Ford Authority

Utility Idle Lets 2021 Ford F-150 Owners Run Engine With Key Removed


As we reported recently, the 2021 Ford F-150 owner’s manual is going digital. Even better, we can already access the manual online, which gives us a sneak peek at the many interesting new features of the all-new pickup. One that sticks out, in particular, is called “Utility Idle,” which allows owners to continue to run the truck’s engine with the key removed from the ignition, on models that come equipped with an old fashioned insert-and-twist ignition key.

One might wonder why something like this might be necessary, but the answer is quite simple – it allows the new Pro Power Onboard generator on the 2021 Ford F-150 to keep running when the key is removed. As we’ve covered in the past, the Pro Power Onboard system uses the engine to keep it going once it runs out of juice, so this is obviously important for those who need to use the generator for long periods of time.

Obviously, those who have a Ford F-150 with a traditional key wouldn’t want to leave it in the ignition overnight at a campsite or for hours just to keep a cooler chilled or power tools running, so this solution allows them to get around that. Turning on Utility Idle seems quite simple as well, as there’s a button to activate it in the F-150’s infotainment screen while the owner is turning on Pro Power Onboard.

Once the owner presses the Utility Idle button, they’re able to turn the key to position 0 and remove it from the ignition. To turn it off, simply insert the key back into the ignition and turn it to position III, or use the controls on the touchscreen. Of course, trucks equipped with a key fob and push-button start won’t have to take this extra step, but it’s nice to know that it’s there regardless of what sort of key a 2021 F-150 owner has.

We’ll have more on the 2021 F-150 soon, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, and continuous Ford news coverage.


Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Ryan Fletche

    I like it, I wish that feature was available all the time. Would be handy for example to run in to a rest stop in the winter and leave the truck running to keep it warm, but be able to take the key so you know someone can’t steal it.

    1. jason3fc

      You can kind of do this now if you have a truck with FordPass Connect. My XLT has it – so you can start it with FordPass and lock the truck and keep the key. I think it maxes out at 15 or 20 mins. Still plenty of time to go into a rest stop.

  2. Jeff Cross

    Is there a way to confirm that the 240 Volt plug will work with the truck in accessory mode. As a camper, I would like to plug the truck in and have it either charge my batteries or in theory run my air conditioner without having the gas engine run.
    I understand if the 7.2Kw battery gets low the gas engine would come on to charge that battery.

    The importance is if there are quiet hours in the campground, I would not want the gas engine to have to run to simply top off my batteries.


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