How To Reset the Anti-Theft System On a Ford Expedition

To reset the Ford Expedition anti-theft system, you’ll need your original transponder key.
Written by Sarah Williams
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
To reset your Ford Expedition’s anti-theft system, insert your key into the driver’s side door and turn it partway. Let the key sit there for 40 to 60 seconds, and then repeat the process in the opposite direction. 
According to 2019-2021 data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the Ford Expedition is the most stolen large SUV. In other words, it’s a good thing it operates with a built-in anti-theft system. The Expedition’s alarm can be sensitive, so it’s important to know how to reset your anti-theft system. 
That’s why
, the trusted
car insurance
broker app, has created this guide to help you get your Expedition out of its no-start mode. We’ll even go over how anti-theft devices can help to reduce your
Ford Expedition insurance cost
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How to reset the Ford Expedition anti-theft system

You'll need your programmed key fob to reset your Ford Expedition’s anti-theft system. From there, you have two different methods you can try.
For the first method, reset your anti-theft light by putting your key into the ignition and turning it partway. This should activate “accessory mode,” where the electrical system is on, but the engine hasn’t started. Leave the key for two to 10 minutes or until the link turns off. From there, you should be able to start your Expedition engine again.
If that doesn’t work, try resetting your anti-theft system by putting your key into the driver’s side door and turning it partway. Let the key sit there for 40 to 60 seconds, and then repeat the process in the opposite direction. Your Expedition should now recognize your key and allow you to get in and start the engine. 
If neither of these methods works (or you don’t have your programmed key on you), you’ll probably need to take your Expedition to the dealership. They can disarm your anti-theft system and program a new set of keys for you. They will have to reprogram the powertrain control module to turn off the system entirely. 

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

The Ford Expedition's anti-theft system is known as a Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS). It’s installed in every Expedition at the factory—but that doesn’t mean it’s a “factory alarm.” Rather it uses an alarm system alongside an engine immobilizer to prevent vehicle theft. 
The PATS is “passive” because it turns on automatically, whenever the key is out of the ignition, the car is turned off, and all the doors are closed. If the system detects a non-coded key in the ignition (or unsuccessful attempts at opening the door or tailgate), it immobilizes the engine so your Expedition won’t start. 
A red light on the dash will flash faster than usual and won’t stop until you reset the system or 15 minutes pass. Usually, this light will turn on momentarily when you turn on the ignition. Because Ford uses transponder keys (or chip keys), you have an extra layer of security built in. If you need a new key, you’ll have to program it to work in tandem with the anti-theft system. 

How to program a new transponder key

To program a new Ford key at home, you’ll need your two original keys plus your new spare (which you can get from a locksmith or a Ford dealer). Without your second key, your new key will have to be programmed at the Ford dealership.  
To program a new transponder key from home, follow these steps: 
  • Insert one of the original keys into the ignition and turn it on for three to 10 seconds. Then, turn off the ignition, remove the key, and wait for another three to 10 seconds. 
  • Repeat with the second original key and wait three to 20 seconds
  • Insert your new uncoded key, and switch it to the on position. Wait for six seconds and remove the key. 
You can test to ensure your new key has been properly programmed by trying it out on your Expedition’s keyless entry or remote control functions—or by using it in the ignition. If your anti-theft dashboard lights up for just three seconds, you should be good to go!  

What can trigger the Ford anti-theft system?

Unfortunately, although the PATS system on your Expedition can be an excellent theft prevention tool, it’s also prone to false alarms. Drivers have reported that anything from a solid bump to fireworks can set it off. This can be a pain when you’re out and about, and you’re stuck walking through the reset procedure. 
A few other common triggers include: 
  • Broken door handle or lock cylinder
  • Dead battery 
  • Failing transponder key battery
If you’re having trouble with your Ford Expedition anti-theft system and can’t get to the bottom of it, try a diagnostic scan tool or take it to your dealership. 

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

Yes—an anti-theft device can lower your insurance rates between 5% and 25%! 
Beyond that, your rates could be lowered because of Ford’s good reliability ratings and affordable parts. Each of these factors signals to an insurer that Fords are cheaper to insure—and that’s reflected in your premiums. 
Opting for a lower trim level (or one with plenty of safety features) is another way you can save money on your Ford Expedition insurance costs. The Expedition’s base XL trim has plenty of standard safety features and less expensive luxury parts to replace.
Finally, try adding an aftermarket
vehicle anti-theft device
like a catalytic converter strap or an active alarm system. Either of these could further qualify you for more insurance savings.

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How to save on Ford Expedition insurance

Even though an anti-theft system can lower the chances of your Ford Expedition getting stolen, there’s still a significant risk. If someone overrides the PATS system, you’ll need
comprehensive insurance
coverage to cover theft-related damages. 
While adding comprehensive coverage will increase your insurance costs, the added protection is usually worth it. And with the top-rated insurance app
in your back pocket, you could afford that coverage for less than your current rates! 
To make sure you aren’t overpaying on your
Ford insurance cost
, download the Jerry app. Sign-up takes less than 45 seconds, and you’ll gain access to competitive, customized quotes from over 55 top providers. If you find a new rate you like, Jerry’s team of expert insurance agents will handle all the necessary paperwork to get you switched over! 
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