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How to Put Ford F-150 in Neutral With Dead Battery?

Dead batteries can be highly inconvenient, especially when it leaves your vehicle in an inappropriate place. 

So, how do you get a dead F-150 into neutral so that you can roll it elsewhere?

If you have the keys, you can put a Ford F-150 into neutral with a dead battery by releasing the shift lock. If you don’t have the keys, you’ll need to pull off the transmission cable under the truck and move the gear selector to neutral. 

In this article, I will detail how to put a dead Ford F-150 into neutral gear with or without the keys. 

I will also describe the easiest way to tow a dead Ford F-150 instead of having to put it in neutral. 

How to Put a Dead Ford F-150 in Neutral With the Keys 

A woman is smiling while starting the engine of her car.

If you have the keys to the F-150, you may be able to shift normally into neutral after turning the ignition. 

But, if the vehicle won’t shift, you need to follow the steps below. 

Step One: Engage the Parking Brake 

Before you put your dead truck in neutral, you must engage the parking brake. 

If you don’t, your car will likely begin to roll as soon as you put it in neutral gear. 

So, for the safety of yourself, your car, and the people around you, engage the parking brake before putting your dead vehicle in neutral. 

Step Two: Put the Key in the Ignition and Turn It 

Of course, when you turn the ignition, your truck is not going to start if the battery is dead. 

But, you need to turn the ignition anyway because you can not release the shift lock otherwise. 

Step Three: Press the Brake 

Now, you need to press the brake as you usually would when you shift gears. 

Step Four: Release the Shift Lock 

To release the shift lock, you first need to find it. 

And in most F-150s, you have to dig a bit deeper to get to this lock than you would in the majority of vehicles. 

To locate the shift lock, you must start by removing the long change tray next to your gear selector. 

Then, you need to pull up the black tab you’ll find underneath the tray. 

You may need a screwdriver or a similar item to remove this tab, or you might be able to do it with your fingers. 

Next, peer down inside the hole where you just removed the black tab. 

You should see a small white rectangular piece of plastic. 

With your fingers or a screwdriver, push this piece towards the front of your truck. 

You have now unlocked the shift lock. 

Step Five: Shift Into Neutral Gear 

With your foot on the brake, you should now be able to shift into neutral gear. 

How to Put a Dead F-150 in Neutral Without the Keys 

Putting a dead F-150 into neutral without the keys is a bit harder. 

But, as long as you follow the instructions below, you should be able to do it without too much headache. 

Step One: Place Chocks on the Tires 

If you are going to put your F-150 into neutral without keys, you will have to go underneath the vehicle, meaning you need to take extra precautions to ensure the car does not roll. 

Thus, you should put wheel chocks on your tires before you move on to the next steps. 

Wheel chocks are plastic, rubber, or wooden wedges that fit underneath your tires so that your car does not roll out of place. 

And your vehicle will likely roll and possibly crush you as soon as you put it in neutral if you do not use wheel chocks. 

To place wheel chocks properly, you must push the wedged portion of the chock directly onto the center of the tire. 

Then, you need to apply some pressure to the wheel chock to ensure the wedged portion is securely underneath the tire. 

You should put wheel chocks on both the front and back of your truck’s tires. 

Step Two: Engage the Parking Brake 

For extra safety, you should engage your parking brake before getting under the vehicle. 

Step Three: Get Underneath the Truck 

Prepare yourself with a flashlight and crawl underneath the front of the F-150. 

And since the average F-150 has a ground clearance of between 8.4 in (21 cm) and 9.9 in (25 cm), you should have enough room to get under the vehicle. 

But, it may be a tight squeeze. 

However, because you will be working with the transmission, which is near the front of the vehicle, you won’t have to go very far under the truck. 

Step Four: Find the Transmission

With your flashlight, search around the engine area of your truck for the transmission. 

You can identify the transmission by its space shuttle-like shape. 

Step Five: Pull Off the Transmission Cable 

Look around the back of the transmission, and you should find a cable with a long piece of metal on the end of it. 

This metal cable will have a loop that attaches to a silver lever called the gear selector. 

This wire is the transmission cable, and you need to disconnect it from the gear selector. 

You may be able to pull it off with your fingers, but if you can’t, you’ll have to get a pair of needle-nosed pliers to work it off. 

Step Six: Push the Gear Selector to Neutral 

Now that you’ve detached the transmission cable, you can move the gear selector to change gears. 

To put your F-150 into neutral gear, you need to push the gear selector towards the back of the car until you hear two clicks. 

Once you do so, the truck will be in neutral, and you can roll it to where it needs to go. 

How to Tow a Dead F-150 Without the Keys 

A white Ford pickup truck parked near the beach.

If you need to tow a dead F-150 and don’t have the keys, there’s an easier solution than getting under the truck to shift the gears. 

Instead, you can just use a self-loading dolly. 

To use a self-loading dolly, you first need to determine if the F-150 is front, rear, or all-wheel drive. 

This information is essential to know because you must put the dolly on the drive wheels, or you will blow the transmission. 

Generally, most F-150 trucks are rear-wheel drive, but not all of them, so you need to determine this before you tow the truck. 

Once you’ve figured out which wheels require the dolly, you can put it on the car. 

To begin, you need to place the dolly’s metal bars on the front and back of the truck’s drive wheels. 

Then, you can put the dolly’s wheels on the outside of the truck’s tires and lock them onto the bars. 

Next, you’ll need to use a metal bar, similar to the ones you’d use for a jack, to lift the dolly’s wheels off the ground. 

You can do this by inserting the bar into the dolly’s holes and cranking it until the wheels lift. 

Finally, check the dolly over to make sure everything is secure. 

You have now finished putting on your self-loading dolly, which will allow you to tow away the F-150. 


If you have the keys to the dead F-150, you can simply disable the shift lock to put the truck into neutral gear. 

Yet, if you don’t have the keys, you will have to get under the vehicle and change the gear selector manually.

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