Ford f150 alarm system problems

Ford f150 alarm system problems DEFAULT

How to Reset the Anti-Theft System on a Ford F-150

Ford F-150 Driving Down a Road with a view of the grill

Your Ford F-150 has many sophisticated electronic systems such as instrumentation, vehicle stability control, engine management system, and an anti-theft system. We don’t usually think of these crucial components unless something goes wrong. One of the systems most taken for granted is the anti-theft system. Here, we’ll take a look at what the anti-theft system does and how to reset it when it goes wrong.

How Your Anti-Theft System Works

The Ford F-150 is equipped with a passive anti-theft system (PATS) which is an alarm and engine immobilization system. It’s designed to help stop your truck from being stolen by preventing the engine from starting unless a correctly coded integrated keyhead transmitter is used. The keys are also known as transponder or chip keys. 

Your truck comes with two transponder keys that are electronically programmed to your engine management system. If you try to start your vehicle with any other key, the system won’t recognize it and the engine won’t start. However, you can buy additional keys and easily program them yourself. 

When PATS is activated, an anti-theft indicator light will flash every 2 seconds to show that the system is functioning and to act as a theft deterrent. When you turn the ignition to the on position, the light will glow for three seconds and then go out. If the light stays on or flashes rapidly, it’s an indication of a problem. 

Problems With the Anti-Theft System

Occasionally, you can experience problems with PATS which cause the alarm to go off and prevent you from starting your truck. Sometimes, a loud bang such as a firework or thunderclap can set off the alarm. Even somebody accidentally bumping into your truck can trigger the system.

If the battery in your transponder key is getting low, the alarm can start to go off randomly. If that happens, try using your spare coded key. If the problem stops, you know that you need to replace the battery in your primary key fob. 

You should avoid carrying large metal objects, electronic devices, or a second coded key on the same keyring as your main key as they can cause issues when starting your truck. Be sure not to allow these types of items to touch the programmed key while you start your engine. While they won’t damage the coded transponder, they could cause a temporary issue. If you have a problem, turn off the ignition, remove all items on your keyring away from the programmed key and try starting the engine again.

Quick Solutions to a False Alarm

Fortunately, if you experience a false alarm or you can’t start your truck, you have several options for resetting the system. The first and easiest thing to try is pressing the alarm button on your key fob which should deactivate the alarm and reset the system. If that doesn’t work, the anti-theft system could have been triggered for a different reason.

The next thing you should check is the door lock cylinder to make sure it isn’t damaged. The cylinder is on the inside of the door where it latches to the body of the car. If it looks damaged or isn’t latching properly, then that could be the cause of the alarm being triggered because the anti-theft system might think someone is trying to pry the door open. 

Additionally, check under the door handle where someone might try to force a screwdriver through to open the locked door. If this area is damaged, it could be causing the alarm to go off. If the door lock cylinder or door handle looks damaged, contact your Ford dealer to have them replaced.

Check that you are using the right key. It might sound obvious, but when you’re in a hurry, it’s easier than you might think to pick up the wrong key and that will trigger your truck’s anti-theft system. This is because the vehicle will think you are trying to use a fake key.

Programming Or Resetting Keys

If you need more transponder keys, you can program them to your vehicle yourself. This method will coordinate the coding of both the engine immobilizer and the remote entry system with your key and your vehicle. 

To program a new transponder key, you will need both of the originally programmed keys and the new uncoded key on hand. If you don’t have two original coded keys, you’ll need to bring your vehicle to your local Ford service center to have the new key coded. To program the key, follow these steps:

  • To start, put the first previously coded key into the ignition. Turn the ignition to the on position and keep it there for at least three seconds and no longer than 10 seconds.
  • Turn the ignition to the off position and remove the key. After three seconds and before 10 seconds, put the second previously coded key into the ignition and repeat the first procedure.
  • Turn the ignition to the off position and remove the second coded key from the ignition. After three seconds and before 20 seconds, insert the new uncoded key into the ignition.
  • Turn the ignition to the on position and keep it on for at least 6 seconds. Remove the newly coded key from the ignition.

When the key has been correctly programmed it will start your truck’s engine and will operate the remote entry system. The anti-theft indicator will light up for three seconds and then go off to signal successful programming.

