2023 Ford F-150 AC Not Working

Problem Deep Dive

Updated on Author: Sergei Lemberg

Lemberg Law is investigating complaints that the 2023 Ford F-150 has recurring issues with the air conditioning (AC) system failing and/or malfunctioning. Discussions on the F-150 Forum confirm that these issues are widespread. Issues include the AC not blowing cold air, AC lines freezing, malfunctioning defrost units, and the AC simply not operating in hot weather. Many vehicle owners highlight potential safety implications including reduced visibility, the risk of heat exhaustion, and the possibility of malfunctions impacting features like the automatic emergency braking system and front camera.  

Quick Summary

There is a major problem with the 2023 Ford F-150 AC system. A functioning air conditioning (AC) system is essential for driver and passenger comfort, especially in hot weather. However, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) complaints from owners of the 2023 Ford F-150, many are experiencing AC malfunctions that range from inoperative cold air to frozen lines. These failures can significantly impact comfort and may even be safety hazards.

Adding to the problem, as of the end of April 2024, complaints state that Ford dealers appear to be unable to fix the AC malfunction. Some state that dealers refuse to even try. There are also complaints that Ford won’t acknowledge the issue “because it isn’t easy to replicate.”

There are also numerous complaints aired on the F150 Forum that share different solutions dealers have suggested. But many forum members also state there is clearly no proper fix.

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NHTSA complaints about AC system malfunctions in the 2023 Ford F-150 highlight a variety of related problems. For example:

  • The AC system doesn’t blow cold air. Several owners state that they can hear the blower or fams working, but there is no air flow. As a result, visibility is affected.
  • AC lines freeze and the defrost malfunctions. What this means is that drivers cannot defog their windshields in cold weather.
  • The system doesn’t operate in hot weather. Complaints state that the AC switches off when the temperature inside the truck reaches a certain temperature. It stands to reason that the temperature outside will be considerably higher, which could make it unbearably hot for those traveling in the F-150.
  • An owner from Minnesota states that the system “is not capable of intermittent temperature settings. It is either HOT or COLD.”

Additionally, many complaints raise serious safety concerns.

Doesn’t Blow Cold Air and/or AC Lines Freeze

An owner from Texas, whose F-150 has only 12k miles on the clock, states he can hear the blower but no cold air circulates.

Another owner states that the AC line will freeze over and no airflow will come out of the vents although the fans can be heard working. The issue is that it’s not a simple thing to be duplicated. Having taken the F-150 to three different Ford dealers, he is still experiencing the issue. “They won’t attempt to repair anything else that could be the issue, like the compressor, because of fear of Ford giving a bad review to the shop and mechanic.” On a later occasion, he took the vehicle into a dealership while this was happening. But “once the line defrosted and airflow came back, I was again sent away because they could not replicate. This is a huge problem as I cannot defrost or defog my windshield in cold weather.”

An owner from Georgia states, “The air will not blow through the vents at certain times. This is A/C and defrost. It seems the lines freeze, or (the) actuator is not working?”

Reporting “a safety issue the dealer refuses to fix,” another states that the AC lines froze twice, once at 300 miles and then again at 700 miles.

An owner from Virginia tells how the “HVAC airflow gradually goes to zero when demanding air conditioning on days > 80F. Air conditioner lines will develop a thick layer of ice prior to experiencing no airflow.” His remedy is to “turn off the AC and keep (the) fan on MAX. As the system warms, (the) airflow gradually returns. Ice buildup is the culprit, as after performing the remedy, a large amount of condensate is discharged underneath the vehicle.”

Inoperative in Hot Weather

In a complaint filed in February 2024, an owner from Florida states that the AC “fails to operate in hot weather. You can hear the internal fans blowing, but no air comes out when it is hot outside, and the car idles for a few minutes.” By this stage, the F-150 had “been in the shop twice to fix this” — unsuccessfully.

An owner from Oklahoma states that his F-150 had also been in the shop twice. He links the problem to a rise in temperature because the AC turns off when the temperature is at 60 degrees or higher. “Ford is aware of this issue but has no fix. This (is) dangerous when the outside temperature is over 85 degrees.”

Safety Concerns

There are many safety issues that NHTSA complaints raise. Most commonly, they say that when an AC system malfunctions, it can be a major distraction for the driver. Also, the discomfort of hot temperatures inside the vehicle can lead to drivers fiddling with controls or opening windows, taking their focus away from the road.

A core function of vehicle AC systems is to remove moisture from the air to prevent windshield fogging. If the AC malfunctions, especially in humid conditions, the driver’s visibility could be compromised due to fogging. This is a significant safety hazard as it can impede the driver’s ability to see the road and react to potential hazards. An owner from Texas states that an intermittent malfunction of the “Air/AC/Heat” resulted in an inability to defrost the windshield. “This resulted in hindering the driver’s visibility, automatic emergency braking, front camera visibility, and other safety features.”

When a defrost system malfunctions in cold weather, this can prevent the driver from clearing ice or snow from the windshield, leading to serious problems including reduced visibility. The same owner from Texas states that “If the AC/Heat malfunctions at a time of need for defrosting/defogging the windshield, it will put anyone in the vicinity of the moving vehicle at risk.”

Potential heat exhaustion is another risk. When there is no cold air circulating, this can cause symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and fatigue, all of which can significantly impair driving ability and reaction time. One owner reports he had to stop driving “for fear of heat exhaustion.”

Additionally, some reports maintain that a malfunctioning AC impacts features like automatic emergency braking and front camera visibility. While the exact cause-and-effect relationship needs clarification, it raises concerns that some safety technology might be reliant on a functioning AC system.

