Ford Authority

Some 2021 Ford F-150 Owners Are Experiencing Phantom Battery Drain

The 2021 Ford F-150 has proven to be a hot commodity in recent months, with orders piling up and dealer inventory flying off of lots at a swift pace. However, it seems like at least a few owners of a brand new 14th gen Ford F-150 are experiencing a bit of a puzzling problem – phantom battery drain from the truck’s 12-volt battery.

“A population of vehicles built before we began shipping to dealers require a software update to prevent batteries from losing their charge,” Ford spokesman Said Deep told the Detroit Free Press. “Our dealers were notified last week and customer letters will go out next week as part of a customer satisfaction program for this matter.” Deep also said that owners experiencing a battery charge problem should take their trucks to a dealership for a software update.

Ford did not share any details regarding what might be causing this phantom battery drain, nor how many vehicles might be affected by it. As we reported recently, a number of 2021 Ford F-150 models produced at the same time as prototypes were held in both Detroit and Kansas City awaiting final quality checks and software updates.

The Free Press dug up accounts from a number of dealers and owners who have claimed to suffer from this phantom drain. One, a technician at a Texas dealership, checked the battery and found it to be fine after it was charged. Others have speculated that the problem stems from battery durability.

So far, there doesn’t appear to be any correlation to these accounts in terms of how long the truck has been sitting idle before the battery died. In some instances, the drain occurred directly after the pickups were driven, in some cases even long distances.

We’ll have more on this as soon as it’s available, so be sure and subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford F-Series news, Ford F-150 news, and 24/7 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. Chris

    Wait until that electric F150 hits the streets. You’ll see some serious battery drain when that glorified golf cart starts whirring around town.

    1. Darrell Beaty

      I would like to add something realistic and helpful to this issue. I have a company work ford f-150 and have been going through this phantom battery drain and would like to share my findings. Keep in mind this is a older 2010 ford single cab and is driven mon-fri , sometimes sat. This is no new electric ford it is a good old fashion V8 and when i would come back to work on monday the battery would be dead. First i thought it was just a bad battery and spending company cash was not a issue so i replaced it with the OEM reccommended battery brand new. Now this truck was being parked 10 feet from smoking brake area and i get to work before daybreak and would sit at a table 10 feet from this truck and smoke in the dark. While doing this i started to notice something very strange one morning. Being a cnc maintenance manager i was first to our site and sitting in the dark smoking one day and out of nowhere with the key off and removed from ignition and noone around but me the trucks running and tail lights came on all by there self. they stayed on for about 5 min and then shut off by there self, sometimes they stayed on for minutes and sometimes only a few seconds. I started checking to see what caused it and truthfully i still am unsure but i suspect it is faulty door open close sensor/switches. I HOPE THIS HELPS, ANYONE GOING THROUGH THIS BATTERY DRAIN SHOULD PUT A CAMERA ON THE TRUCK TO SEE IF THE RUNNING LIGHTS ARE COMING ON BY THEMSELF WHILE SITTING.

  2. adam

    you can at least identify the malfunctioning system with a multitester. with a fully charged battery, disconnect the negative terminal, set the tester to your highest available dc amperage setting, and put one probe on the battery post and the other on a good ground (such as the chassis of the vehicle.) pull fuses one at a time until you see the drain drop to or near zero.

  3. Ryan

    I thought this thing had OTA update capability, so why does it require a dealer trip for a software flash?

  4. M. S. Watchdog

    So Ford know what the problem is but won’t inform owners till it happens? That real customer careing? Yea right that’s a better idea!

  5. tomS

    I had a 2013 Fusion plug-in Hybrid that was a battery discharging nightmare. There are two batteries, one to start and supply the dashboard, and the rechargeable hybrid battery that only supplied drivetrain power. The starting battery went dead multiple times, including leaving me in an empty parking lot at 10 below zero. I could not even enter the car. Completely dead. After the third tow to a Ford dealer, they decided it was the wrong 12 volt battery but could not explain the difference in the structure. They charged me $275.00 for a new battery and a computer update, stating it was the dealers fault and I should take up payment with the dealer. Instead, I traded the car for a ’15 Taurus SHO at a considerable depreciation loss. The Taurus is still perfect with no warranty issues. I now need a truck to tow a boat I’m buying, but this is a wake up call to keep the truck simple.

  6. Chris

    There are going to be so many headaches with these electric vehicles it’ll make your head spin.

