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Ford F150 Radio Not Working – How to Troubleshoot and Reset?

I know how it feels when your Ford F150 radio not working, and the silence is not so pleasant to experience while driving your way home. So I am here to save your day!

In this article, I have discussed the possible reasons and the troubleshooting methods to fix the following Ford F150 radio problems:

  • Radio not working, clock flashing
  • Radio won’t turn on
  • Radio won’t turn off
  • Radio has a dim screen
  • Radio turns on but no audio/sound
  • Radio stuck at Built Ford Tough screen
  • Radio froze up on the blank screen

If the radio of the Ford F150 is not working, then the reason could be blown or missing fuses that control the radio system. Other reasons include SYNC issues, inadequate solder flow, PCM memory, and faulty factory radio.

Please Note: This guide applies to any of the Ford F150 trucks regardless of the model and year.

Some of the common models are Ford F150 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019.


7 Reasons Why Ford F150 Radio Not Working

Here are the seven possible reasons and troubleshooting methods to fix the radio of your Ford F150.

Ford F150 Radio ProblemsSolutions
SYNC not working properlyPerform a soft reset (resetting)
SYNC not working properlyPerform a master reset (hard reset)
SYNC requires a software updateUpdate the SYNC software
Missing fusesInstall the missing fuses
Bad or blown fusesReplace the bad fuses
Soldering issueResolder the connections
PCM memory issueReset the PCM memory
Defective factory radioReplace or upgrade to an aftermarket unit

1. Ford SYNC Requires A Soft Reset

If the radio of your Ford F150 is not working or won’t turn on, the SYNC system may not be working correctly. And before you proceed to any other troubleshooting steps, I recommend you perform a soft reset.

It’s a straightforward process and doesn’t mess up your existing settings and radio presets. So all of your settings will stay unchanged.

To do a soft reset, press and hold the Power and Forward/Right Seek buttons together for up to 10 to 15 seconds.

Once the reset is completed, the screen will go black and get back to normal again.

The resetting process is the same for SYNC Gen 1 / 1.1, SYNC With MyFord / Touch, SYNC 3, and even the newest SYNC 4 on the Ford F150 2021.

2. Ford SYNC Requires A Software Update

If the soft reset doesn’t fix your radio problem, you should check for the software update for your Ford SYNC system.

To check for new updates, please visit the Ford SYNC update page, type your VIN, and click check for update.

It will show you if a new update is available, then you can install the update accordingly.

3. Missing Or Bad Fuses

If your Ford F150 radio is not working, clock flashing on the screen or has no audio, the fuses that control the SYNC system may be faulty.

Some important ones are the SYNC fuse, radio power fuse, radio buttons fuse, and radio display fuse.

Depending on the model of your truck, the fuse numbers for the radio system can be different. You’ll find these fuses in the central junction box inside the cabin near the passenger side kick panel.

Open the cover, and inspect them all. You can start with the number 9, 22, 26, 27, 28, 29, 32, 33, 39, 41. You can do a quick visual inspection and test them with a multimeter or a test light.

If there are any blown out fuses, you need to replace them.

Also, check if there are any missing fuses, especially if your truck is pre-owned. To confirm if there are any missing fuses, see your owner’s manual. And you need to install the appropriate fuses if missing.

4. SYNC System Requires A Master Reset

If none of the previously mentioned troubleshooting methods work for you, it’s time for a master reset, also known as a hard reset.

If you perform an F150 radio master reset, the SYNC system will erase its memory and revert to the factory settings. Remember, all of your data will be lost!

The master reset procedure varies from gen to gen of SYNC systems. So start your truck, put it in Park mode, and follow the steps below.

SYNC Gen 1 Master Reset: 

  • Press the Phone button and then the Down Arrow. When the System Settings appear, press OK.
  • Go to Advanced with the Down Arrow and press OK.
  • Go to Master Reset by pressing the Down Arrow, and press OK. SYNC will ask you to confirm the reset.
  • Press OK to confirm. The system will display read Reset Completed.

SYNC With MyFord Master Reset: 

  • Press the Aux button and then the Menu button.
  • Choose SYNC Media and press the OK button.
  • With the Down Arrow, go to System Settings and press OK.
  • Go to Advanced by pressing the Down Arrow, and press OK.
  • Scroll down to the Master Reset option and press OK. SYNC will ask you to confirm the reset.
  • Press OK to confirm. The system will display Reset Completed. 

SYNC 3 Master Reset:

  • Go to Settings on the SYNC screen.
  • Select General.
  • Scroll down and select Master Reset. 
  • Press Continue in the confirmation message.
  • The screen will go blank after the Resetting to factory defaults message.

The system may take a few minutes to reset and resume regular operation. 

The master reset will solve your radio problems, especially the radio with no sound problem.

5. PCM Memory Requires A Reset

Sometimes, the master reset won’t do the job for you, and you’ll need to reset the PCM memory to remove the learned value it has memorized.

You can reset the PCM memory using the capacitor discharging method. To do it, turn off the vehicle, and take the key out of the ignition switch.

Then disconnect the battery and isolate it from the cables with a rag. Next, connect the positive and negative wires through a jumper cable, and let them sit like that for at least 15 to 30 minutes.

This process will drain all the capacitors (capacitor discharge, as we call it) and reset the PCM memory.

Hopefully, it will solve all kinds of Ford F150 radio problems.

Please Note: After reconnecting the battery, you shouldn’t go out for a drive right away.

Put the key in the ON position, wait for 10 to 15 seconds, and then turn it back to OFF. Then start the engine, and let it idle for 10 to 15 minutes so the PCM can re-learn the values. And then you can go for a drive.

6. Soldering Connections Issues

If your radio has inadequate solder flow or loose connections on the mainboard, it’s apparent that it will not work correctly.

So take out the radio head module, and open up the mainboard. And resolder all the connector pins properly.

This resoldering task is relatively easy and only requires a little practice. Once you have done resoldering the connections, reattach the module and ensure all the other connections are secured and in place.

And, hopefully, it will fix your radio problems, especially if the F150 radio has too dim display lights.

7. Defective Stock Radio

If none of the methods has solved your problem so far, the factory radio unit might be faulty, and the motherboard might have physical damage. You can visit your dealership to get your radio diagnosed.

If your radio is faulty, I suggest you get an aftermarket radio system for your truck. Repairing the defective stock unit isn’t worth the money.


Final Words

So there you have it. I hope this troubleshooting guide has helped you fix the Ford F150 radio not working problem. And, if none of the methods work for you, you should upgrade to an aftermarket radio unit.


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Kevin Shaw

Editor-in-Chief at F150Lab

Kevin Shaw has a vast knowledge of pickup trucks, especially the Ford F150. He has been doing various DIY fixes, upgrades, and modifications to pickup trucks for more than five years now.

1 thought on “Ford F150 Radio Not Working – How to Troubleshoot and Reset?”

  1. I am driving a 2009 F-150 FX4. When I start the engine the radio display comes on and shows all of the normal information. After about 5-10 seconds the display goes off and stays off. The radio works fine.

    Reply

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