The Ford F-150 is the best-selling pick-up in the US.
Despite being known for its ruggedness, door and tailgate locking issues can occur.
In this article we’ll look at the most common F-150 locking problems and how to solve them.
Table of Contents
1. Ford F-150 Power Locks Not Working
If the power door locks aren’t working on your Ford F-150 there are some very common causes.
Key Fob Battery
A low key fob battery can cause a wide range of issues, especially with central locking. It is also possible the fob is faulty or may need reprogramming.
Try changing the battery in your fobs and give the inside of the fob a clean.
If you have multiple fobs, to be on the safe side change the battery in them also.
A blown fuse can cause issues with the power door locks.
- Find a fuse box diagram for you model year F-150
- Find the fuse related to the power lock doors
- Test across the fuse with a continuity tester
- If the fuse is still ok, you should hear a “beep”.
“I’m assuming you have checked Fuse-3 (20 A) in the BCM. That powers the driver’s door unlock relay. The driver’s door lock has its own relay to unlock the door, but uses a common relay to lock the door.” – f150forum.com
A bad ground wire can cause a number of electrical issues including issues with the power lock doors.
You will need to locate the ground wire for the door switches and ensure it is not damaged and is connected properly.
“I downloaded the wiring diagram provided in the above posting, and it does not show a relay, after some investigation I found the problem to be the ground wire on the driverside switch which forms a common ground for both switches. after playing with that wire I found that it had become brittle and broken. When I backtracked and replaced it the unlock works great.”
A faulty or weak 12V battery can cause a wide range of problems including those related to the power locks.
The best thing to do is to have a battery health check or simply replace the battery.
Be sure to check the battery connections are tight and free from rust, dirt and grime.
Body Contol Module
A faulty body control module can cause a wide range of issues including problems with the power lock doors.
- The BCM is in charge of electrical communication from different electronic systems.
- This includes the car alarm system, lock-unlock functions, climate control etc.
On some F-150 models the doors are controlled by the Security Control Module.
Your dealer can run some diagnostics tests on your BCM to ensure it is working correctly, it may need to be reprogrammed or replaced.
There have been a number of recalls on the F-150 and some are specifically for power door locks.
Run a VIN check and make sure your truck is up to date with recalls.
Faulty Door Lock Actuator
Door lock actuators are subject to a lot of wear and tear and are prone to failure.
There’s an actuator at each door – that means a faulty actuator will only affect a single lock.
Thus, if all the other locks work, the problem lies elsewhere.
2. Ford F-150 Frozen Door Locks
A very common complaint from F-150 owners is frozen door locks, this usually occurs when the temperature drops although can occur even in milder weather. This has been reported mostly on 2015 models and newer.
A number of owners have been to their Ford dealerships for recalls on the matter although they have not always been satisfied with the repairs, which often haven’t worked.
Online there have been a number of temporary fixes suggested for the issue which often include additional lubrication for the cable assemblies.
“If you look at post #1193 from 12-22-21 in this thread, wickstrom30 identified what I believe is a major contributor to this problem. It seems there has been a door latch assembly revision and new part numbers issued. The most obvious changes were the addition of a spring and the addition of silicone sealing the lock actuator motor. Who knows what else changed internally.
Ever since I replaced all 4 of these door latches in August of 2021, I have not had any issues with freezing door latches or inoperable door locks. Prior to replacement I had intermittent door latch freezing issues but had a consistent worsening issue with door locks not working. This is what led me to replace all 4 door latch assemblies.
The only other thing I did was to clean out all the cables with brake clean and apply a generous amount of Blaster lubricant with Teflon to the cable assemblies.
I believe the problem is an issue with the cables not fully retracting which is why re routing and / or lubricating cables seems to help the issue. The addition of that spring further insures the cable will return.” – f150forum.com
3. Ford F-150 Door Not Locking
If you have a single door that’s not locking or unlocking properly then most of the time this is caused by a problem with the actuator.
If you don’t hear the actuator then it has completely failed or the wiring harness has come loose.
If you hear the actuator, but the door isn’t locking/unlocking, one of the locking rods has come off.
To be certain you’ll need to remove the door panel.
Replacing an actuator is fairly straightforward if you are mechanically inclined.
There are lots of tutorials online for this.
Signs of a bad door actuator include:
- Strange electric motor noises
- Keeps unlocking on its own
- Becomes harder to move by hand
- Door doesn’t latch closed properly
4. Ford F-150 Tailgate Not Locking
There are a number of causes why your F-150 tailgate might not be locking.
