1. Understanding the warning lights on your new Ford truck can be tricky. If the wrench
symbol on the car dashboard is confusing, this guide will help you understand the
meaning behind it.
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Wrench Light On Ford: What Is It? [Answered]
Ford enthusiasts are generally familiar with all the fantastic safety features within the
vehicle, but something that they miss out on is the wrench dash light. The confusing
part is what does it indicates.
For starters, the wrench light on Ford is trying to point out big problems within your
powertrain and four-wheel-drive system. It warns you about any potential
malfunction, which, if ignored, might lead to more significant problems.
If you, too, own a Ford truck and are clueless as to what the wrench symbol on the
dashboard means, then you have landed on the right page. I will give you a thorough
ride about the concept behind that warning light. The article will also guide you on
how to handle the situation.
1. An Overview on Wrench Light on Ford
1.1 What does the wrench light mean?
The Ford wrench light is designed to warn drivers about any problem deep within the
car. It is a built-in warning system developed by Ford manufacturers.
The wrench light blinks every time the system detects a powertrain malfunction or an
issue with the four-wheel-drive system. It is designed with sensors to catch any
problem within your engine and warn you of any malfunction.
The powertrain comprises vital parts of your vehicle, including the engine,
transmission, and driveshaft. And there could be a list of faults in these parts causing
2. the wrench dash light to lit up. A wiring problem, powertrain sensors malfunction, or
maybe your car is signaling you to change the oil are only a few reasons that might
bring the wrench light to life.
The wrench light triggers the fault codes encrypted in the system memory. To retrieve
these codes, you need a Ford technician to scan and generate the error codes for
So, the simplest solution to turn off the wrench light is to drive your vehicle to the
nearest car dealership slowly. The dealer will use the scanner to obtain the error
codes. He will then resolve the underlying issues of your vehicle. However, if you
would love to solve your car issues on your own, move to section III in this article to
learn a few tips.
1.2 Wrench Light vs. Check Engine Light vs. Oil Change Reminder Light
Check Engine Light (CEL) and yellow wrench light may flicker simultaneously. They
both indicate that there is an issue with your car. Besides this single similarity, there
are a lot of differences between the two.
Firstly, the wrench light is a built-in component of Ford’s warning system. At the same
time, the CEL is a component of the On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) program, available
in all cars. The program became a standardized one in all vehicle models
manufactured in 1996 in the U.S.
Secondly, the CEL light illuminates to typically indicate problems in the emission
control system. In contrast, the bright yellow wrench light on the car blinks to warn
drivers about problems in the powertrain or all-wheel-drive systems.
The oil change light that looks similar to the wrench light is more of a reminder light.
It often comes up with the wrench light indicating that the car needs service and the
oil need to be changed. Once you have changed the car oil, don’t forget to reset the
3. 1.3 The Wrench Dash Light and Limp Mode (Fail Safe Mode)
Ford is a highly developed car. The vehicle not only aims to keep its passengers safe
but also protects the engine from extensive damage.
After displaying a warning signal on your car dashboard, the system will activate the
“Limp Mode”, also known as the “Fail-Safe Mode”. In this situation, the vehicle will
face a sudden loss of power. The Limp Mode will keep your car/truck move at a
maximum speed of just about 5-10 MPH. By cutting down your vehicle’s power, the
system aims to prevent any further damage to the powertrain components. This is an
intelligent way of protecting your car from extensive repairs.
2. What happened to your car when the wrench lights were on?
Various reasons cause the yellow wrench light to pop up on the dashboard of your
screen. Either check the wiring manually or run an OBD scan to decipher the error
codes. Having an OBD scanner in your vehicle will help you find the fault within the
system with precision.
So, let’s see what problems your Ford might be facing, and we will also discuss the
2.1 Transmission Issues
Transmission issues are often the biggest cause that triggers the wrench car light. The
engine will refuse to start, slipping gears, burning more fuel, leaking fuel, and noises
coming out from the engine are common indicators causing failure within the
In this situation, the Engine Control Module (ECM) or Powertrain Control Module
(PCM) are the main culprits! PCM is located at the heart of your Ford’s engine. It
receives data from all engine sensors and is responsible for the efficient movement of
your vehicle. PCM ensures the optimal performance of your engine while also
consuming less fuel in the process.
4. There could be minor issues within your transmission, such as a loose or broken wire.
The best way to find out the real problem is to take your vehicle to a mechanic. If the
problem is severe, it might take a few days to repair the vehicle.
2.2 Carburetor Issue
A damaged carburetor is another vital part of a Ford truck. A problem with the
carburetor will cause the engine to jolt. It will also cause the engine to overheat,
activating the wrench symbol to blink.
Sometimes a little cleaning in the carburetor may start your engine. However, if the
problem remains persistent, it is best to take your vehicle to the nearest service
center. They have the tools and expertise to rebuild the carburetor. If the carburetor
is beyond repair, it will need to be replaced.
2.3 Throttle Issues
A problem with the throttle also disturbs the wrench light. The light flickers every
time you start the vehicle. At times the wrench light in the car also illuminates even
when the vehicle is parked in the garage.
The Electronic Throttle Body (ETB) might have become dirty due to carbon build-up.
The dirt hinders the movement of the throttle plate, which will not align with the
data within the system.
Before you head to a mechanic, try cleaning the debris from the throttle. Use a
suitable cleaner to clean the dirt from the throttle.
2.4 Battery Issue
A messed-up or low battery also causes the wrench light to come up. A drained-out
battery also adds up to the reasons causing the warning light to blink continuously.
