Ford F150 Starting System Fault Fixed – Here’s How

Starting issues are one of the common problems faced by Ford F150 owners. While these issues range from no crack to crank but no start, a ‘starting system fault’ message on the dash and the engine not turning on is one of them. Do you have a similar issue? Here is your answer!

What causes the Ford F150 starting system fault? The Ford F150 starting system fault is typically an alerting message to tell you there is an issue in the vehicle’s starting system. It can be caused by a malfunctioning starter motor, starter solenoid, or a problem with the ignition switch. This issue can also appear due to a dead or dying battery, a failed anti-theft system, or a failing powertrain control module.

All these can prevent the engine from turning over and starting, leaving you stranded. Continue reading to learn more about the 2013 Ford F150 starting system fault and potential solutions.

What Causes Ford F150 Starting System Fault?

2013 Ford F150 Starting System Fault

The Ford F150 is known to develop issues like engine cranking, but it won’t start and displays a “Starting System Fault” warning on the dashboard. It’s especially common with the 2013 Ford F150s. There are several causes of this issue, but most of them are connected to the wiring of the start system. If your Ford F150 cranks but won’t start, you could be dealing with the following problems:

Dead or Weak Battery

The battery is a critical component of the starting system in a 2013 Ford F150 truck. Its primary function is to provide voltage to the starter motor when the ignition key is turned. Over time, a battery can become discharged or degraded to the point where it cannot deliver enough current to power the starter adequately. 

Some common reasons for battery failure include normal aging after many start/stop cycles, leaving accessories powered without the engine running, extreme hot or cold temperatures, or improper maintenance like infrequent watering of wet cell batteries. 

A battery’s cranking output will diminish each year as it ages until; eventually, it cannot reliably turn over the engine. Defective or degraded alternators may fail to recharge the battery between uses fully. This constant draining can prematurely weaken even a newer battery.


  • Test battery voltage; it should be above 12.4V. Below 12V indicates the battery is drained or damaged.
  • Try to jump-start the truck with another good battery to confirm if the battery is at fault.
  • Check for aftermarket accessories drawing power continuously with the engine off.
  • Inspect alternators, cables, terminals, and connections for signs of corrosion or loose connections. Have the alternator tested to check the charging voltage output.


  • If the battery is drained or aged, replace it with a new OEM or AGM battery suitable for climate conditions. Properly maintain the charging system to prevent the new battery from failing prematurely.
  • If jump starting works, the battery may need to be recharged or replaced preemptively to ensure reliable starting. Consider an aftermarket dual battery setup if accessories are overly taxing.
  • Replace the worn or faulty alternator that is unable to charge the battery adequately. Inspect/tighten any loose or corroded cables or connections impeding voltage regulation.

Failed Starter Motor

The starter motor’s sole responsibility is to engage with the flywheel and crank the engine when commanded by the ignition switch. However, mechanical and electrical failures within the starter can prevent it from fulfilling this crucial duty. Common causes involve worn brushes and commutators, failed drive or armature, damaged solenoid, defective wiring connections, or corrosion buildup over time.


  • Inspect for corroded or damaged wiring/connections at the starter solenoid and battery. Clean terminals if necessary.
  • With the ignition key in the “START” position, listen for the solenoid to click loudly as it engages. Lack of click may indicate a failed solenoid or wiring issue.
  • Have the assistant manually engage the starter using a wrench while you listen for engine turnover attempts. A lack of spinning could mean a faulty starter motor.


  • If there is a solenoid/wiring issue, replace the failing component. Clean any corrosion.
  • If the starter motor is found to be faulty, replace it with a new OEM or remanufactured unit suitable for the truck’s size and electrical requirements.
  • Once work is complete, properly torque all electrical connections to manufacturer specs to ensure a reliable circuit.
  • Consider upgrading to a high-torque starter if the truck is heavily modified with aftermarket components, putting more load on the starting system.

Failed Ignition Switch

The ignition switch is the gateway allowing electric current to flow from the battery to other system components. Unfortunately, switches degrade with normal usage and are susceptible to breaking internally. Additionally, a worn or damaged ignition lock cylinder may prevent proper engagement between the key and switch. Lack of power delivery due to a failed ignition switch means the starter motor will not receive voltage; thus, the engine will not turn over.


  • Turn the key and check if all dash lights and accessories are powered on as normal in the RUN position. No power could indicate a switch issue.
  • Turn the key to START and listen for a distinct click from the relay as the switch sends power to the starter solenoid. No click may mean a failed switch.
  • Jump starter power directly to solenoid wire. If it engages, the switch is likely faulty.


