I have been evaluating the Ford F-150 for the past 3 months per your suggestion, and am now sending my evaluation after 90 days of use. Having used the said truck for the past 90 days, I have concluded that, should the company decide to purchase 5 more of the said vehicle, certain adjustments will have to be made in terms of load capacity and wheel type. This memo presents my evaluation of the main features of the F-150.
Why the F-150 Can Help the Company
From my personal experience, I can say that the F-150 is a highly reliable flatbed truck. You can be sure that it will start even when subjected to sub-zero ice storms as I experienced last winter. Cost and efficiency-wise, the v-8 4.6-liter engine provides the necessary power for hauling with lesser need for gasoline. That is a definite advantage over the gas-guzzler 5.4-liter V8 engine that we are also considering.
The truck I am using has a total of 12,000 miles on it, the equivalent of driving over rough terrain to 18 various job sites from the marshes of Maine to the mountains of New Hampshire. It has proven that it can handle the most extreme of terrains with surprising comfort for the passenger. Although it is less comfortable than a sedan, it is, however, quite comfortable for a truck running off the road.
Disadvantages During All-Terrain Performance
The manufacturer-supplied tires tend to bog down in muddy locations in both regular and 4 wheel drive modes. Specialized 4 wheel drive tire purchases will be necessary as we build our fleet of 4 wheel drive trucks. This specialized type of vehicle is necessary to safely reach more than half our job sites.
The 6 feet flatbed does not provide enough carrying room capacity. Once the car toolkit is placed in the area, there is little space left to carry anything else. By all estimates, there is an additional 2 feet loading area requirement for the flatbed so it might necessitate the purchase of long bed trucks.
Actual Driving Response
The automatic transmission provides a longer clutch life span as opposed to the manual clutch. To get around construction sites, a truck normally has abused clutch pads that tend to easily give out. This is especially true for the “rocking motion” that the truck experiences when it gets stuck in the mud. I often got stuck in the mud and the automatic clutch never gave me a problem when I worked it to pull out of the mud trap. However, the truck has problems with front-end handling on rough roads. We may need to order trucks with special handling packages that include 2 shock absorbers on each front wheel.
As of the past 90 days, I have not experienced any real maintenance or repair problems. I have just been following the manufacturer’s guide for maintenance at the scheduled intervals. Although, there was a manufacturer recall due to an exhaust pipe hanger that may bend. I took the truck in and the repair was completed efficiently within 20 minutes.
Having begun testing this truck as a brand new delivery to the company. I do not expect to see any real malfunctions or maintenance problems within only 3 months of use. I would suggest that I be allowed to use the truck for another 9 months to properly observe the reliability of the truck as it ages. I also expect that any real maintenance or driving problems will begin to show by that time. Only then can I conclude as to how well the truck holds up in long term, daily use.