5. If you think it’s the battery, the easiest way to confirm your theory is to try a spare
battery. Batteries with low voltage and even dead batteries can be changed in less
than an hour.
2.5 Wiring Issue
At times a loose or unfixed wire can trigger Ford’s wrench light. The wire is connected
to the vehicle’s computer system, which forces it to activate the fault codes. And the
tool light on the car begins flashing. The simplest solution is to look for the loose
wires. Connect them to the circuit board, and you are good to go.
2.6 Your Vehicle Needs An Oil Change
Ford vehicles need an oil change every three months. If it’s been a long time since
your car received a fuel change, then consider the yellow wrench light a reminder to
do it as soon as possible.
3. What to do when the wrench light comes on?
If the wrench light comes upright in the middle of a deserted road, here are a few
tricks you can use to settle the wrench light on your own. But first things first,
● Turn on the emergency flasher lights.
● Pull over to the side of the road safely.
And then, carefully check out these steps if you can successfully resolve the wrench
Step 1: Turn OFF the truck for a few minutes and turn it ON
Turn off your truck for a few minutes and let the engine cool down. Once the
powertrain cools, restart your engine. There are high chances the yellow light will
Step 2: Disconnect and Reconnect the battery’s negative terminal
6. Remove the negative terminal of the battery for 10-15 minutes. Then reconnect the
terminal. It will reset the control modules by draining the power.
Step 3: Use a Code Scanner to Detect Problem
A code scanner can help you find the problem without any hassle. An OBD ll Scan tool
will allow you to see the codes. You can easily tackle the issue and get your Ford in
the first gear as soon as the code comes up.
If no code comes up, don’t take it as a false alarm and visit the technician as quickly
However, if you do not have an OBD scanner right now, a Ford service center or any
other automobile shop can lend you one at a fair price. If luck is on your side, you
might be able to get codes without spending any money at all!
Step 4: Check Powertrain Control Module and Replace (if necessary)
Often checking and replacing the powertrain module can turn off the wrench light.
PCM is the heart of your engine. It monitors the performance, speed, and all other
functions of your vehicle. Several things in the PCM can cause the wrench light to
● The wires may not be adequately insulated and are not broken at any point.
● Check the connectors for any sign of damage. Look for bent pins or broken
● Check for any sign of water damage. If the water manages to enter the PCM may
cause a short circuit or even cause corrosion over time. In that case, you need to take
your Ford vehicle straight to a certified car dealer. He will replace the circuit board
without causing any further damage to your vehicle.
But if it leads to replacing the PCM, things might get tricky. The PCM might be located
under or behind other engine components depending on the make and model. You
7. may find the PCM in the instrument panel, under the console, or it may be situated
under the car’s seat.
If you do not have the technical expertise to carry out the replacement process, visit
a Ford car dealership in town.
Step 5: Check Electronic Throttle Body (ETB), Clean and Replace (if necessary)
Check the ETB and Throttle position center. Either the ETB is open, or there is dirt in
the sensor. Firstly, locate the ETB box and pull off the air intake snorkel. Remove one
bolt and clean the dirt from the entire area. Look for the MAF sensor that would be
connected to the airbox housing. Remove the airbox, and you will be able to see the
Step 6 - Replace Transmission Fluid
Drain the old fluid, clean the pans, and pour in new fresh oil and fluid. This will pour a
new life into your vehicle and might also turn off the wrench light. But make sure to
use a transmission fluid mentioned in the user manual.
4. Is Powertrain Malfunction A Serious Problem?
The engine and transmission system are crucial parts of your Ford. The powertrain is
designed to distribute power from your engine to all other parts of your vehicle. A
problem within this area of your pickup could lead you into a dangerous situation.
Cutting it short, this is a serious problem in your engine that slows down your speed,
disturbs your vehicle’s performance, and will also cause extensive damage to the
entire Ford engine.
5. So, can you drive with the wrench light on?
If you have no way of retrieving the computer-generated codes and are clueless
about the problem, it is recommended not to drive the car with the wrench symbol
8. This is because driving the vehicle will further damage the powertrain causing you to
spend a fortune on the repair. So, it is best to slow down the car and try to diagnose
the issue. If you have the tool to generate the computer codes for the fault, you can
identify the problem independently.
However, if this sounds too technical to you, then tow the car to an auto car
dealership. He will better comprehend the problem and will fix your Ford vehicle in
less than an hour.
If you continue to drive your Ford truck with the wrench light illuminated, the speed
of your truck will slow down. You won’t be able to shift gears or increase the speed of
your Ford truck.
If the problem is serious and you still force your truck to move forward, you will
damage the engine of the Ford. It will lead to extensive repairs.
6. Estimated repair cost to resolve the problem
The estimated repair cost depends upon the damage your Ford vehicle underwent.
The error codes will identify the problem, and the cost will be based on the issue that
If it leads to PCM replacement, you will have to spend $800-$1000, including labor
costs. However, if you want to repair or replace the throttle, it will cost you
$100-$500 depending on the parts that need service. Repairing costs for other parts
of the car will cost you around $100-$300.
7. Wrapping Up
People who own Ford often face the Ford wrench light issue. Instead of ignoring it, it
is best to catch the warning signal your vehicle is throwing at you.
At times, there could be minor problems, such as a low battery or loose wires. But
some major problems in the transmission or throttle can also cause the sensors to
9. issue signals. If you are not a technical person, it is best to take your vehicle to the
mechanic ASAP. Once repaired, your Ford is ready to hit the road again!