Hill Start Assist Not Available

Are you getting the “Hill Start Assist Not Available” warning?

This feature on vehicles stops rollback on an incline by holding the brakes while switching between the brake and acceleration pedals. Certain variations in this arrangement can also prevent the vehicle from sliding downhill.

The presence of an incline is detected by sensors inside the car. As you transition from the brakes to the gas pedal, the hill assist maintains the brake pressure for a predetermined time.

The brake is released as soon as the accelerator is pressed. When a car with a manual transmission has this feature, the hill assist will additionally keep the brakes applied until the clutch is released.[1]

Hill Start Assist Not Available in Ford Vehicles


Many Ford owners have channeled complaints in customer forums concerning this warning message. The drivers argue that the car brings up a Hill Start Assist Not Available message or a Hill Start Assist OFF light. This problem seems to exist in some old Ford vehicles like the Escape, F150, Transit, and Fusion.

Due to reduced brake hydraulic control unit pump performance, about 600 Ford Transit Connect vans from the 2016 model year were recalled [2].

The problem reduces the effectiveness of electronic stability control and related systems, curve control, trailer sway control, anti-lock braking system, and emergency brake help. The issue can manifest suddenly, raising the possibility of a collision.

Reasons for Hill Start Assist Not Available


  1. Faulty ABS Sensor

The principal purpose of the Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) is to keep the car’s wheels from locking up while it brakes by preserving traction between the wheels and the pavement. It accomplishes this with the aid of a wheel sensor that is fastened to the wheels.

The sensor is an essential part of the ABS, serving to keep track of most of the operations it controls, including wheel speed and traction [3].

The ABS sensor is one of the parts that are most vulnerable to damage. Brake pedal pulsation and malfunctioning anti-lock brakes are signs of a damaged ABS sensor.

Your dashboard will display the dreaded “Hill Start Assist Not Available” message, as well as the traction control and stability control not working, ABS warning, and traction control lights.

  1. Random Error

Random messages, warning lights, and codes might appear on the dashboard at any time. The Hill Start Assist Not Available alert in Ford vehicles might also appear in this manner. Anything might be the cause, even on a car with few miles on the odometer.

In forums, Ford drivers have complained that this warning appeared while they backed out of their garage with the hood open. Another potential cause is if you kept the start button down for too long and some functionalities were disabled.

Additionally, it’s also conceivable that feature was mistakenly disabled. Even though it might seem obvious, most individuals do not check to see if they have accidentally switched it off.

There’s a good chance that the HSA option was disabled if you frequently have kids in the car or recently went to a car wash.

  1. Brake Light Issues

A broken fuse for your car’s brake lights is another factor that could prevent the hill start assist from working. The brakes experience pressure as soon as the hill start assist kicks in. As a result, the brake light comes on.

However, the hill start aid will be automatically disabled if any component of the braking system is damaged, including a blown brake fuse [5].

You must fix the circuit if your brake lights aren’t functioning properly for Hill Start Assist to activate.

  1. Malfunctioning ESC and TC

Reducing the power to vital systems is another frequent cause for turning off Hill Start Assist. If you turn off the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and the Traction Control (TC), your car won’t operate properly, and several features will be disabled.

Disabling traction control and electronic stability control may also turn off Hill Start Assist, a frequently utilized feature.

  1. Software Glitch

Drivers rely on it heavily on vehicle software, even though it is not always perfect. Most current automobiles feature software-controlled electronic control units [6]. Other automotive systems, such as the ABS, TCU, and Hill Start Assist function, are in turn managed by the ECU.

Therefore, the majority of the car’s systems will be impacted if the software develops a bug. When the hill start assist feature of your automobile abruptly stops working as it should, you shouldn’t rule out the potential of a software error.

Read Also: Steering Assist Is Reduced

How to Fix Hill Start Assist Not Available


Unfortunately, the message will not disappear after some time, something has to be done to fix it. Some of the causes of this issue don’t have an immediate cure, while others could require a skilled technician to investigate. The following can be done to fix the problem:

  1. Use an OBD Scanner

Use an OBD II scan tool on your Ford as soon as you notice a problem with the hill start assist. This will enable you to read the codes stored in the ECU of the car.

Any codes of the hill start assist program failing will be kept here [7]. It is usually a sensor issue. However, it is wise to check it in case there are other issues as well.

A mechanic can decipher these codes and utilize the information to identify the issue and offer a fix. Nevertheless,ensure that you try some of the other solutions on the list below, before going to the mechanic.

  1. Update your software

Compared to using an OBD scanner to identify the issue, this is significantly simpler. Most software upgrades can be carried out over the air (OTA). Install the necessary software updates if your car needs them.

The problem may be addressed by the updated software. You can follow the guidelines provided by Ford to update the software on your car [8].

  1. Reset The Hill Assist

It would be easy to turn the hill start assist back on if it had been unintentionally turned off. In any other case, a system reset might work. You must briefly turn the functionality off before turning it back on to reset it.

The light indicating that the hill start assist function is active again should be visible [9]. Turning the traction control off and back on will also reset the Hill Start Assist. When the system is back online, the Hill Start Assist indication light should turn on.

Alternatively, you might need to use the arrow buttons on the steering wheel to enter the settings menu. Turn the traction control on or off by navigating to the driver assistance option in settings. Your car’s model will determine the specific approach.

Another technique involves turning the car off and back on. Your car’s complete system, including the this feature, would have been reset by turning the engine off and on. You can let the engine shut off and rest for a while before restarting it.

Read Also: What is Dumping The Clutch


The driver is exposed to considerable risk when driving up a slope. The function helps you maintain a solid grip on your automobile so you can drive through difficult terrain.

The Ford’s HSA has been associated with failure severally. The feature may fail as a result of a random error, a broken ABS sensor, traction control issues, a software bug, or even just a blown brake light fuse. The Escape, F150, Transit, and Fusion are some of the Ford models that have experienced the problem.

You shouldn’t be worried if this alert comes on when you most need the feature. There is no official, prescribed solution to this Ford problem.

But, you can reactivate the feature by performing a software update. You can also restart your car’s Hill Start Assist feature or restart the car engine to reset it.

If the problem continues, it is advised to take the car to a servicing facility. A mechanic can reformat the system using the software that controls the ECU below the steering wheel. Alternatively, they can reboot the entire system. This will aid in resolving the problem.

Read Next: Are Walmart Car Batteries Good