Dealers Unable to Fix

We have mentioned several cases of dealers allegedly refusing to try and fix malfunctioning AC systems. But there are also instances of dealers trying unsuccessfully to fix AC problems.

An owner from Puerto Rico took the vehicle to the dealer after it had stopped cooling on several occasions. “They changed the AC system and it failed again.”

An owner from Texas who brought a new 2023 F150 in December 2023 states in a complaint dated March 6, 2024, that the HVAC system malfunctioned intermittently from the very beginning. It was diagnosed and supposedly fixed several times.

  1. A service technician diagnosed a failed module. The module was replaced but this did not fix the issue.
  2. The service manager and shop supervisor diagnosed a failed temp sensor inside the HVAC system. The sensor was reading below freezing-levels. So, the supervisor took a picture of the reading to show the electrical tech. This would cause the HVAC system to give incorrect readings to other components, the owner states. But this diagnosis was discarded.
  3. After further diagnostics from the dealership’s master electrical tech, they decided the F-150 needed an update and recalibration. These were completed but did not fix the issue.
  4. The Ford engineer, shop supervisor, and master electrical tech then inspected the truck and said they “believed” that replacing the HVAC system would fix the issue.

“It is unknown if issues were diagnosed to be failing or if it (was) a guess.” In any case, the complaint states that the HVAC has not been replaced “due to no known acknowledgment from Ford into this issue.” Apart from which, the owner states, “They will replace HVAC with the exact SAME part.”

Online Discussion

The forum conversation indicates that malfunctioning AC systems have been an issue since the 2023 Ford F-150 was launched in 2023. Ford Motor Company is a member of the F-150 Forum, but they haven’t contributed any useful information. This may be because they are dealing with an automated bot and not a human. A typical response to queries and complaints is: “Good morning! If you send over a DM with your VIN and Ford dealer info, I can look into your concerns on my end.”

One member states that “the bot that asks folks for info, never responds nor do we hear from anyone that says they helped. No, they do not. Too many folks have the issue and have taken their truck in with no change.”

Sample Complaints

One of the early comments, in October 2023, states: “They aren’t doing anything. I’ve been fighting with them for over a month to get mine fixed. They have absolutely no idea what they are doing. I just got word today that Ford told my dealer to replace every single AC component on my truck and flush the system because they don’t know what else to do.”

Another possibility Ford engineers have suggested is that “it’s the oil in the AC system causing the issue.” Because of this, they “replaced every AC component, removed the dash and replaced the evaporator, AC lines, literally everything and flushed the system.” And according to the owner, “Mine appears to be fixed now.” However, there is no indication if the fix worked long-term.

Sometimes owners get compensated. “I had my truck for 3 months and it’s been in the shop 9 times now. Customer service contacted me last week and actually told me they will be sending me a check for the inconvenience. My last truck sat at the shop for 10 months so 2 trucks in a row have been lemons. If the AC is actually fixed this time and I don’t have any more axle trouble then I’ll be satisfied. My rear axle shafts have been replaced already as well.”

What Does Ford Know About the Issue?

Many owners are convinced that Ford has known for a long time that there are problems with the F-150 AC system. For example, in a complaint dated January 5, 2024, an owner from Oklahoma, stated that “Ford is aware of this issue but has no fix.”

A manufacturer communication from Ford dated March 26, 2024, indicates that this owner is correct. It also explains why dealerships have been unable to successfully repair malfunctioning AC systems — at least until after March 26 for some models.

It also shows that it isn’t only the 2023 models that are affected. Some 2021 and 2022 F-150 vehicles have exactly the same problem.

Issued as an electrical system and visibility problem, Technical Service Bulletin 24-2093 confirms that “Some 2021-2023 F-150 vehicles that are equipped with a gasoline or flex fuel engine (non-Lightening/non-PowerBoost) may exhibit inoperative A/C, lack of airflow, blows warm, and/or evidence of the evaporator freezing.” This may be due to the software level of the PCM and heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) module.

The TSB provides a detailed service procedure for dealerships to follow if F-150 vehicles have at least one of the following malfunctions:

  1. AC is inoperative
  2. Lack of airflow through vents
  3. Blows warm air through the vents
  4. Evaporator is freezing

However, the TSB also warns that whatever is needed to repair 2021-2023 F-150 vehicles with a 3.5L PowerBoost engine is only expected to be available sometime in the second quarter of 2024.

Ultimately, it remains to be seen when the currently unavailable parts will become available, and whether the TSB 24-2093 solution works. By mid-April, three weeks after the TSB was posted on the NHTSA website, members of the F-150 Forum were still looking for answers.

What Can You Do?

If your 2023 Ford F-150 is experiencing an AS system malfunction and your dealership hasn’t been able to fix the problem, you might have a lemon on your hands.

All you have to do is to call the Lemberg Law Helpline or complete a contact form and we will assess the issues for you free of charge. Every year automakers buy back or trade in thousands of problem vehicles. Yours might be one of them. And the best part is that Ford will have to pay the legal bills.

About the Author:

Sergei Lemberg is an attorney focusing on consumer law, class actions related to automotive issues, and personal injury litigation. With nearly two decades of experience, his areas of practice include Lemon Law (vehicle defects), Debt Collection Harassment, TCPA (illegal robocalls and texts), Fair Credit Reporting Act, Overtime claims, Personal Injury cases, and Class Actions. He has consistently been recognized as the nation's "most active consumer attorney." In 2020, Mr. Lemberg represented Noah Duguid before the United States Supreme Court in the landmark case Duguid v. Facebook. He is also the author of "Defanging Debt Collectors," a guide that empowers consumers to fight back against debt collectors and prevail, as well as "Lemon Law 101: The Laws That Lemon Dealers Don't Want You to Know."

See more posts from Sergei Lemberg

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