The Ford F-150 has been the best-selling truck in the United States for over 40 years. With unbeatable versatility and styling that is both sleek and rugged, it is an ideal truck for all kinds of people. Whether you need a work truck or a commuter vehicle, it has the functionality and power you need. Despite its reputation for excellence, there are still a few things that are bound to break or malfunction, just like with any other automobile.
The radio in the F-150 has been notorious for malfunctioning for many years. Fortunately, there are ways to diagnose the issue and some common causes that are fairly easy to fix. With a few simple tools, you can find the issue and repair it. Knowing what to do when your F-150 radio is not working can help you get it functional so you can get back on the road with some tunes.
Causes of a Malfunctioning F-150 Radio
If your F-150 radio has stopped working, there are several possible causes. Depending on your truck’s model year and generation, some causes will be more likely than others. Knowing the potential reasons for the malfunction can help you diagnose and fix the problem.
A blown fuse is one of the most common causes of a malfunctioning F-150 radio. Your truck has fuse boxes that make connections for the various electronic components. Over time, these fuses may burn out due to age or power surges, which can cause glitches or failures in your truck’s radio.
Certain model years of the F-150, such as 2009, are especially susceptible to freezing and becoming non-functional. This is generally regarded as being a programming issue with the radio itself. When this happens, the radio screen will either go completely black or work incredibly slowly, almost to the point of not working at all.
As your truck ages and gets used, certain parts will get jostled around. When this happens, sensitive components like the main board for your radio can shake apart, and the solder joints can crack. The small components will not connect when this happens, and your radio will either stop working altogether or may only work intermittently.
Sometimes, your radio may stop working after a few years. This will sometimes be due to a lot of use, but other times it will just wear out. You can get a factory radio from Ford or any aftermarket units that will work just as well, if not better.
How to Fix a Malfunctioning F-150 Radio
To fix your broken F-150 radio, you will have to make some diagnosis and try a few different methods before finding the source of the problem. In cases like this, it is always best to start with the simplest solution and move on to the more difficult ones if needed. With a bit of patience, you should get your F-150’s radio working again.
First, locate the fuse box to see if a blown fuse is causing your radio problems. This will either be located in the engine compartment near the battery or under the dashboard, depending on the model year of your vehicle. Check your truck’s owner’s manual to see where the radio fuse is mounted.
If the fuse is blown, it will look dark, and the filament inside will be divided in half. If it looks like this, it is likely the source of your radio malfunction. Replace the fuse with the same amperage and size according to the manual.
Resetting the Radio
If your radio needs to reset, there may be a few different ways to do it for different model years. For the most part, you will have to press the right search button and the power button simultaneously. Hold these buttons for 10 to 15 seconds, and the screen should turn off and come back on again. If this doesn’t work, check your owner’s manual to see if there is a different sequence of buttons you must press to reset the radio.
Solder Flow Repair
If the main board inside your radio has a broken solder joint, you must first remove the radio unit. You can usually do this by unscrewing the fasteners on either side of the radio face. Then, you can pull it out and unplug it from the main hookup. Once you have the unit out, open it up, and the main board should be one of the first things you see.
You may or may not be able to see the broken solder joint just by looking at the board. To help strengthen all the joints, you can take the board out and put it on a piece of cardboard. Then, put it in an oven heated to 385 degrees for 6 to 8 minutes. This should reseal the solder joints, and you can then put the board back in the unit and reinstall it in your truck.
Replacing the Unit
If none of the above methods work, you may have to replace the whole unit. This is a good opportunity to consider any upgrades you may want. Getting a higher-quality aftermarket unit can give you more functionality than a factory radio that you can buy from Ford. The new unit will have instructions on how to hook it up to your truck’s stock audio cables so that everything will be compatible with your F-150’s stereo.
Protect Your F-150 With an Extended Warranty
If you want to protect all the important components of your F-150 and ensure that it stays in good shape, an extended warranty can help. With a wide variety of providers and plans, you can protect yourself from expensive repairs and irritating malfunctions while also getting extra features like trip interruption coverage and 24/7 roadside assistance. Choosing the best extended warranty for your F-150 will help you stay safe while on the road and give you confidence that your truck will give you the years of service you need. Explore our extended warranty provider reviews and buying guide to find out which extended warranty will work best for you and your vehicle.