How To Fix The Ford Sync 3 Navigation Fault

The Ford SYNC 3 navigation features make it convenient for everyone to travel to their destination, but what if your SYNC 3 display shows the "Navigation Fault, visit dealer for assistance" or "Navigation Fault, Navigation is not operating properly" error? Well, we researched this issue and have the answer for you.

If your Ford SYNC 3 display shows a "Navigation Fault" error, these are the primary causes and how to fix them:

  • APIM has a problem and has been unable to obtain a GPS fix. We suggest you reset your module.
  • The GPS antenna has failed, so you need to replace it with the new one.
  • Problem related to GPS
  • System updates needed

These are the primary reasons your SYNC 3 display will show the Navigation Fault errors. Please continue to read as we discuss other possible reasons and information about the Ford SYNC 3 Navigation Fault error and additional errors that you might encounter while using the Ford SYNC 3.

A dashboard of a Ford SUV showing Navigation Fault on Sync 3, How To Fix The Ford Sync 3 Navigation Fault

What Is Ford SYNC 3 Navigation?

Ford SYNC 3 navigation is a satellite navigation system that allows you to arrive at your destination quickly while watching current traffic updates. The latest SYNC 3 incorporates Waze navigation, Alexa integration to your in-car display, and accessibility to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for Ford drivers, with general performance improvement.

The SYNC 3 AppLink function enables the system to link to particular applications on your smartphone and show them on the main touchscreen while driving. You can also control these applications through the car's steering wheel controls or the Voice Command system.

SYNC 3 also remembers all of your previous searches and places of interest, allowing the system to naturally fill your search and give recognizable locations such as that charming coffee shop, a favorite restaurant, or a friend's new house.

Multimedia system SYNC 3 mounted on a Ford Mondeo Titanium MK5

Why Doesn't the Ford SYNC 3 Navigation Work?

There may be multiple reasons why the Navigation Fault error in Ford Sync 3 keeps coming up. Here are a few solutions when it comes to the Navigation Fault error.

Using a Master Reset to Repair the SYNC 3 Navigation Fault

The most straightforward way to remedy this error is by applying a "Master Reset" on your Ford SYNC 3. To do this, first, disconnect any USB-connected peripherals. After that, navigate to Settings > General > Master Reset on your Sync 3 display. This restores your module's factory default settings.

Please bear in mind that this will also remove all associated Bluetooth devices, as well as devices configured for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. If your car continues to have GPS signal problems, we recommend changing the GPS antenna.

Using a New APIM to Repair the Sync 3 Navigation Fault

Think of the APIM (Accessory Protocol Interface Module) as the main brain of your Ford vehicle. It has multiple sensors that receive input. These inputs allow communication between the module and the steering wheel controls, the radio, the navigation system, and even the user's phone via Bluetooth.

The Navigation Fault might be a symptom of a deeper problem for your SYNC 3. If master resetting and replacing your GPS antenna have not resolved your Navigation Fault issue, we strongly propose purchasing a new programmed APIM for your car.

Weak GPS Signal 

Latest technology multimedia system SYNC 3 mounted on a Ford Mondeo Titanium MK5

Ford SYNC 3 occasionally fails to connect to GPS or switch on the car's sound system. This may prohibit you from utilizing your car's GPS, activating the music system, or connecting to the internet.

You may also attempt to clear the navigation issue from the test settings menu, but you must be stationary. 

The GPS signal's intensity might be a factor in navigation mistakes. The GPS device is located at the base of the roof aerial and is prone to erosion. The navigation issue became increasingly common and was finally replaced with a no GPS fault.

You will need to replace a Fakra connector (located at the base of the aerial on the inside of the roof liner), which is a pain in the backside but should fix the problem.

System Update

One of the reasons you may be getting errors is that a system update is needed, and you haven't updated your SYNC yet. This may need a for scan programming to fix it. Test the connection with another device; contact the service provider if the access point requires a subscription.

How To Update SYNC 3 Navigation System?

  1. Go to the SYNC and Navigation Update page for further details.
  2. Enter your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and click the Check for Update button.
  3. Go to the Navigation Updates drop-down menu and follow the steps.

Other Problems That Are Related to Ford Sync 3

Besides the usual "Navigational Fault" error, Sync 3 presents a plethora of errors, as expected from a technological device that's not as polished as everyone would think. Here are some of them, along with their respective fixes.

