What To Do When Ford Steering Wheel Buttons Aren’t Working

Did you know that distracted driving kills nine people in the US every year? It’s easy to get distracted messing with your steering wheel control buttons, but troubleshooting them during your commute is dangerous!

If you’re curious about how to fix issues with your Ford steering wheel button malfunctions, we’re here to help. Read on for all the information you need to resolve these issues.

Ford Steering Wheel Button Malfunctions

What Are the Buttons on Ford Steering Wheel?

These days the vast majority of Ford steering wheels have some array of buttons on them, and their functions vary depending on your vehicle’s model, year, trim, and other factors.

Most commonly, Ford steering wheels have 1-2 buttons to control music and media. These include volume control, skipping a song, pausing the music, and other features.

Others may allow you to mute or stop the music. This accessibility prevents you from messing with your radio while you drive, keeping you focused on the road.

Another typical function is voice control. More modern vehicles will let you connect your phone through the stereo and answer calls with your wheel.

Doing so stops drivers from distracting themself with their phones during their commute.

Moreover, you’ll likely find cruise control and adaptive cruise control features on your wheel. These buttons allow you to activate or deactivate the cruise control feature without tinkering with levers or knobs. It’s a quick quality-of-life improvement for your driving!

How Do Buttons on a Ford Steering Wheel Work?

The buttons on your steering wheel work as switches similar to any other buttons in your vehicle. These buttons are connected to a switchboard and control various functions in your vehicle.

These buttons have simple wiring and few components, making them easy to troubleshoot. However, unless you’re skilled with electronics, you should leave working on them to professionals.

If you’re dealing with your Ford steering wheel control buttons not functioning properly, clean your buttons and check your settings. Afterward, check your fuses to see if this is your issue. Once these issues are ruled out, you should move to your switchboard or clock spring to see what the problem is.

Ford Steering Wheel Controls Not Working: Possible Causes

Now that we know more about the switches, we can focus on what’s causing them to malfunction. Here are five of the most common reasons why your steering wheel controls may fail to work properly.

Dirty Buttons

The most common reason for your vehicle’s buttons not working is that the buttons have become dirty. Over the years, the oil and dirt from your fingers pressing the buttons can cause them to fail to function.

You can usually notice this by sight alone. If the spaces between the buttons seem dirty – a strange color, visible sediment, or gunk – then this could likely be your cause.

If you’ve recently spilled something on your steering wheel such as a cup of coffee, this is also likely.

However, you may not be able to see the dirt! It’s far from uncommon for dirt to fall beneath or under the buttons.

Faulty Fuses

A second likely cause is that the fuses and wiring have gone faulty. These fuses may blow due to a manufacturing error or many other causes.

If this is the case, you’ll need to replace the fuses or wiring, which is difficult for many car owners.

Incorrect Settings

A simple solution is that your button’s settings are incorrectly set. These settings will help to decide what each button does and controls, as they’re customizable.

The settings are easy to change. Check the manual of your vehicle to see how to access the settings in your console. Look through these settings and make sure everything is properly set before proceeding to other issues.

Broken Switchboard

One of the more complex issues is that your switchboard has broken. The switchboard is behind these buttons and helps recognize and relay a button press. If none of the buttons are functioning, this is a likely cause.

Clock Spring

The clock spring is responsible for ensuring your vehicle steering systems are still connected to your wheel. This wire transmits connection to the airbag, horn, and all other electrical systems.

If the clock spring is broken or faulty, it may fail to deliver the signal to the rest of the vehicle when you use your control buttons.

Ford Steering Wheel Button Malfunctions

How To Fix Ford Steering Control Malfunctions

Depending on the issue, your fix may prove simple or highly complex. If these fixes feel out of your skillset, don’t hesitate to bring your vehicle to professionals!

Clean Buttons

The simplest fix is to clean your buttons. Doing so can remove the gunk and dirt that’s stopping them from properly registering a button press. You should use narrow tools like sturdy toothpicks and cotton swabs to get between the buttons.

Whether this is your issue or not, clean your buttons! It’ll help them function better and prevent a dirty, dingy appearance.

Check Settings and Fuses

The second easiest fix is to check your settings and ensure they’re properly set up. Doing so can help make sure you’re using the steering wheel properly and may fix your problem.

Afterward, check your fuses. Look at your manual to see where the fuses on your specific vehicle are.

Replace Switchboard

Replacing the switchboard is necessary if it’s sustained damage or become broken somehow. Doing so will usually require help, as this requires opening up the circuitry of your vehicle.

You’ll also need to ensure you’re getting a compatible switchboard. Switchboards aren’t universal! Search for your vehicle’s make, model, and year to ensure you’re purchasing the proper switchboard if you intend to replace it yourself.

Replace Clock Spring

Similar to the switchboard, you may need to replace your clock spring. Make sure that you’re purchasing the right one, and strongly consider bringing the vehicle to a professional repair service.

Your clock spring controls many safety features beyond your buttons. It’s crucial to ensure it’s properly installed.

Where Is the Steering Wheel Fuse Located on a Ford?

In most Fords, the fuse panel is located under the instrument panel. You can find this panel to the left of the steering column. Consult your manual to discern which fuse is your steering wheel fuse. You can also look into Ford’s fuse specification chart.

Where Is the Reset Button Located on a Ford Steering Wheel?

To reset your steering wheel, hold down the Power and Seek Right button for ten seconds. The Power button is at the center of the Volume knob. Some models of Fords also have a bar located beneath the steering wheel that works as a reset button, depending on the functions you’re resetting.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair Ford Steering Wheel Controls?

The price depends heavily on what you need repaired. You could only need to pay $10 or so for something as cheap as a new fuse or a replaced button.

If you’re replacing the switchboard or clock spring, it could cost more. Expect to spend as much as $200 depending on what you’re having repaired and what components you’re adding in.

Can You Use Aftermarket Steering Wheel Buttons?

Yes, but this isn’t always the best idea. Ford may nullify your warranty if you replace their components with another manufacturer’s, as they can’t verify the quality of these buttons. They also may function worse than official Ford buttons.

However, they also can sometimes prove cheaper. That said, the buttons are rarely the expensive part of repairing your steering wheel. While you can use aftermarket steering wheel buttons for your Ford steering wheel, there’s rarely a reason to do so beyond customization.

Driving Safe

For more automotive information, be sure to browse our extensive site! You can also contact us to learn more troubleshooting tips for your vehicles.

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Author: Dave Johnston

Dave is a hands-on automotive technician with experience in performing service, diagnostics, and repairs on domestic and imported vehicles. He enjoys writing and sharing his knowledge far and wide.

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