The auto-hold feature is becoming common in cars that have electronic parking brakes, including Ford vehicles. When you press the auto-hold button as you bring your vehicle to a halt, the auto-hold message will appear on the dashboard. But what does it mean when you get an auto-hold system fault message? We researched this issue to help you better understand what the message means and what you should do.
An auto-hold system fault message may appear in your Ford when there is a problem with the auto-hold system. You should press the brake pedal immediately and then have your car serviced by a technician.
Keep reading to learn why your auto-hold system may fail and what to do. We also provide tips on how to use this system efficiently and look at the differences between auto hold and other systems that use the same working principal. Lastly, you can learn the costs of fixing a malfunctioning auto hold system.
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How Does The Auto-Hold System Work?
When an auto-hold system fault message appears on the dashboard of your Ford, it means there is something wrong with the system.
Before we go into why this message may appear, let's find out how the system works so you are better placed to understand what could be wrong with your system.
Auto-Hold System In A Ford
In order to work, the auto-hold system uses the Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) and the Electronic Stability Program (ESP).
When you press the brake pedal, the ABS picks up the signal from the speed sensors on the wheels to come to a stop. At this point, the auto hold is activated to keep your car at a standstill.
If any movement is detected after this, the ESP system comes into effect and applies a much greater braking force to prevent your car from moving.
The only time your car will move is when you press the accelerator. In the case of a manual car, the auto hold is released to allow movement after releasing the clutch pedal.
But if you switch off the engine after bringing your vehicle to a stop, the auto hold will not apply. The parking brake system takes over the holding function.
The video demonstrates how auto hold works in a Ford:
Reason For Auto-Hold System Fault Message
The auto-hold system, like any other, can malfunction. First and foremost, the auto-hold system in your Ford may not work if you do not apply enough pressure to the brakes.
This is especially important when you are on an incline or steep hill. You need to apply adequate pressure for the auto hold to sense that the system is on.
But if the system malfunctions when the auto hold is active, for example, due to a low supply of power, an auto-hold-system-fault message may appear.
The system is simply asking you to apply the brakes because it has sensed a fault in the system. Press the brake immediately and then call a professional to check the system.
Take the malfunction warning sign seriously, as it can prevent injury to you and damage to your vehicle.
Reasons Your Auto Hold System Is Unavailable
There are some situations in which auto hold will be unavailable, which include:
Open Driver Door
If you have not closed the door, the auto hold will not work, and the auto-hold-close-door message will illuminate as a reminder to close the door.
Unfastened Seat Belt
In addition, if you have not fastened your seat belt, the auto hold will remain inactivated. Also, a fasten-seatbelt message will appear on the dashboard reminding you to fasten your belt.
Your Car Is In Neutral
You cannot put your car in auto mode if you have shifted your car into neutral. A not-available auto hold message may illuminate so that you can deactivate the neutral mode.
Park Assist Is Active
Just as with the above two situations, if your park assist is active, your auto hold will be deactivated.
Reversing Into Shift Before The Auto Hold Is Active
Putting your car into shift will prevent you from activating the auto-hold system. The not-available auto hold sign may also come on.
What Are The Advantages Of Auto Hold In Your Car?
When you are in stop-and-go traffic or at traffic lights, you can turn on the auto hold system. All you have to do is press the auto hold button on the instrument cluster in your Ford, which illuminates the auto hold sign on your dashboard.
Next, press the brake pedal to bring your car to a complete stop, and then release the pedal. Your vehicle will remain stationary until you press the accelerator.
The brake lights at the back of your car will also illuminate. It lets the drivers behind you know that you have stopped your vehicle until you are ready to move again.
The auto hold gives you a more comfortable experience because you can relax your foot as you wait for traffic to move. Also, you don’t have to worry that you may roll backward.
It’s important to ensure that your car is actually on auto hold after pressing the button. Don’t assume it is.
Tips On Using Auto Hold Efficiently
Your car is a machine that you control while on the road. In the same way, you should control the auto-hold system. The following are some tips to ensure you use the system efficiently:
- Switch off the auto hold before entering a car wash.
- The auto hold is not an alternative to the parking brake. Apply the brakes when you want to park your car.
- Remember to fasten your seatbelt and close all doors so the auto-hold system will be activated.
- If the system malfunctions, have your vehicle checked.
- Remember that you are responsible for controlling the system and intervening when needed. This can prevent vehicle accidents and injuries.
Is Auto Hold The Same As Hill Start Assist?
Some vehicles have both the auto hold and hill-start assist. Both work on the same principal, but there is a difference.
Auto hold works to hold your car, preventing it from moving until you press the accelerator. Hill-start assist prevents your car from rolling backward while on a slope as you release the brake to activate the throttle.
The hill-start assist is mostly found in manual cars. This system maintains your vehicle in a standstill position as you release your foot from the brake pedal and move it to the throttle.
In a Ford that has both features, the auto hold and hill-start assist will not work simultaneously. The auto hold will remain inactive if the hill-start assist is active.
Cost Of Repairing Auto-Hold System
Since the auto hold uses the ABS to function, any problems will mostly be in this system.
If a professional mechanic has advised you to replace the wheel speed sensor, like the one shown above, in your Ford, expect to pay between $200 and $400.
The auto hold also uses the EPS of your car. Repairs will depend on which part is faulty. For example, to replace the power steering control module, labor costs are between $116 to $146. The parts can cost between $874 and $905.
If the power steering pump, a part of the EPS in your car, is faulty, you can repair it at a cost of between $200 and $350. You will pay slightly more if you need to replace the pump, at a cost of between $400 and $800.
These costs may vary depending on various factors such as location, model, and the year of car.
The auto-hold system in any car, including a Ford, helps to comfortably maintain your vehicle in a stationary position. It’s especially helpful when you're in slow traffic.
If an auto-hold system fault message appears in your Ford, there is an issue with the auto-hold system. You should press the brake pedal immediately and then have a technician check your car.
There are also situations in which the auto-hold system will not work—for example, when you have not closed the doors or fastened your seatbelt.
Are you thinking the auto hold and hill-start assist are the same? They have the same working principal but function differently.
Are you unable to turn off the auto hold in your vehicle, or have you experienced your brakes locking up while driving? Learn more about these from our previous posts below: