No Key Detected In Ford F-150 [Even When Key Is In Hand] – Why And What To Do?

You’re about to go for a drive in your Ford F-150, but it doesn't detect the key fob. Now, you're wondering why this error appeared. What can you do to solve this issue? We researched this concern for your convenience, and here's what we found.

Troubleshooting the cause of your Ford F-150 failing to detect the key fob should be your first course of action. Take note this problem may originate from different sources, like a bad key fob battery. Once you find the main reason why the truck isn’t detecting the key fob, you can proceed with the fix by using the appropriate solution based on your findings.

You should continue reading as we talk about the possible reasons why your F-150 isn’t detecting its key fob in greater detail. We’ll also tackle some potential solutions that may help fix this problem.

Why Is My Ford F-150 Saying No Key Detected?

The Ford F-150 may fail to detect its key fob for several different reasons. It might not detect the key fob even if it’s in your hand and you’re holding it close to the truck.

Here are some of the relatively common reasons why your F-150 can’t detect the key:

2020 Ford F-150 Raptor pickup truck at a Ford dealership, No Key Detected In Ford F-150 [Even When Key Is In Hand] - Why And What To Do?

Bad Key Fob Battery

The typical key fob battery lasts about 3 to 4 years before it needs a replacement. But note that the battery's quality can also affect its lifespan. So you may encounter your F-150’s key fob’s features fail if it has a low-quality battery.

Damaged Key Fob

A vehicle’s key fob isn’t indestructible and can be susceptible to harm from exterior forces. For instance, you might accidentally fumble your F-150’s key fob, resulting in it falling to the ground. This incident may render the key fob useless, and you might have to replace it in order to use certain wireless features of the truck.

Faulty Connections

Perhaps you recently installed aftermarket accessories in your Ford F-150's cabin, particularly near the ignition. If so, you may accidentally disconnect or bring harm to the ignition or proximity sensor for the key fob. These new accessories may be preventing the truck from detecting the nearby key fob.

Wireless Interference

Certain locations might be using the same frequency used by your Ford F-150 to detect its key fob. These radio frequencies may clash, interrupting the detection process.

Invalid Key

Make sure that you’re using your Ford F-150’s registered key fob for the truck to detect it properly. Perhaps you picked up an incorrect key, which may happen if you’re the proud owner of multiple vehicles. Another reason is that you brought a spare key, although you didn’t program the reserve unit yet.

Push Start Button Malfunction

The ignition button in a Ford F-150 often has a proximity sensor to detect the key fob when it's nearby. This button might encounter a fault, preventing it from locating the nearby key fob.

How Do I Replace The Battery In My Ford F-150 Key Fob?

Businessman opens his luxurious car door with a modern remote control key

First, check your F-150’s owner’s manual to verify the battery to use for the vehicle’s key fob. Another option is to check the battery’s type when you open the key fob during the replacement procedure.

Once you’re ready to proceed with this task, move forward by following these general steps:

What You’ll Need

  • Replacement battery
  • Flathead screwdriver (optional)

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Press the button on the key fob’s handle.
  2. Maintain sufficient pressure on that button as you pull out the key fob’s emergency mechanical key.
  3. Insert the mechanical key or a flathead screwdriver into the newly exposed slot.
  4. Wiggle the mechanical key or screwdriver to pry open the key fob’s outer shell.
  5. Remove the old battery.
  6. Install the new battery while paying attention to the correct orientation.
  7. Reassemble the outer shell assembly and check if your Ford F-150 can now detect the key fob.

Check out this replacement button battery for Ford key fobs on Amazon.

You can also watch the video below if you need a visual guide for this procedure:

How To Replace The Push Start Button On A Ford F-150?

Take note that the following guide may require additional steps for your specific Ford F-150 model. Check your owner’s manual, or consult with the truck’s manufacturer or your vehicle dealer if you need help with this task.

Keep reading this section for you to understand the general concept of how to replace the push start button on a Ford F-150:

What You’ll Need

  • Replacement push start button

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Turn off the F-150’s engine and engage its parking brake.
  2. Open the panel underneath the steering wheel and locate the push-start button assembly.
  3. Disconnect the worn push start button.
  4. Connect the new push start button and slide it into the correct terminal.
  5. Close the panel and check if the truck can now detect its key fob.

Check out this remote start kit with a replacement push start button on Amazon.

Watch this short clip to see the steps mentioned above in action:

How Do You Reprogram A Ford F-150 Key Fob?

A Ford car key fob on a table

Often, a Ford F-150’s key fob may encounter a software glitch. If so, reprogramming it may restore its wireless features.

Here are the general steps to complete this reprogramming task:

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Close all the doors except the driver-side door.
  2. Press the mechanical unlock button on the driver-side door.
  3. Cycle the truck’s push start button by pressing it repeatedly for 8 times. Ensure that the last part of this step ends with it on “Run.”
  4. Press any button on the key fob within 8 seconds after the last press on the push start button.
  5. Turn the ignition off and check if you can now use the Ford F-150’s key as normal.

How Do I Start My F-150 With A Dead Key Fob?

2021 Ford F-150-Raptor on the parking

You may not need your Ford F-150’s wireless ignition feature to start the truck. Perhaps the only item you’ll need for this job is your key fob, and there are two ways to complete this task:

Method #1: Use The Slot In The Cup Holder

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Remove the cover from the second cup holder to expose a slot for your key fob.
  2. Insert the key fob into the designated slot.
  3. The ignition button should start flashing, allowing you to start the vehicle.

Watch this clip to see these steps in action:

Method #2: Use The Slot In The Center Area

Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Lift the front center seat or console.
  2. Remove the bottom cover to expose the slot for your key fob.
  3. Insert the key fob into the newly exposed slot and close the cover.
  4. You should now be able to start the truck while the key fob is still in its slot.

Watch this short video if you need help finding the slot for the key fob:

Final Thoughts

Ford Puma is a subcompact crossover SUV produced by Ford

Remember, your Ford F-150 may not detect the key fob, even when it's nearby. The cause of this issue might come from the key fob or the vehicle. Take the time in troubleshooting the source of the problem. If you can't find the issue's origins, or you need help in solving this problem, you may need to ask for expert automotive assistance for the solution.

If you’re looking for answers to other truck issues, check out these other great posts:

Chevy Silverado Ignition Key Won’t Turn – Why And What To Do?

Truck Won’t Go Into Park – Why And To Do?