It can be frustrating to find that the F-150 won’t start. Whether it is cold weather or a bad battery, figuring out what the issue is, is only half of the battle. The most common causes as to why the Ford F-150 won’t start are relatively easy to fix as long as you know how.
The most common reason an F150 won’t start is because the battery is dead, the battery isn’t holding charge, or the starter needs to be replaced. Other, less common, reasons include a faulty alternator, bad fuel pressure, or clogged fuel injectors.
It is not fun to be late to anything because of a vehicle that won’t start. Here we will discuss the most common reasons and solutions for why the Ford F-150 won’t get going. The fixes are easy, and can mostly be done in a single day.
What are the Most Common Problems with Ford F-150?
The most common issues when attempting to start the Ford F-150 have to do with the electrical system itself. These issues can be fixed with a quick trip to the auto parts store, and little mechanical effort involved.
The most common causes for a Ford F150 not starting are:
- The Battery
- The Starter
- The Alternator
- Key FOB Battery
If all of those look good, start looking at some of the less common culprits including the fuel system.
Here’s a quick video of what to check when an F150 won’t start but it has power:
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There are some other less common reasons why the F-150 may not be starting such as:
- Bad fuel pressure
- Clogged fuel filter
- Broken fuel pump
- Clogged injector
- Timing issues
- Fuel rail
- No oil (not low, but none)
The above reasons are secondary to the electrical issues discussed in this post. The starting problems of the Ford F-150 can mostly be solved with the common causes discussed here.
However, if all of the resources have been evaluated and the issue still exists, then it would be time to call in the pros to diagnose the above.
The batteries are the first thing to check, all of them
The battery located under the hood of the F-150 is the most common cause of the vehicle not starting, batteries can go out for several reasons. The F-150 battery is normally good for a period of one to three years depending on the brand.
The second battery to check is the Key Fob battery. These batteries are located inside the key FOB, but the vehicle will usually tell you when the battery is getting low. Most of the Key FOB batteries can be found at a drug store or auto parts store.
If either of the batteries tests badly, they need to be replaced.
The starter could be causing some trouble
The F-150’s starter is engaged when the ignition is activated on the truck. The starter extends a small wheel that turns the crankshaft on the engine, which starts the process.
The starter is comprised of a series of magnets and coils that make this happen, and those parts tend to go out every five years or so.
If the F-150 has a bad starter, then it must be replaced.
The engine is flooded with gas
This issue is only common on carburetor-type fuel systems that still dump gas into the engine from a centralized location. If the F-150 is fuel injected, then this is not going to be likely to occur.
However, if the F-150 in question has a carburetor, and the engine becomes flooded, just wait ten to fifteen minutes and try to start the engine again.
How do I Know if my F-150 Alternator is Bad?
The starter and battery may check out just fine; in which case the alternator would be the next logical step to figuring out why the F-150 won’t start.
Are the accessories not functioning properly?
The alternator keeps the car running and everything working while the F-150 is in motion. If the alternator is fluctuating with the amount of electricity it is providing to the vehicle overall, one of the first things to act differently is the vehicle’s accessories.
The headlights dim when you roll down the window
This classic test still holds in twenty-twenty-three. If when you roll down the window on the F-150; you notice that the headlights start to dim and then regain their regular brightness, then the alternator is starting to go out.
Hard starts are a sure sign of a bad alternator
This happens when the alternator is not properly charging the battery during normal usage. If the battery test shows that the battery is good, and the engine is still having a hard time starting, then the alternator is the culprit.
The alternator makes a whining sound
The alternator will make a whining noise when the diodes inside are not properly creating the electricity needed to send back to the battery.
The alternator will also make different sounds that do not sound normal, such as rattling, grinding, or other noises associated with parts of the alternator going bad.
The battery won’t stay charged, but the test says the battery is good
If the F-150 is in constant need of a battery charge, even when the battery test says the battery is good; then the alternator is the problem.
The battery holds the charge needed to run the accessories on the vehicle when the engine is not running and start the F-150.
Something smells like it is burning under the hood
When the alternator is going bad it tends to heat the wires inside unnecessarily which causes a burning order to emit from the alternator.
The only way to fix a bad alternator is to replace it
Unfortunately, the only fix for a bad alternator is to replace the faulty component. Some auto parts stores will do a no-cost test on the starting components of the vehicle, such as the battery, alternator, and starter.
If the F-150 won’t start for it to be driven down to the auto parts store, most of these stores have a machine located inside the store that will test the alternator. Just take the alternator off of the F-150 and bring it into the store for testing.
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How do I Manually Turn on my F-150?
If the key fob battery is bad you can still start the F-150. Located underneath the center seat in the front, is a small open space where the key FOB will sit perfectly.
Place the key FOB in that plastic covering, and then turn the vehicle on. This method works for the F-150 which has a push-button ignition. If the F-150 has the console, then the location is underneath the cup holder coaster in the console.