During its fourteen generations of being on sale, the Ford F-150 has come a long way from its humble work truck beginnings. Not only has it grown in size, but it has also inherited some of the latest technologies the world has to offer. Air Conditioning is one such feature, but it has been known to give headaches to F-150 owners from time to time.
Resetting the AC on the Ford F-150 is one of the best ways of combatting this common issue. And today, we’re gonna teach you how to do it the correct way.
In short, taking out the HVAC fuse and replacing it is all you have to do to reset the AC on a Ford F-150. Keep this in mind when the climate control on your pickup starts acting up next time.
AC on the Ford F-150
In its infancy, the Ford F-150 was nothing more than a simple work vehicle that was designed to carry heavy objects around in farmlands and fields. However, as the pickup truck evolved into what we know and love today, so did its user base. The pickup truck became a common vehicle around the suburbs just as it did on farmlands, and its features had to evolve as a result, too.
Air conditioning was first offered as an optional extra on the F-150 in the 1960s. Nowadays, it comes as a standard option across the F-150 range. But, as much as we all love the air conditioning system on the F-150, reports of its failure are plenty to come by.
Imagine this – you’re driving through Death Valley in your beloved F-150, and suddenly the air conditioning starts acting up. What do you do next? This is one of many occasions where knowing how to reset the AC comes in handy.
Before teaching you how to reset the AC on the Ford F-150, we’ll explore some common issues related to this system and the causes behind them.
Most Common F-150 AC Problems
Although the F-150 is considered to be one of the most reliable pickup trucks on the planet, there are several widespread issues with its air conditioning system. These include,
- Weak Airflow
- Poor Cooling
- Refrigerant Leaks
- Foul Odors from the AC
- AC Compressor Failure
- Blend Door Actuator Failures
- Blower Motor Issues
Let us go through each of these problems individually to identify their symptoms and the root causes behind them.
Weak airflow from the AC is a widespread issue not only in the F-150 but in other Ford models as well. If the AC is not blowing cold and refreshing air even when you crank the dial to the max, you might need to do an investigation under the hood.
A dirty cabin air filter can lead to weak airflow, so we recommend you start your investigation from there. Also called the microfilter and pollen filter, this integral component of the air conditioning system is responsible for filtering out dirt and debris from the air that goes into the cabin.
In addition to weakening the airflow, dirty cabin filters will also cause reduced cooling and heating. Not only that, but a weak filter also puts additional strain on the climate control system, which can increase your F-150’s fuel consumption.
If you suspect that the cabin air filter is to blame for the weak airflow issue, cleaning it is the recommended first course of action. Thoroughly clean the filter either using a vacuum or an air compressor, and check whether it restores the airflow. If not, it might be time for a cabin air filter replacement. Ford recommends you swap out this filter every 10,000 to 20,000 miles.
If the cabin doesn’t get cold, even though the air flows through it just fine, your F-150’s air conditioning condenser might be clogged. The air condenser’s main responsibility is releasing the heat from the refrigerant to the air, and over time, it gets clogged up with dirt, grime, and other minute particles.
Just like the air filter, cleaning the air condenser is the go-to fix in this situation. It is not as easy as cleaning the air filter, however, because you’ll have to take off the entire front bumper of the F-150 in order to do so.
Refrigerant Leaks are another common problem that affects several Ford F-150 model years. This is what cools the air entering the cabin, and in ideal situations, it should never leak from the sealed piping.
Although some natural gas loss over time is acceptable, worn AC lines, a damaged condenser, or a defective sealing ring can all cause refrigerant to escape from your F-150’s system.
On most occasions, you’ll need the help of an expert to locate the source of a refrigerant leak, as it requires special equipment.
Foul Odors from the AC
Eating food inside the cabin can cause foul odors to build up inside, but it can happen due to a dirty evaporator, too. In addition to a moldy smell, choppy airflow also indicates that your evaporator might be clogged up.
The evaporator usually gets dirty due to dirt particles coming into contact with it. Cleaning the evaporator is another cumbersome and expensive repair, as it requires the whole dashboard to be removed. We don’t recommend trying this on your own unless you are an expert mechanic.
AC Compressor Failure
The AC compressor is the most important part of the whole F-150 air conditioning system. The compressor is what converts the coolant gas into liquid and keeps the cabin ice cold.
The compressor has several moving parts, and it can fail due to several reasons. One is simply not using it for a while, which causes the parts inside to stick and become immovable. Insufficient lubrication can also deal catastrophic damage to the AC compressor, sending metal shards all across the AC system.
On most occasions, AC compressors are not repairable and instead should be replaced by a brand-new one. Expect to spend around $500 to have this repair performed by a qualified mechanic.
Blend Door Actuator Failures
If the temperature of your F-150’s air conditioning system seems off, the blend door actuator might be on its way out. In addition to poor temperature controls, ticking or knocking sounds coming from inside the dashboard as soon as you turn on the air conditioning are another sign that points toward blend door actuator failure.
Blower Motor Issues
Bad blower motors are the final issue we’ll be taking a look at today. If there is no airflow inside the passenger compartment, even when you turn it up, you are dealing with a bad blower motor. Weird noises coming from the AC are another sign of a bad blower motor, and you’ll have to replace it with a new one as this part can’t be repaired. If blower motors keep failing repeatedly, you might want to inspect the wiring and fuses before proceeding with the repairs.
Now that you know all the common problems with the Ford F-150s AC system, it is time to learn how to reset it.
Resetting Ford F-150 AC
To reset the AC on the Ford F-150, first, you have to close all the doors and turn the engine on. Next, press and hold the power button and defrost buttons for a few seconds before releasing them. Finally, press the climate control button to finish the climate control rest procedure.
If that fails to achieve a result, you can try resetting the blend door actuator. To start the process, first remove the HVAC system fuse, which cuts power to it. Turn on the engine, and let the AC run for a few minutes until the AC resets itself.
Then, turn the F-150 off before putting the fuse back in its place. Start the truck once again to check whether the actuator is working as intended.
Preventative Maintenance Tips to Keep Ford F-150 AC Running Smoothly
There is an old saying that goes, “Prevention is better than cure,” and the same applies here. Some tips you can follow to prolong the lifespan of your F-150’s AC include,
- Frequent Recharges
- Weekly Running
- Perform Scheduled Services
Maintaining adequate refrigerant levels inside the AC system is essential if you want to make your AC last as long as the F-150 itself. We recommend recharging the refrigerant every two to three years to keep the system running at its optimum.
Not using the AC for prolonged periods is harmful to its internals, so we recommend running the system every week for at least 10 minutes. Don’t forget to run the defroster for 10 minutes every week too, as it prevents any moisture build-up on the internals.
No matter which model year your F-150 is from, you are bound to come across AC issues once in a while. Remember to use what you learned here today, and continue enjoying that ice-cold breeze.