May 23, 2022

Alice-in-chains

Automotive forever

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Long-Term Report

It’s always a good thing when the time comes for one of our quarterly long-term vehicle reports and we genuinely have nothing to say. During the past three months we’ve managed to log 5,441 additional miles on our 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited and can say with authority that we have almost no complaints. The truck continues to perform flawlessly in every regard and has not required any unscheduled trips to the dealer’s service bay.

This reporting period included more of the status quo. We spent a fair bit of time commuting with the F-250 Super Duty, towed our toy hauler trailer and our utility trailer loaded with UTVs, and even logged a few long highway trips. Our average fuel economy over the course of these miles dropped slightly to 15.84, which for such a large truck is still pretty impressive. We had a best tank of 19.55 mpg on the open highway, and a worst of 12.55 towing our 8,000-pound trailer.

More About This Truck

2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited: 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year Winner
Welcoming Our 2020 Pickup Truck of the Year Winning Ford F-250
Traveling in Luxury: Our Long Weekend With the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited
1,050 lb-ft of Pulling Power and a $90,000 Price Tag
Off-Roading and Towing With Our $90,000 Ford Super Duty

As has been the continuing theme for these reports, our 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty required a refill of diesel exhaust fluid right at about the 18,000-mile mark. Our local Ford dealer claimed to have topped of the DEF tank at our last oil change at 12,500 miles, meaning this tank of exhaust fluid lasted only 5,500 miles. Our first tank of DEF ran dry at about the 8,500-mile mark, meaning either the dealer didn’t actually fill the tank fully or we’re somehow getting far worse efficiency from the exhaust system. To date we’ve filled the truck with 17.5 gallons of BlueDEF Platinum exhaust fluid, in addition to whatever amount the dealer added. If we were to run the average out, we estimate that the truck uses about a gallon for every 1,000 miles traveled, however this changes fluidly depending on load.

Speaking of oil changes, as part of our testing we follow the guidance of the F-250’s on-board maintenance monitor to tell us when the truck is due for service. The truck’s oil life monitor first started asking for an oil change at around the 10,000-mile mark, which matches with the recommended maximum oil change interval of most HD diesel pickups on the market these days. With no real change in driving habits, it’s looking like the truck is going to request its second oil change just 7,500 miles after the first. We’ll confirm the exact reason for the difference and report back in the next installment, but it’s likely to do with the amount of towing or idling we’ve done since the reset.

In past reports we’ve mentioned two on-going issues we’ve had with our 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty. The first has been rough shifting going up into 10th gear and down into 3rd. As we suspected these shifting jitters have gotten smoother with age. With more than 18,000 miles on the truck the transmission has settled into a nice groove of super smooth shifting under most driving conditions. The second issue was the squeaky brakes. Unfortunately, what we first passed off as being normal noise from heavy-duty brakes is gradually getting worse. We’ll have the brakes checked at our upcoming oil change and report back.

Even though it has been a very dry year in California, during this reporting period we had the opportunity on several occasions to drive the 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty in the rain. As you may rightly assume, driving a truck with 1,050 lb-ft of torque on soggy pavement can lead to quite a bit of unintended (and sometime intended) wheel slip. Thankfully, Ford has included with the truck’s drive modes one intended for slippery situations. While we’ve not noticed much of a difference in the Eco and even Tow/Haul modes (let’s face it, with more than 1,000 lb-ft on tap and an intelligent 10-speed transmission Tow/Haul is a bit redundant) clicking the truck into Slippery actually made a hugely noticeable difference in drivability. What the mode does is soften throttle inputs to the point where it feels like you’re driving a truck with much less power. Shifts feel slower and smoother as well, all of which helps to keep the rear wheels from trying to over rotate when the road gets slick. We’re normally all about sliding trucks sideways in the rain, but this is one truck that we appreciated having a bit of help with.

Overall, it’s been a great 9-months with our 2020 Ford F-250 Super Duty Limited and we’re starting to get a little sad about the prospect of it returning home soon. For our final quarter we have a lot more towing, hauling, and adventuring planned so stay tuned as we send this truck off in style.

Report: 3 of 4

Previous reports
1,050 lb-ft of Pulling Power and a $90,000 Price Tag
Off-Roading and Towing With Our $90,000 Ford Super Duty
Base price: $83,930
Price as tested: $89,155

Long-Term Numbers

Miles to date: 18,281
Miles since last report: 5,441
Average mpg (this report): 15.84
Test best tank (mpg): 20.22
Test worst tank (mpg): 10.29 (towing)

Maintenance

This period: DEF refill
Problem areas: None

What’s Hot, What’s Not

Hot: Fuel economy remains impressive as does the big truck’s quick acceleration.
Not: The squealing from the brakes is getting worse with age and the spray-in bed liner appear to already be fading in the California sun.

Logbook Quotes

“At 18,000 miles the 10-speed transmission seems to have finally mellowed out and has quit shifting violently into 3rdand 10th gear. “
“Definitely not getting tired of the compliments, just had two more people say they loved the truck!”
“I don’t understand why a truck of this size and cost doesn’t have front parking sensors. “
“We found a new use for the bed-mounted loading ramps a pandemic-inspired truck bed table for eating in parking lots!”
“Go figure, it’s out of exhaust fluid, again.”

Options As Tested

Rapid Red paint ($395), 3.31:1 Electronic Locking Axle ($390), All-Weather Floor Mats ($135), FX4 Off-Road Package ($400), Stowable Loading Ramps ($695), Fifth-Wheel Hitch Prep Package ($500), Roof Clearance Lights ($95), Wheel Well Liners ($325), Delivery and Destination ($1,695)



Photo 2/5

  |   We still haven’t towed anything genuinely heavy with our long-term F-250 Super Duty, and that genuinely disappoints us. Hopefully we can get a large fifth wheel behind the truck before the end of our time with it.



Photo 3/5

  |   While our Limited trim Super Duty may not be the best choice for your weekend off-road rig, it sure is the right truck for facilitating off-road adventure. We used the F-250 to tow our Can-Am Maverick X3 tester and can say that the comfortable Limited interior is a welcome treat after a day behind the wheel of a UTV.



Photo 4/5

  |   During this reporting period we temporarily removed the bed-mounted loading ramps in favor of a toolbox from Decked. For the fourth quarter we’ll be removing the toolbox and installing a tonneau cover. From this angle we also get a great view of the truck’s large panoramic sunroof.



Photo 5/5

  |   We’ve seen this sight twice now, the diesel exhaust fluid gauge at zero. Sure, we could fill it up sooner but it’s better for testing if we let it run down. Unless the truck has fewer than 500 miles of range remaining it’s a three-step process to scroll through the driver information center menu to get to the DEF level gauge.