How to Save Money on Repairs Using a Ford Factory Service Manual

A Ford factory service manual has all values and steps you would need for proper maintenance, repair, and diagnostics of your vehicle.
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Get a Ford Factory Service Manual and Save on Maintenance/Repair Costs

So you own a Ford, somewhat know your way around tools and mechanics, and wondering why would you even need a Ford factory service manual for your car? After all, Ford isn’t some exotic brand that doesn’t have a workshop at almost every corner, right. Well, sure you can take your car to a repair shop as soon as something’s wrong with it, but you could also save a lot of money by performing some of the more advanced repairs by yourself. Maybe you could change a fuse or a light bulb, or even change an air filter by yourself­?

But of course, you already know how to do these things right? So why need a repair manual then? Well for anything a little more challenging, you’ll eventually need troubleshooting and replacement procedures as well as torque and general specifications. Moreover, even easier tasks might get sped up significantly following the right procedures. For example, changing oil doesn’t request a diploma in mechanical engineering or some expensive tools, but there are certain steps that need to be taken in order to do it properly. Just don’t get carried away yet! First, you need a Ford workshop manual and not just any kind but an Official Ford repair manual!

Are Ford Vehicles Reliable?

This is a difficult one. It depends on the model and from what era it is. Ford is on the top of the reliability list if you are looking at US manufacturers but overall the numbers are not in Fords’ favor.

For instance, according to Consumer Reports, the 2020 Ford Explorer and 2020 Ford Escape had issues just a year after launch. We could say that some of the issues could be attributed to the newly introduced vehicle that needs time for ironing all the little quirks and issues, but still, it cost Ford a drop in the standings from 16th in 2019 to 22nd in 2020. That’s maybe not that bad a position but take into account that the list is made out of only 26 brands in total.

On the other hand, if you are a proud owner of the 1956 F series you are a lucky chap, as the prices are going skyrocket high. A 1970 Ford Ranger is another popular and highly valued truck.

If you are not into trucks, Ford Fusion is a pretty decent sedan in terms of reliability. The 2012 and 2013 models best in their class followed by the 2008, 2009, and 2011 models, with still impressive second place respectively.

How to Diagnose Issues Using an Official Ford Repair Manual

A Ford factory repair manual will offer you step-by-step instructions on how to troubleshoot and diagnose any issue that could come up on your vehicle. From DTC code diagnosis charts to electrical diagrams, you’ll find everything you need in it. And even better, they are super easy to find here—just type the exact model and model year in the search box and download it.

A digital Ford factory service manual is also way simpler to use compared to a hard copy, as the digital form offers the option to search any term in a couple of seconds—no need to search in those hellish indexes at the end anymore! 

In order to diagnose the problem, you can use the Troubleshooting Symptoms section as they guide you through eliminating the possible causes until you find the culprit. 

For example, if your problem is smoke coming out of the exhaust, next thing is to determine what color of smoke is coming out. If it’s a cloud of black smoke that means that the mixture is too rich, resulting in an excess of gas being burned.

Once you have identified the symptoms, the repair manual will then offer multiple possible faulty components, that you can then inspect and test. The most probable causes will then be explicitly explained. For example:

  • The air filter could be clogged so you should first check it. If it’s clogged there might be an air deficit, causing a “too-rich condition.” Replace and retest.
  • If the engine is equipped with fuel injection there can be a faulty sensor measuring the amount of fuel injected into the cylinder’s head. Then there would be a link to the dedicated procedure to test every single suspected sensor.
  • If it’s a carbureted engine, the carburetor choke plate could be faulty or incorrectly adjusted. Once again, the next step would be to inspect, adjust and retest.
  • If all of the above is fine, inspect and test for a vacuum leak.
  • And so on until you find the problem.

Of course, this is only a short example. The step-by-step instructions are much more detailed and basically include everything you might need.

Tips and Tricks on Ford Maintenance

Regularly inspecting and maintaining your vehicle is the only way to make sure you have a reliable ride. No matter how high the reliability rating of a car is, it will only be as reliable if it’s properly maintained. 

Checking the tire seems to be the most basic exercise as it is your only contact with the road. Not only should you keep an eye on the tires’ tread depth but also rotate them according to the manufacturer’s recommended interval (you’ll also find that in your repair manual).

Checking the engine oil level and regular oil filter and oil change is another fundamental way of keeping your Ford in a good condition. In that relation, all car fluids should be also checked as well as brake fluid, coolant, transmission fluid, and for some Fords’ power steering fluid. Of course, your Ford factory service manual will guide you through it; don’t worry!

A clean engine air filter is essential for longevity, reliability, low fuel consumption, etc. Try to run fast with a clogged nose and you’ll see how important a good air intake is.

For your safety, especially at night and while braking, you should also check every light bulb on your Ford and replace the burnt ones.

Belts, hoses, and wiper blades also need to be checked regularly and replaced when needed as they also lose elastomer—the polymer that gives rubber its flexibility. And once again, there are instructions in the workshop manual that will also help you here.

Of course, no matter how well-maintained your car is, it will still break at some point. And this is when a good repair manual will really come in handy. After all, if you are reading this post, you probably already know how to replace light bulbs and wipers. But even the best mechanics will need to rely on torque specs and data thresholds for anything a little more challenging than service intervals and basic maintenance.

 Last Words 

Fixing your car with a Ford factory service manual by your side will not only spare you a significant amount of cash, but you’ll also become more independent from annoying/shady mechanics. And even if your mechanics isn’t shady at all (because we know not all of them are), knowing how to fix your car could prevent you from being stranded on the side of the road, waiting for a tow truck. It might take more time to do it yourself but isn’t that what you sometimes need after a long day at work? Or maybe your fishing buddies are not available? After all, if you are into cars and mechanics, isn’t wrenching on your car the best way to spend a sunny Sunday?

Jokes aside, just take advantage of the digital solutions that are on offer and make your life easier! Trust me—you’ll thank me later!

Will Hopstetter
Will is an automotive market enthusiast living in the United Kingdom. He holds a diverse background in automotive and enjoys utilizing that to produce insights into the inner workings of the industry.