life monitoring system through the dashboard menu. It's also a good idea to check other fluids, such as windshield washer fluid (Motorcraft, Prestone, and Rain-X are excellent options) and coolant (Motorcraft has had some challenges with its coolants in the past. But with “the orange coolant years” behind them, it's back to many happy campers).

Additional Considerations

  • Recent models of the F-450 Super Duty, especially with the 6.2L or 6.7L Powerstroke engines, typically require oil changes every 7,500-10,000 miles under normal driving conditions.
  • Classic models like the 7.3L Powerstroke may need more frequent changes, around every 5,000-7,500 miles.
  • Gasoline engines such as the 5.4L or 6.8L V10 generally require changes between 5,000-7,500 miles.
  • Frequent towing or challenging driving conditions may require earlier oil changes.
  • Always consult your owner's manual for engine-specific tips and model year information.
  • Avoid exceeding the recommended oil change intervals for your usage conditions.

Following these guidelines, your F-450 will remain in optimal condition. You did it! Take pride in your efforts and know you've done your part to keep your truck running smoothly.

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