How to Reset the Anti-Theft System on a Ford

You can reset a Ford anti-theft system by turning the key in the driver’s side lock a couple of times so your vehicle recognizes the transponder inside the key.
Written by Mary Cahill
Reviewed by Jessa Claeys
background
You can reset the anti-theft system on a Ford by turning your key in both directions and holding it in the turned position for about 40 to 60 seconds both times. Once the vehicle is able to recognize the transponder key the anti-theft system will reset. 
Ford’s anti-theft system is a great safety feature—until it works against you. If the system was triggered accidentally, you won’t be able to start your car because the anti-theft technology will immobilize your engine. This can be extremely frustrating, especially if you’re on your way to a time-sensitive engagement. 
That’s why
Jerry
, the vehicle expert and
car insurance
comparison app, is here to walk you through the process of resetting the anti-theft system on a Ford. Never worry about fighting with your immobilized engine again! 
And since you’re here, we’ll also toss in a couple of helpful hints on how you can score serious savings on
Ford insurance costs
. Let’s jump right in. 
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How to reset the Ford anti-theft system

The anti-theft system must recognize your transponder key or key fob to reset. There are two ways you can go about getting your vehicle to recognize the coded key: inserting it into the driver’s side door lock or inserting it in the ignition.  
If you want to try resetting the anti-theft system by putting your Ford transponder key in the driver’s side door lock, the process is very straightforward. 
All you need to do is insert the key and turn it slightly—not enough to actually unlock the door. Hold the key in this turned position for 40 to 60 seconds so that the anti-theft system can detect the embedded code. Then, turn the key in the opposite direction and hold it there for another 40 to 60 seconds. 
Remove the key, get behind the wheel, and attempt to start the engine. If the Ford anti-theft system successfully reset, the engine will turn and you’ll be good to go. 
The other method involves similar steps, but instead of putting the transponder key into the door, you’ll insert it into the ignition. Turn the key just enough to let the electrical system come on. You may see a solid or blinking anti-theft light on the dashboard display—but not necessarily. Either way, let the key rest in this position for around two to three minutes
Once your Ford detects the transponder key in the ignition, this should reset the anti-theft system and allow your engine to turn. It might take a few attempts, so don’t panic if it doesn’t work on the first try.  
If you’ve repeated the process a handful of times with no luck or you don’t have the transponder key or key fob, you’ll probably need to have a professional vehicle technician fix the issue. 

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What does the anti-theft system on a Ford do?

Ford’s anti-theft system is called Securilock®. This is a passive anti-theft system (PATS) that automatically engages once you park your car, remove the key, close the doors, and lock up. 
When Securilock perceives a threat, it immobilizes the engine, making it impossible for the vehicle to start. If a non-coded key is inserted into one of the door locks or the tailgate lock, the engine will immediately immobilize. While this is an excellent safeguard against even the most clever car thieves, this could spell trouble for you if the system engages due to a false alarm and you’re left with a car that won’t start. 
One of the reasons Ford has beefed up its anti-theft system with new technology is the troubling theft statistics associated with the American auto brand. When car thefts in the U.S. spiked in 2020 due to COVID-19, the most stolen vehicle was the 2006
Ford F-150
. A shocking 44,014 of these full-sized pickup trucks were reported stolen that year. 
All new Ford vehicles come with two transponder keys or key fobs. These keys have been pre-programmed with an embedded security code that is synced up with the Securilock anti-theft system. Any spare keys you have for your Ford must be programmed the same way the transponder keys were so that they don’t trigger the anti-theft system. 

How to program a new transponder key

You need both transponder keys in order to program a spare key yourself. If you only have one, pay a visit to your local Ford dealership and they can program a transponder key for you. 
If you do have both keys, these are the steps you’ll need to follow to program the spare:
  • Put one of the original transponder keys in the ignition and turn it on
  • Leave the key in the ignition for three to 10 seconds, then turn the ignition off and remove it
  • Put the second transponder key in the ignition, repeat the steps above, then remove
  • Wait for three to 20 seconds
  • Insert the spare key in the ignition, turn it on, and wait six seconds before removing it
A correctly coded spare key should turn your engine on without a problem. You will see the anti-theft dashboard light go on for about three seconds and then disappear. 

What can trigger the Ford anti-theft system?

Sometimes the Securilock anti-theft system takes its job a little too seriously. Ford owners have reported that the motion of a flying insect inside your locked vehicle is enough to trigger engine immobilization. 
Loud sounds like fireworks are known to set off car alarms, too. And if your Ford’s alarm sounds, Securilock will shut the engine down. 
Other reasons you could find yourself with an immobilized engine issue are: 
  • A dead car battery
  • One of the lock cylinders or exterior door handles has been damaged
  • A low or dead transponder key battery

Can the Ford anti-theft system lower your insurance rate?

Vehicles with effective anti-theft systems can be cheaper to insure because insurance companies view them as less likely to be stolen. If your Ford is set up with the Securilock system, you could save between 5% and 25% on
comprehensive coverage
. This is the only type of insurance coverage that reimburses drivers for a stolen vehicle. 
In general, Ford insurance is reasonably priced, but how much you pay also depends on the model you drive. Insurance for a burly pickup like the
Ford F-250
will be pricier than coverage for a
Ford Fusion
sedan. 

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How to save on Ford insurance

Ford has made significant advancements to its anti-theft system, but you may still want to opt for comprehensive coverage for some extra peace of mind. If you want to get a great deal on
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