Ford SYNC 3 Update Problems

Ford Sync 3 upgrade issues are getting increasingly typical. Ford has launched a fresh software upgrade for the vehicle that is intended to solve several faults and enhance performance. You can take several steps to troubleshoot your Ford sync 3 updates if it isn't working correctly.

  1. Ensure that your machine has the most recent security updates. This will resolve any difficulties created by the upgrade.
  2. Restart your computer. This will assist in clearing any cached information and restarting the machine.
  3. If you continue to have problems with your Ford SYNC 3 update, you should visit a store or dealership where they might be able to assist you in resolving the issue.

Difficulties Connecting My Mobile Phone To SYNC 3

Having difficulties connecting your phone to SYNC 3 might cause a phone malfunction. Here is some advice to fix it.

  • Delete your phone from SYNC 3 and delete SYNC 3 from your phone, then try again.
  • Always verify the protection and automatically accept prompt settings on your mobile phone for the SYNC 3 Bluetooth connection.
  • Update the firmware on your smartphone.

Applink App In Phone Cannot Connect To SYNC 3

Make sure you have a suitable smartphone, such as an Android with OS 2.3 or above, or an iPhone 3GS or newer with iOS 5.0 or higher.

In order to locate AppLink-capable apps on your smartphone, keep in mind you pair and connect your phone to SYNC 3. iPhone users must additionally use an Apple USB cable that connects to a USB port.

Check that you have downloaded and launched the most recent version of the application from the app store on your phone. Check that the app is operating on your phone. Before using AppLink with some apps, you must first register or connect to the app on your smartphone.

Some may also have a "Ford SYNC" feature, so inspect the app's settings menu on your phone.

Connection Problems

Users have reported that the sync device does not operate in some circumstances. If your SYNC 3 device also isn't functioning, please do the following steps:

  1.  Verify that the sync device is properly connected to the computer and the network. If it is, ensure that both the computer and the sync device have the most recent updates. If you don't, the sync device may need to be replaced.
  2. Ensure that you have the most updated drivers for your sync device. If not, you might have to upgrade your drivers through the Ford website or a third-party vendor.
  3. Reset your sync device if it has remained dormant for an extended period of time or if it has ceased operating entirely.
  4. Reboot the computer and your Sync devices using the instructions given.

How Long Does It Take To Update A Sync 3 Device?

Warning of vehicle update in car display

Updates to SYNC 3 might take anywhere from 20 to 60 minutes. The usual updates might last roughly an hour. However, if the update fails, using your Wi-Fi connection or USB connections to complete the installation may take significantly longer.

Check the signal strength (under network information), and if SYNC 3 shows good or exceptional, try with another high-speed enabled access point in a more predictable setting.

Ford Models That Comes With SYNC 3

Ford Expedition and Escape display at a dealership

SYNC 3 is Ford's main infotainment system, and it's available in the majority of the manufacturer's passenger car lineup, including the Fiesta, Focus, and Mondeo models.

 Latest Ford models that have SYNC 3:

  • 2022 EcoSport
  • 2022 Escape
  • 2022 Bronco Sport
  • 2022 Explorer
  • 2022 Maverick
  • 2022 Ranger
  • 2022 Transit Connect
  • 2022 Mustang
  • 2021 EcoSport
  • 2021 Expedition
  • 2021 Explorer
  • 2021 Transit
  • 2021 Super Duty

Can You Upgrade Your Sync 3 to Sync 4?

If you've given up on fixing your SYNC 3, you'll most likely consider upgrading your to SYNC 4. Unfortunately, upgrading your SYNC to a later version is not possible. You can only upgrade your SYNC 3 software-wise. Hardware-wise is a completely different story. 


The Ford SYNC 3 is a great aid when it comes to traveling. However, it can be finicky to use and present many errors. You can cure a "Navigation Fault" error by getting a new APIM, using the master reset feature, or replacing your GPS antenna.

If you found this article helpful, then check out these other informative articles:

Ford F150 Radio Not Working Here's How To Fix It

Ford Expedition Wireless Charger Not Working—What To Do?

My Ford Expedition Blinker Is Blinking Fast—Why And What To Do?


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