  7. GeorgeS

    It most likely the software that determines the charging rate was not correct. GM trucks use a variable charge voltage to the battery depending on the battery voltage and electrical load. You’ll see the needle at around 14 volts or 12 volts. It prevents an over charge extending the life of the battery and less load on the engine to drive the alternator. I’m sure Ford has this feature.

  8. Joe

    Early S197 Mustangs had a similar issue (I owned an early production 2005 GT). Dealers were replacing batteries, alternators, etc. without correcting the issue. Ford issued a service bulletin few apparently read: Disconnect the battery cables, negative first. Fully charge battery. Reconnect battery cables, negative last.

    This resets the so called ‘Smart Module’ that provides power to the accessories for a short period after Mustang is turned off. Also advised to turn off the Shaker Sound System manually before turning the car off. For those who didn’t get frustrated and sell their cars, or sued under lemon laws, the above procedures solved the vast majority of these issues.

  9. Jim

    Yep and there is rust all over axels & diffs showing up. When is that going to be fix?

  10. Chris

    You have to realize the liberals or progressives as they like to be called do not think clearly, rationally or logically. They live in their own humorless, judgmental “I am better and smarter than you world”. Look at what happened in Texas, wind turbines froze up denying electric heat and hot water to millions. Coal fired plants don’t seize up during a cold snap.

  11. Joe

    I also own a 2019 Ranger Lariat Super Crewcab. Arrived with SYNC v.3.3, had limited ‘over the air’ updating ability I was told. 2020s came with v.3.4 installed – has more enhanced ‘over the air’ upgrading ability but I can’t tell you what. My Lariat recently went in for its ‘annual service’ and the V.3.4 update was performed for $129. Fortunately I paid nothing toward the full bill as Ford Rewards covered it. Hoping this forum breaks away from the political angles.

  12. George

    I own a 21 F150 Lariat and I have to charge the battery every two days because it falls below 60% and the system shut things down to save the battery there is a major issue and I’m sure it’s not as simple as an update unless they are just shutting off everything in the truck it’s all fun and games until someone dies when their electric power steering quits or their electronic braking system fails

  13. tomS

    Is your truck a Powerboost?

  14. Ron G

    Deep Sleep Mode truck has been in warm garage so it’s not the weather started it 5 days ago. But battery is complete dead. Had to ise the manual key to open. Drove my Tundra 7 years no problems. Buy a new top of the lime Ford F150 King Ranch with Hybrid! Bam 356 miles and now I am walking!

  15. Ron G

    Deep Sleep Mode truck has been in warm garage so it’s not the weather started it 5 days ago. But battery is complete dead. Had to use the manual key to open. Drove my Tundra 7 years no problems. Buy a new top of the lime Ford F150 King Ranch with Hybrid! Bam 356 miles and now I am walking!

  16. Ron G

    Deep Sleep Mode truck has been in warm garage so it’s not the weather started it 5 days ago. But battery is complete dead. Had to use the manual key to open. Drove my Tundra 7 years no problems. Buy a new top of the line Ford F150 King Ranch with Hybrid! Bam 356 miles and now I am walking!

  17. DanB

    Am having a similar issue. I picked the truck up a week ago and now have a charger on the battery when it sits in the driveway; trying to keep it from going below threshold. Will be taking it to the local dealership for the update and any other testing needed. It is a bit aggravating to have spent so much money on this otherwise beautiful truck to have to tolerate the dead battery. This is certainly not what I expected! Dang the luck…

  18. Will Lipscombe

    Our 2014 F150 platinum now has a key off draw right after recent firmware upgrade at Dick’s MacKenzie Ford on TV Hwy HillsBoro, Oregon. I am a twice fully re-certified ASE technician and I used to run the OBD II system at Beaverton Chrysler Plymouth Dealership here in Beaverton, Oregon.

  19. Satesh

    This is ridiculous brought a new f150 lariat sport and battery completely dead only has 19k mileage on it

  20. Charles D

    Have a 2022 F-150 with 3.3L V-6. 30 miles on the odometer. Driven twice. Already killed two batteries. Continuous 1.4amp electrical draw on battery even if every fuse removed. Dealership has other 2022 F-150’s and Escapes on lot with same issue. The dealer told me that a Ford Tech Team will eventually arrive at their shop, then pull engine blocks and rewire these vehicles.


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