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How to Put Ford F-150 in Neutral Without Key?

Whether someone stole your key, you lost it, or you never had one in the first place, you now find yourself in a position where you need to move an F-150 without a key. 

But how exactly do you accomplish this?

To put a Ford F-150 in neutral without a key, you need to: 

  1. Put wheel chocks on the tires 
  2. Engage the parking brake 
  3. Get underneath the car 
  4. Find the transmission
  5. Disconnect the transmission cable
  6. Change the gear

After completing these steps, the truck should be in neutral gear. 

6 Steps to Put a Ford F-150 in Neutral Without the Key 

A red Ford pickup truck parked in the grass near trees.

To get your F-150 in neutral so that you can move it elsewhere, you just need to follow these simple steps. 

Step One: Put Wheel Chocks on the Tires

Before you get underneath your F-150, you first want to put wheel chocks on your tires. 

Wheel chocks are wedge-shaped devices, usually made of wood, plastic, or rubber, that keep your wheels from moving. 

If you are going to get under your car to put it in neutral, it is crucial that you apply your wheel chocks correctly so that your truck does not roll when you’re under it. 

To use wheel chocks properly, you need to make certain you position the wedged part of the chock in the center of the wheel. 

Also, ensure you’ve placed the chock firmly under the wheel and that the bottom of the chock makes complete contact with the ground. 

And when manually putting a vehicle in neutral, you want to put chocks on the front and back of the front tires to make sure the truck doesn’t roll in either direction. 

Step Two: Engage the Parking Brake 

Another safety precaution you should take before getting under the vehicle is engaging the parking brake. 

Doing so will help keep the car in position while you are under it so that it does not roll. 

Step Three: Get Underneath the Car 

Now, for this step, you won’t have to get too far under the car since the transmission is close to the vehicle’s front. 

And in a Ford F-150, you shouldn’t have an issue getting under the car because most models have 9 inches (23 cm) or more of ground clearance. 

Also, make sure you take a flashlight with you when you go under the car to ensure you can see everything properly. 

Step Four: Find the Transmission 

With your flashlight, search around your engine until you see a large piece of metal shaped like a space shuttle. 

This item is the transmission. 

Once you’ve located it, you then need to find the shift linkage, also called the transmission cable, and the gear selector. 

The shift linkage is a thick cable or metal stick with a looped metal piece on the end that connects to the gear selector, which looks a bit like a lever. 

After you’ve found the gear selector and shift linkage, you’re ready for the next step. 

Step Five: Disconnect the Transmission Cable/Shift Linkage 

Now, it’s time to disconnect the shift linkage from the gear selector. 

In some cases, it will come off pretty easy, and you can just pop it off with your fingers. 

However, you may need a pair of needle-nosed pliers or something similar to get the cable disconnected. 

Step Six: Change the Gear 

Once you have the shift linkage disconnected, changing the gears in your truck is pretty simple. 

Just grab the gear selector and push it towards the back of the vehicle until it clicks twice. 

Your car should now be in neutral. 

How to Tow a Ford F-150 Without a Key 

The most common method of towing a car without a key is to use self-loading dollies. 

A self-loading dolly is a frame with wheels that locks the car’s tires in place so that you can move it elsewhere. 

Before you place the dollies, or dolly if using a tow frame, on the truck, you need to figure out if the vehicle is front-wheel, rear-wheel, or all-wheel drive. 

This information is essential because you need to put the dollies on the drive wheels, or else you will blow the transmission. 

When dealing with a Ford F-150, most models are rear-wheel drive, meaning you need to put the dollies on the back wheels. 

But, you should keep in mind that not all F-150 models are rear-wheel drive, so you should be sure you determine which wheels the truck drives with before towing with dollies. 

Once you know which tires are the drive wheels, you can place the vehicle onto the dollies. 

To do so, you need to put one of the dolly’s metal bars behind the truck’s tire and one in front. 

Then, place the wheels of the dolly on either side of the tire and lock them into place. 

Next, you must insert a metal bar into the loops on the dolly and crank it until the dolly’s frame is off the ground. 

Double-check that everything on the dolly is locked in place to ensure the car does not slip when you tow it. 

Finally, you can raise the vehicle onto the tow truck and tow it away. 

How Can I Get a New Key for a Ford F-150?

A blurred man in an apron showing a car's key.

If you don’t have a key for a Ford F-150, there are a few ways you can get a new one. 

Call a Locksmith 

If the F-150 takes a traditional car key, you can call a locksmith to make a new key for your vehicle. 

Visit the Dealership 

In many cases, visiting the dealership is your only option, especially if you have a newer vehicle that uses a smart, transponder, or switchblade key. 

You may also have to go to the dealership for a new key if you have an old or foreign-style car because a locksmith may not be able to help you. 

But, just remember that when you go to the dealership, you must bring documentation to prove you are the car’s owner. 

Otherwise, they may not help you. 

Get a New Ignition Lock Cylinder 

If you can’t get a new key for your F-150, you will have to replace the entire lock. 

And if you have the lock replaced, you will need to get new locks for the doors and trunk as well. 

What Is the Point of Neutral Gear?

If you have a car with an automatic transmission, you won’t be using neutral often. 

However, neutral gear is not pointless in automatic vehicles. 

The main reason automatic drivers use neutral is so they can push a dead car to another location. 

You see, when the car is in neutral, it will roll, making it much, much easier to push. 

Being able to push a car in neutral can help you get your vehicle to a safer spot in the case of an emergency. 

Switching to neutral also makes it easier to move your car to a place where you can get it fixed. 


If you need to put your F-150 into neutral without using a key, you need to follow these steps: 

  1. Put wheel chocks on your tires
  2. Engage your parking brake 
  3. Get underneath your car 
  4. Locate the transmission
  5. Disconnect the transmission cable
  6. Click the gear selector into neutral 

If you perform these steps correctly, you will be able to move an F-150 without a key.

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