Key In Your Pocket
Make sure when you are testing if the tailgate is locked you don’t have the key fob in your pocket.
If the key is in your pocket/near the truck it will unlock and drop the tailgate.
“The only way to check if the lock is working properly is to leave fob somewhere at least 15′ away, then go physically check the handle.” – f150forum.com
“You can even sit in the truck, set the fob on the center console, lock the truck, get out and try and open the tailgate. It won’t open. Put the fob in your pocket and do this and it will….” – – f150forum.com
There is a sensor in the tailgate that knows if the fob is near, just like on the doors.
If this sensor is damaged or faulty it can cause locking/unlocking issues.
Tailgate Latch Needs Lubrication
If the tailgate isn’t locking try spraying some WD-40 into the latch mechanism.
- Frozen lock recall
- Bad ground
- Loose electrical wire
- Faulty BCM
5. Ford F-150 Tailgate Not Unlocking
A Ford F-150 tailgate that won’t unlock is often caused by a failed actuator/solenoid. If you’re mechanically inclined you can buy a replacement part online and fit it yourself otherwise it’s best to visit your dealership.
“Just took my 2018 Platinum in yesterday for this same issue. The lock actuator is the problem, on order and should be here on Tuesday.” – f150forum.com
“I had a failure, I use my truck for work and could not wait on the dealer for the warranty repair. Bought the part for $44 from the dealer (in stock). Took maybe 15 minutes to replace the solenoid. 100% a DIY repair.” – f150forum.com
“Had same problem on my 2015 Lariat (with tonneau cover. Solenoid failure.”
“Looks like a trip to the dealer! Probably the locking motor/solenoid toast–should be simple fix” – f150forum.com
A blown fuse is another common cause, you will need to check the fuse diagram for your specific model year truck, locate the tailgate fuse and test the fuse with a continuity tester.
It can also be caused by a failed relay or a wiring issue.
6. Ford F-150 Keeps Unlocking Itself
If your Ford F-150 keeps unlocking itself it may be caused by the Intelligent Access feature.
Here’s what the manual says:
The system uses a radio frequency signal to communicate with your vehicle and authorize your vehicle to unlock when one of the following conditions are met:
- You touch the inside of the front exterior door handle.
- You press the tailgate release button.
- You press a button on the transmitter
You may have some kind of electrical bug or glitch. You can try disconnecting the battery for 15 minutes and see if that clears it.
Other causes include a wiring fault, water damage, a weak 12V battery or a bad ground.
7. Ford F-150 Keeps Locking Itself
If your F-150 keeps locking itself this can be caused by corrosion or water on the contacts on the switch inside the door.
“My trucks power lock controls on the drivers side quit working a while back, opening the door in the rain was the culprit. Took it apart and cleaned and no more problems.” – f150forum.com
“I would pull my door panel off and check for any spots where water could have gotten into or on bare wire that could be a factor. My uncle is an electrician and I have seen lights and a few other things do that is there’s a short or corrosion. Other then that keep you key on you at all times.”
“My drivers door was locking by itself often. I took the door apart and sprayed the locking mechanism with some PB blaster and I have not had any problems since.” – f150forum.com
If the doors lock whilst driving then this is due to the Auto Locking feature which can be disabled in vehicle settings.
Autolock locks all the doors when all of the following occur:
- All doors are closed.
- The ignition is on.
- Your vehicle reaches a speed greater
than 12 mph (20 km/h).
8. Ford F-150 Not Locking or Unlocking With Key Fob
If your Ford F-150 won’t lock or unlock with the key fob then this is usually a problem with the key fob.
- Dirty contacts inside the fob – clean with a cotton swab and contact cleaner
- A weak fob battery – change the battery in your fob(s)
- A faulty key fob – have your fob replaced or reprogrammed
Try using your spare fob and see if that works – if it does then you know that there likely an issue with the original fob.
Other causes can include:
- A weak of faulty 12V battery
- BCM issues
- Wiring issues / electrical short
- Door not shut properly
9. Ford F-150 Not Beeping When Locking Doors
If your F-150 does not beep or honk when you lock the doors, this is most likely because you have disabled the audible feedback.
If you want to hear a beep/honk when you lock the door:
- On the screen menu navigate to ‘Settings’
- Select ‘Locks’
- Enable ‘Audible Feedback’.
“Resolved – The audible feedback in “Locks” setting was turned off. Not sure how this happened. Could it have been turned off by an OTA update? Anyhow, it’s working now. Thanks” – f150gen14.com