Ford F150 PCM Failure Symptoms – 7 Top Reasons Explained

Looking for Ford F150 PCM Failure Symptoms? You are at the right place. Keep Reading!

A few decades back, our vehicles had manual systems, where we had to check all the systems manually to find issues in a car. The mechanics were used to tune up your vehicle when you visited them for an oil change.

Did you ever think about why we don’t have to do that anymore?

Well, it is due to our car computer system, which controls different functions of the vehicle. The Powertrain Control Module (PCM) is a primary system that manages the Engine Control Module (ECM) and the Transmission Control Module (TCM).

It doesn’t matter if you own a Ford or a GMC; the PCM relay works the same way. It is your vehicle’s brain, and it manages everything in it.

A faulty computer in the Ford F-150 can pose serious troubles. It means the PCM will not be able to communicate with other systems, thus can disturb different features of the vehicle simultaneously.

Today, we will discuss common Ford F150 PCM failure symptoms to diagnose a PCM problem.

ford f150 pcm failure symptoms

Here’re 7 Ford F150 PCM Failure Symptoms

An ideal way to identify a problem in the PCM is to allow an expert technician to examine the system. They own the required tools that let them check the error code and find the exact issue. However, you should also know the Ford F150 PCM failure symptoms. Here are the seven most common ones.

1. Check Engine Light Turns On

The Check Engine symbol is your vehicle’s catch-all sign. It can come on for just about anything, especially for systems not covered by one of the other vehicle’s warning lights. Therefore, you do not have to fret when it comes on.

That said, it is a warning sign for any system malfunction, and it is wise to get it checked to make sure nothing is serious about it. Furthermore, most states do not let a vehicle pass an examination with the Check Engine light present on the dashboard.

It implies you have to get it examined sooner or later. Isn’t it a good idea to know the issue before your car breaks down on the road?

2. F-150 Doesn’t Ignite or Starts Roughly

If you find your pickup truck is not responding to ignition or takes many tries to start, it could be another Ford F150 PCM failure symptom. It could be due to a problem related to ECM, and the probable reasons are:

  • An unsuitably balanced fuel-to-air ratio
    Irregular engine timing
  • A spark in the wiring harness
  • Whatever is the reason, you should get the starting problem examined immediately to avoid being stranded on a country road or any unwanted location.

3. Low Gas Mileage

The PCM collaborates with the ECM and TCM to manage your fuel-to-air ratio and determines the best time to shift gears. If any of the systems aren’t working correctly, the gas mileage will deteriorate.

For instance, if the engine gets too little fuel, it will not work optimally. It might jerk or may even stop. If it goes on like this for a prolonged period, the engine could face permanent damage because it was not receiving the required lubrication.

Undeniably, poor gas mileage can be due to various other reasons, as well. You should ensure the tires are correctly inflated and filters are clean and replaced on time. If everything else is perfect, it could be due to a problem with your Ford’s computer system.

4. Emissions Test Failure

As discussed earlier, the PCM and ECM manage Ford’s fuel-to-air ratio. Suppose the mixture is extremely rich (excessive fuel compared to air). In that case, the gasoline/diesel will not completely combust and emit considerably extra elements and carbon monoxide than a properly-working engine. If you fail to address the issue immediately, it will badly affect the engine’s performance.

It could be a reason for your failure in the state’s emissions examination. If your F-150 does not pass the test, examine PCM and ECM first. Believe us, a bad PCM or ECM is excellent news because changing either of these modules is considerably affordable than buying a new catalytic converter.

5. F-150’s Engine Stutters or Stalls

One of the severe Ford F150 PCM failure symptoms is engine sputtering or stalling. It is an indication of a critical mechanical issue or a crashed computer system. Again, if you find yourself in this trouble due to a PCM or ECM failure, it will be less costly to replace and repair.

It could occur owing to various reasons, but mainly the issue relates to engine timing. While your Ford’s F-150 ECM directly manages this function, it can be due to a PCM fault. The reason is ECM needs instructions from the PCM to regulate timing.

6. Irregular or Random Shifting

One of the gravest Ford F150 PCM failure symptoms is improper shifting. It generally occurs due to a faulty sensor or water damage of circuits in your F-150’s PCM or TCM.

If your find your automatic transmission isn’t shifting routinely, visit an expert mechanic instantly. A faulty PCM or TCM can trigger this, and it can be a critical safety problem. If not handled on time, it will possibly damage the transmission.

7. Receiving a PCM-Related Error Code

One of the obvious Ford F150 PCM failure symptoms is the PCM error code you receive. You can know the code through a reader device. If it is the first symptom of a problem, compliments! You have identified the issue before it could bring serious troubles.

You can read about different PCM codes online. The codes starting in “P06” mostly show a PCM failure, and others occur for various reasons. Check your F150’s code reader manual to get precise details on any code you receive.

PCM Replacement Cost

Knowing the PCM is such a crucial system, you would expect it to be expensive. Yes, it can be costly for some vehicles because certain PCMs are more complex than others.

Typically, PCMs of luxury cars are costlier than mainstream vehicles. The labor costs are also more than what you have to pay to a regular expert. We say the labor will be around $90 to $120. That said, you could also try installing the PCM yourself.

However, the PCM for your Ford F-150 could cost you anything from $500 to $1000, plus factor in the hourly labor charges of $120. Also, remember, if you choose a dealer to change the PCM, you have to shell out a lot more than what you pay to an independent auto-electrician.

If you do not have enough money to buy a new PCM, you can also find a used one online for a couple of hundred dollars or from a junkyard. However, you have to reprogram it before you can use it for your pickup truck. How much the PCM reprogramming will cost depends on where you are heading for updates. As you do not need any components, the labor charges could be anywhere from $80 to $150.

The technician will take about half an hour to reprogram the module, but bear in mind, they charge hourly for their work. Make sure the auto electrician you choose is an expert in PCM reprogramming or better use services of a reputable dealership in this regard.

What to Do If You Witness Ford F150 PCM Failure Symptoms?

If you’re facing one of these Ford F150 PCM failure symptoms, don’t fuss. The issue might not relate to PCM at all. It could be owing to a faulty sensor or a shorted wire.

While it could be handy to check various PCM repair guides online, the best way to find the exact issues with your Ford pickup truck is to consult with an expert mechanic.

FAQ’s of Ford F150 PCM Failure Symptoms

How do you know if your PCM is bad?

Unneeded shifting of the car, high fuel consumtion, warning or engine light indications, and a number of attempts to start a car are the indications of a bad PCM.

How do you reset the PCM on a Ford f150?

Cutting the battery connection and waiting for 20 minutes to drain the backup power of PCM will reset it.

What causes PCM to go bad?

Voltage overload, metal corrosion, and overheating are the main factors of PCM failure.

What is a PCM on a Ford f150?

PCM is the central computer or brain of the Ford f150. This controller controls the main functions of the car.

Jasper has been an enthusiast of the automotive and IT industries since the age of 16. He independently writes on the auto industry's recent happenings.