  • If the switch is found faulty, replace it with a new OEM or equivalent unit for year/make/model.
  • Ensure the correct replacement switch with adapters if the steering column was modified.
  • Check the ignition lock cylinder condition and consider a replacement if worn to prevent future switch problems.
  • Have any worn or damaged connectors/wires serviced to rule out secondary issues masking a switch fault.
  • Properly secure all electrical connections and inspect regularly for signs of wear or corrosion on terminals.

Remote Starter Problems

Some 2013 Ford F150s may be equipped with an aftermarket remote starter system. These convenience devices use a fob to turn the engine over from a distance before the driver even gets in the vehicle. However, problems with the remote starter itself could paradoxically prevent regular key-start operation:

  • Faulty remote starter unit may drain the battery if failing to properly disengage after using its start function. This leaves insufficient reserves for the standard ignition starter. 
  • Incorrectly installed remote starter wiring could potentially backfeed voltage in the wrong locations, confusing safety circuits and starter signals.


  • Inspect remote starter unit for any visible damage or moisture intrusion. Test functionality with remote.
  • Check for aftermarket accessory/security drains on battery. Monitor voltage over time.
  • Examine remote starter wiring path for chafe points, incorrect routing, or signs of overheating.
  • Test starter and ignition switch circuits separately from remote unit to isolate variable.


  • If the unit is faulty, replace it with a properly rated OEM remote starter from a reputable installer.
  • Reroute/insulate any wiring harnesses in poor locations prone to damage.
  • Install switched accessory isolation box to prevent parasitic loads.
  • Consider dual battery setup with isolation relay to keep remote units separate.
  • Have a certified technician inspect the full system for correct wiring per manufacturer specifications.
  • Reprogram the remote if the signal output is weakened, or replace the battery if failing.

Faulty Wiring

Degraded or shorted electrical wiring is another potential cause of disabling starting ability. Over the lifespan of a vehicle, wiring can become damaged, cracked, or corroded. This opens the potential for faulty connections or power/ground failures throughout the starting system. 

Examples include pinched ignition switch wires, brittle battery cables, chaffed starter wiring, or loose terminal connections failing to conduct enough current. Proper diagnosis is needed to locate any wire faults.


  • Crack the starter periodically while having an assistant inspect for smooth operation inside the bell housing. Listen for distinctive engagement whine/grind or lack thereof.
  • Test starter circuit voltage drop and control circuit voltage with a voltmeter/test light during starting attempts.
  • Back probe starter solenoid manually with a jumper wire to bypass the ignition switch signal as a test.


  • If the starter fails to engage or spins slowly/roughly, a rebuild kit or replacement may be needed. Check the bendix, mounts, and one-way clutch for excessive wear/damage.
  • If voltage tests/solenoid bypass indicate a control circuit issue, inspect the wiring, connections, ignition switch and starter relay. Repair any faulty components as needed.
  • If the starter normally runs while manually activated but not via the ignition switch signal, focus troubleshooting on the switch and corresponding wiring/grounds. Repair or replace the switch.
  • Clean any accumulated corrosion from starter contacts/housing that could impede electrical conduction or smooth mechanical operation.

Blown Fuses

Critical starting circuit fuses can occasionally blow due to wiring faults, mechanical issues creating excessive current draw, or other defects. Without the necessary amperage flowing, the starter, fuel pump, ignition coils and other components may not activate as required. Checking all relevant fuses is a must for no-start issues. It is a common issues with these Ford trucks.


  • Inspect all fuses relevant to the starting system (Battery, Ignition, Starter, Fuel Pump, etc.) for damage or blown traces
  • Back probe each side of the fuse while cranking to check for power interruption


  • Replace any fuses found blown with the correct rated fuse.
  • Identify the root cause of overloading, such as a short circuit, and then address repair before replacing a fuse.
  • Check fuse box and wiring connections for corrosion, damage or loose connections causing Resistance and overheating. Tighten or repair as needed.

Incorrectly Coded or Uncoded Key

One additional mechanical reason that could prevent starts is an incorrectly cut transponder chip in the vehicle key. Modern immobilizer-equipped vehicles like the 2013 Ford F150 rely on radio communication between the key and powertrain control module. The PCM will not enable ignition or fuel systems without a properly coded signal.

Examples include using a non-valid “valet” key without programming, swapping to a key for a different vehicle by mistake, or having a key cut without the transponder inserted. The result is the engine will fail to initiate despite electrical and mechanical starting systems working properly.


  • Attempt starting with a known good coded key from the same vehicle.
  • Check for codes related to immobilizer communication issues.