If the programming wasn’t successful, the anti-theft indicator light might flash rapidly and the key won’t start your truck or operate the remote entry system. After 20 seconds, you can repeat the procedure, but if it doesn’t work, bring your vehicle to your Ford dealer to have the new key programmed.

You can be confident that you can drive your Ford F-150 without any problems occurring. However, in the unlikely event that you have a fault with your anti-theft system, you can rely on our expert technicians at Wendle Ford to remedy the problem. Contact us today for all of your servicing needs or getting yourself a new car.

Posted in Auto Maintenance, Ford Vehicles | Comments Off on How to Reset the Anti-Theft System on a Ford F-150


Alarm System Problem / No Start

I parked my truck on an incline facing nose down a
couple of days ago with easily more than 50 miles
until empty.  I went to start it the next morning only
to see the fuel gauge say it was at zero miles until
empty and no dash lights working.  I had full
battery power which I confirmed with a multimeter.  
I tried a second set of keys to see if a different
remote and key combination might solve the issue
and this made no difference.  Then, I disconnected
the negative battery terminal and reconnected it at
which point the dash lights were working again and
the truck started right up.  I searched online and
thought it may have been a problem tied to the fuel
pump and the truck's computer not registering I
had enough fuel in the tank because I had been
parked on an incline.  A few days later, my wife was
driving home and both the speedometer and
tachometer stuck and the dash lights went out
again.  After turning off the truck, it wouldn't start
again.  Only an airbag light was showing on the
dash and I still had full battery power.  After
speaking to a parts store employee, he suggested I
try using the remote to manually activate the alarm
and then turn the alarm off to see if that would
resolve the issue which it did, the dash lights were
working again and the truck started right up.  I still
don't know what the problem is but so far at least
have a work around to reset the alarm system.  The
Ford dealer said it might be some kind of
communication problem with the alarm system.  
I'd like to resolve the problem myself if possible
rather than have to take it to the dealer.  Any
thoughts or ideas would be appreciated.

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Resetting one key will always require two originally programmed keys to complete the reset process. After that, you can only use one key to start the engine.

  • Step 1.Use your first programmed key. Insert it in the ignition and turn to the “On” position, without starting the engine. Your display panel behind the steering wheel should light and the anti-theft light will blink (or just lit).
  • Step 2. Wait for 10 minutes with the key in the ignition.
  • Step 3. If the anti-theft light is not lit up, turn the key back to “Off”, remove it and insert the second programmed key not later than 5 seconds.  
  • Step 4.Turn it on and off and remove the second key.
  • Step 5. Insert the key you need to reset not later than 10 seconds. Turn it to the “On” position for just one second and then turn it to the “Off” position.
  • Step 6. Wait until the security light turns on with the key in the ignition. Then remove it to finish the process.

If it didn’t work the first time, try to repeat the whole process again.

How do you turn off the anti-theft system on a Ford f150?

Make sure you will complete the following steps within 30 seconds, otherwise you will have to do it all over again.

  • Turn off the ignition and check your doors – all of them have to be closed.
  • Insert the key in the ignition and turn it to “On”.
  • Triple-push the power door unlock button.
  • Turn the key to “Off”.
  • Push the power to unlock the button 3 times again.
  • Turn the to “On.” Listen to the horn sound.
  • Push the unlock button once followed by the lock button. The horn will chirp once, indicating the deactivated auto-lock feature.
  • Turn the key to “Off”. The horn will chirp one time for confirmation.

How much does it cost to reset the anti-theft system?

Around $100.

How do I get my car out of theft mode?

There can be various reasons for that blinking THEFT indicator. But most common are the fuel pump drive module or the bad ignition key. You need to get another key cut and programmed. And try to start the car with it. You can go to and find a store available in your area for that. In case it’s the module, you have to disconnect it and plug in the new one, without even installing it. Then try to start your Ford. If nothing of that helps, you will have to address a tuning professional for the solution that will reset your Ford’s computer. 

3 things every F150 owner must have

Here are some of my favorite F150 accessories (by far). In my opinion – this is something that EVERY F150 owner MUST have. 

• Rydonair Antenna 

• Bull Ring 4025

• UnderCover SwingCase Truck Bed Storage Box

And here’s a bonus. If you wanto to keep your F150 safe, you need Avital 5305L security system. The Avital 5305L is the budget-savvy sister system of high-end car alarm brands Viper and Python, offering similar features from the same manufacturer.


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