Got the dreaded Hill Start Assist Not Available message or a Hill Start Assist OFF light on your Ford? That’s a bummer because this is an effective system, especially for those living in an area with many slopes. There are several reasons for this though.
Your Ford’s Hill Start Assist may not be working due to a random error, a faulty ABS sensor, problems with the traction control, a software glitch or it could just be due to a bad brake light fuse. If you don’t have an OBD-II scanner, these issues should be your first guesses.
Below is some more info about the problem:
What does Ford Hill Assist do?
This is a system that makes life easier in hilly areas. Let’s say that you’re stopped on a hill and you need to start driving. This is where you need to not just drive over the hill, but also need to prevent the vehicle from rolling down the hill dangerously.
What Ford Hill Assist does is prevent your vehicle from rolling back by automatically operating the brakes when needed. It uses sensors to gather data about how steep the hill is and works accordingly. It applies a lot of pressure to the brakes, giving you enough time to hit the accelerator and drive off. Otherwise, you’d have to awkwardly hit both the throttle and the brake.
How do I activate Ford Hill Start Assist?
To make the Hill Assist system work, you simply get to a hill and use the brakes to stop your Ford on it completely. Keep pressing the brake until you hear the sound for the system’s activation. There will be an indication that HSA is on as well.
Possible causes of Hill Start Assist not available Ford explained
Your Ford Hill Assist may not work and you can get the Hill Start Assist OFF light. In modern times where people rely a lot on driver’s assistance tech, it is quite difficult for most to do hill starts on their own. You need to plug in an OBD-II scanner to find out the cause.
If you cannot do that, then check out the following possible causes for this:
- Random error
It is not uncommon to have random messages, lights, or codes pop up on your dash. You can even get the Hill Start Assist not available message on your Ford this way. The reason could be anything, even a lack of miles on the odometer.
Ford drivers on forums have even reported this message pop up when they drove out of their garage with their hood open. Another possible culprit is if you’ve held the start button for too long and some features have been disabled.
- Bad ABS sensor
A common culprit of this issue is when you have a fried Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) sensor. There isn’t a fix for this though. In order to resolve the issue, you have to replace the sensor altogether.
- Turned OFF ESC and TC
Another possible cause for this is if you have both the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and the Traction Control (TC) turned completely off. Like the Hill Assist, both are related to the vehicle’s stability and are connected with each other.
Users online have stated that this problem went away after they restarted their car. It is because the default setting for the traction and stability controls came back on after the restart. Hence, the HSA came back on as well. You too can verify this by checking for the ESC and TC.
- Software glitch
When an electronic part of a car goes bad, there’s a fair chance that there’s a software issue. This is one of the main causes of the Hill Start Assist not being available. There was a Technical Service Bulletin (TSB) released by Ford a few years ago to address something similar.
- Brake light problem
One possible cause here is when the fuse of the brake lights isn’t working. This is due to the HSA system putting a lot of pressure on the brakes. This can result in the electronic circuit malfunctioning sometimes.
How do I reset Hill Start Assist?
You simply press the button to turn off the traction control. You then press it again and you’ll notice that the Hill Start Assist light on the right side of the instrument cluster is on.