  • Re-code the key if the transponder is incorrectly programmed.
  • Replace the improperly cut key without a chip or transponder installed.
  • Diagnose wiring harness or module faults interrupting immobilizer circuits if issues persist with a good key. Repair/replace security components as needed.

Failed Powertrain Control Module (RARE) 

The powertrain control module (PCM) is the central command hub for modern engine and transmission functions. It monitors vital sensors while controlling fuel injection, ignition timing, and other parameters crucial to starting and running the engine. 

If the PCM experiences an internal failure, starting may become impossible. Potential causes include component ageing/wear, environmental damage from moisture or extreme temperatures over time, and manufacturing defects. Without proper signals from the PCM, the engine management system cannot coordinate the sequence needed to fire the starter and ignite the fuel.


  • Connect the scan tool and check for stored engine/immobilizer fault codes related to PCM inputs or outputs.
  • Back probe PCM wiring harness connectors are used to test for incoming power, ground, and data signals using a voltmeter or oscilloscope.
  • Attempt temporary reprogramming/reflashing of PCM software as a test.


  • Replace PCM if internal diagnostics or testing reveals a failed component. Ensure the new module is properly programmed for the vehicle.
  • Repair any shorted, interrupted or fouled wiring harness connections preventing required PCM communications.
  • Replace faulty sensors if scan data or component tests indicate they provide improper readings to confuse PCM operation.
  • Recheck wiring and connections after PCM replacement to avoid potential new module damage from the previous faulty circuit.

Pro Tip: It is vital to be aware that a “Starting System Fault” notification does not always mean the starting system itself has an issue. It can also indicate a dilemma with another system that stops the engine from initiating. For instance, if there’s a failed fuel pump or camshaft position sensor, it too could result in this alert appearing on your screen.

Related: Ford F150 Transmission Problems: Solve Common Issues, Repair & Replace Cost

What Are the Symptoms of Ford F150 Starting System Fault Issue?

The starting system in a vehicle is responsible for turning the engine over and starting the vehicle. If there is a fault in the starting system, it can cause several problems and make it difficult to start the vehicle. The 2013 Ford F150 is no exception, and if you are experiencing a starting system fault, you may notice the following symptoms:

Difficulty starting the vehicle

One of the most common symptoms of a starting system fault is difficulty starting the vehicle. That can manifest as a slow crank or a complete lack of response when turning the key.

The engine is cranking but not starting

When your vehicle’s starter system is experiencing an issue, you might hear the engine trying to crank but not starting. This could be due to various causes, from a faulty starter motor or battery power issues to malfunctioning electrical components in the system.

Warning lights or messages on the dashboard

In some cases, a starting system fault may trigger warning lights or messages on the dashboard. This can include the check engine light, the battery light, or a message indicating a problem with the starting system.

Clicking or grinding noise when trying to start

If you hear a faint clicking or grinding noise when starting your car, it may be due to an issue with the starter motor or flywheel. That is usually indicative of a problem with the vehicle’s starting system.

The smell of burning or overheating

If the starting system is malfunctioning, it may overheat and cause a burning smell to come from the engine compartment. A problem with the starter motor or the wiring can cause this.

Related: How to Turn off Backup Beeper on 2021 Ford F150


How can you prevent a 2013 Ford F150 starting system fault?

The best way to prevent a starting system fault is to ensure your vehicle receives regular maintenance and inspections. This includes having the battery, starter motor, terminals, ignition switch, wiring, PCM and BCM, fuel pump and injectors, alternator, and voltage regulator checked regularly for any signs of wear or damage.

How regularly should you maintain a 2013 Ford F150 starting system?

To keep your vehicle starting system in optimal condition, it is recommended to be checked every six months or 5,000 miles – whichever comes first. That will help detect any possible issues beforehand, thereby preventing a breakdown of the starting system. Additionally, look for signs that could indicate trouble with the system so you can take appropriate action quickly.

Can you fix a 2013 Ford F150 starting system fault on your own?

It is not recommended to attempt to diagnose and repair a starting system fault alone. It is best to take the vehicle to a professional mechanic who can properly diagnose the issue and repair or replace any faulty parts. Attempting to repair a starting system fault on your own can lead to further damage and complicate the process.


A 2013 Ford F150 starting system fault can prevent your vehicle from starting, but a professional mechanic must inspect and repair it as soon as possible. Proper maintenance and inspections are vital in preventing a starting system fault, as well as being alert for any warning signs that may indicate an issue. With the proper care, your starting system should function properly and provide reliable vehicle operation.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow by Email
Scroll to Top