The Ford F-250 is a powerhouse of a pickup.
Despite being a tough truck, door and tailgate locking issues can occur.
In this article we’ll look at the most common F-250 locking problems and how to solve them.
Table of Contents
1. Ford F-250 Power Locks Not Working
If the power door locks aren’t working on your Ford F-250 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-250
- 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”.
“Have you checked the fuses? Its fuse #26 or 27 2nd row from left & very top fuse.” – powerStroke.org
“Found the fuse to the power door locks. It’s number 17. Looks like both back door actuators are done. They won’t unlock fully.” – powerStroke.org
Bad Ground or Wiring Issue
A bad ground wire or a damaged wire can cause a number of electrical issues including issues with the power lock doors. The wires in the driver’s door channel are very prone to breaking.
“Just to check back in…. I found my problem was a broken wire (pink/gn) inside the door channel. I pulled back the rubber boot and bingo, there laid a broken wire. Spliced back together, locks work fine now!” – powerstroke.org
Broken or Damaged Relay
A door lock relay is an electromagnetic switch that uses minimal electric power to turn a bigger current on and off.
The central part of a relay is a wire coil that turns into a magnet when current passes through it.
- On many F-250 models the relays are internal to the BCM.
- One controls the driver’s door, one controls the passenger front and both rear doors.
- If they are not working they can cause locking/unlocking problems
If you have a damaged relay then the door will not receive the voltage it requires to unlock.
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-250 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-250 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.
If they make a noise and twitch a bit like they are attempting to operate, but don’t, this means the actuators are faulty.
“I’ll place my bet on the actuators. Try fixing one to see if makes a difference. If it does, do the other 3.” – powerstroke.org
However, the door lock actuators can get very dirty over time as can the latches, so its a good idea to give them a thorough clean and some lubrication.
“I had the same issue with my F250, they are not functioning correctly because they are full of dust & grime, you will be surprised just how gunked up they are. Take the inner door panels off, then the clear protective plastic sheet & your then inside there Its an easy fix. I was constantly blowing that #17 fuse until I did a thorough clean up they work fine now.” – powerstroke.org
2. Ford F-250 Frozen Door Locks
A very common complaint from F-250 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 2017 – 2019 Ford F250s, it also affected various other Ford pickup trucks.
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 reportedly haven’t always worked.
One onwner on F150Forum.com shared his insights:
“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.”
3. Ford F-250 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 and 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
“I have replaced the door lock actuators on every F250 I have owned over the years, but usually around the 2-3 year mark. “ – Ford-Trucks.com
“Hopefully this is not the same issues I experienced with my 2013 F150. I replaced all of the lock actuators at least once during the 6 years I owned it” Ford-Trucks.com
“Had the same issue. Dealer replaced the complete latch and actuator in the door under warranty and told me it was common.” – Ford-Trucks.com
Clean and Lubricate the Latches
Before handing over your hard earned money its a good idea to give all door latches a thorough clean and lubricate them with some WD-40 to see if that does the trick.
4. Ford F-250 Tailgate Not Locking
There are a number of causes why your F-250 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 the tailgate.
“Make sure you don’t have the key in your pocket, at least on some trim models with the remote access key the tailgate will recognize you have the key and will automatically unlock whenever you walk up to it.” – Ford-Trucks.com
Check the connectors and wiring for the tailgate – ensure there is no damage and eveything is connected properly.
You can also apply dialectric grease to them.
You may have to drop the spare in order to get to them.
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.
- Recall or TSB
- Bad ground
- Loose electrical wire
- Faulty BCM
5. Ford F-250 Tailgate Not Unlocking
A Ford F-250 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.
One F-250 owner on Ford-Trucks.com shared the cause of his tailgate no opening:
“I brought it to Ford and they said the part that unlocks the hinges inside the tailgate was going bad. They ordered a new part.”
Another owner on the same forum shared their possible solution:
“Apparently there isn’t a motor in the tailgate. It has an actuator that opens a hook, and the tailgate falls due to gravity and two rubber blocks on the bed, located about 3/4 of the way up on the bed.
I found out that if one or both of those blocks gets rotated 90 degrees up or down, the tailgate won’t open..
Push your tailgate. Literally put your hand on the left or right of the handle, push in with some force, and then try to open the tailgate with the fob or the button under the handle, while applying pressure with the other hand. I bet your tailgate will open!
Look for the two blocks. See if one of them is facing the wrong way. Once I fixed that, my tailgate was good as new!“
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, wiring issue or there might be a recall.
6. Ford F-250 Keeps Unlocking Itself
If your Ford F-250 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, a door not shut properly or a bad ground.
“Do you have any moisture on your fuse panel? Check for water leaking in the left side of the window, its pretty common from what I have read.
It seems to cause all types of electrical gremlins.” – ford-trucks.com
“One of your door switches is getting water on the connections and shorting out. Remove the switch on each door and silicone around the connection,or find where the water is getting in at and seal it.” – ford-trucks.com
“I know it seems kind of simple, but happened to me before. It may or may not be the answer but make sure all the doors are closed tightly. For some reason my 2006 wont stay locked (drivers door) if there is another door cracked open. This only happens when i use the key fob or the door switch to lock, manually it stays down.”
7. Ford F-250 Keeps Locking Itself
If your F-250 keeps locking itself this can be caused by corrosion or water on the contacts on the switch inside the door.
Ford truck owners shared the following insights:
“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.”
“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.”
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-250 Not Locking or Unlocking With Key Fob
If your Ford F-250 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.
Also you can go to a local auto parts store and they can test to see whether your key fob is transmitting a signal.
Other causes can include:
- Recall or TSB to be addressed – run a VIN check
- Water damage to key fob
- A weak of faulty 12V battery
- BCM issues
- Wiring issues / electrical short
- Door not shut properly
- Keyless Entry receiver Fault