What Does the Wrench Light On Ford Vehicles mean?


Ford vehicles have an advanced warning system on the dashboard that alerts car or truck owners to any potential or severe engine malfunction.

A yellow wrench symbol will turn on when the vehicle computer detects an abnormality in specific systems.

What Does the Wrench Light on a Ford vehicle mean? Generally, a Wrench light on the Ford F-150 dash signifies an issue with the all-wheel-drive system or the powertrain control. Other possibilities include issues with the electronic throttle body and its sensor. Malfunctioning transmission systems or BCM can also cause the wrench light to glow up.

By following the steps and checking the components described in this article, I was able to successfully diagnose and resolve the Wrench light warning alert on my Ford truck.

What Does the Wrench Light Mean on a Ford?

There are multiple underlying causes for your Ford vehicle’s wrench light turning on.

The simple steps below will guide you on basic routine maintenance procedures like visually inspecting the wiring and other safety parts to mildly complex procedures like running Onboard Diagnostic Scanner (OBD) to get the error codes. It will also assist you in identifying the faulty system.

Powertrain control module Malfunction

The most common cause of a wrench light appearing on the dashboard of a Ford vehicle is a problem with the truck’s PCM or ECM.

First, inspect the PCM board for any short circuits caused by water damage. When exposed to water or moisture, it rusts connector pins and short-circuits components.

Also, inspect the electronic board regularly and dry it with hot air if exposed to moisture to prevent the electronic components from getting damaged.

Furthermore, heating and thermal vibrations on the board can damage the wiring tracks on its PCB.

If the PCM is in good working order, the next step is to use the OBD tool to read error codes from the engine computer’s memory.

The error code will identify the faulty component of the system. In some cases, you may not receive an error code. This could mean that the warning light is a false signal or a power system glitch.

However, it is critical to have your vehicle checked whenever the warning light comes on.

Check wiring and fuses.

Following that, visually inspect the truck’s wiring harnesses and fuses.

A loose connector or a broken wire can cause a warning alert for that system.

Remove the connectors and thoroughly clean them to remove any carbon buildup, dust accumulation, or corrosion. The suspension of a wire can also prompt the wrench light on the vehicle to come on.

4-wheel drive module malfunction

Transfer case control modules in vehicles with 4-wheel drive (4WD) options switch between 2WD and 4WD based on the speed of the Ford vehicle.

If the shift relay fails, your truck will become stuck in place or enter limp mode, which will turn on the wrench light.

Look for any damaged wires or blown fuses in the module. Drive the vehicle by manually selecting the 2WD option, then go to the workshop to have the issue identified based on the error codes.

Body control module malfunction

If the vehicle PCM does not display any diagnostic trouble codes and the wrench light stays on, you should examine the BCM.

Moisture on the module can also be an issue at times. Use the OBD scanner to read and resolve error codes. Also, inspect the wires on the BCM for the automatic start-stop feature.

Throttle position sensor problem

TPS malfunction can take the form of a faulty sensor or a short in its wiring. Its symptoms include forced idling, an unresponsive throttle valve, and a complete vehicle shutdown.

To resolve the issue, locate the sensor in the electronic throttle body, test it with a multimeter, and change the throttle body position sensor.

Examine the Electronic throttle body

In a Ford vehicle, the electronic throttle body (ETB) controls air intake to the engine in response to the driver’s throttle pedal.

Its failure will cause a sudden loss of power and the wrench sign light to appear on the dashboard. Visit your local Ford dealer or run the ODB scanner for error codes.

It is also a common cause of the dashboard warning light coming on.

I suggest removing the entire throttle body, cleaning it, and reconfiguring the error code to see if it works.

In extreme cases, however, you must change the entire ETB and its actuator to resolve the issue.

Problems with the Transmission System

The Ford electronic control modules are all interlocked with one another. As a result, a problem in one system can frequently indicate a fault in another.

Check the transmission control module, BCM, and PCM for diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs).

Insufficient transmission fluid level or transmission system heating could also cause the wrench light to come on. Check if the issue is fixed by replacing or refilling the transmission fluid.

How to resolve the wrench light issue on Ford Vehicles

There are quick fixes accessible to reset the error codes and remove the yellow wrench symbol in the event of a false signal.

One method is to turn off the vehicle for a few minutes before turning it back on. Remove the light if it was caused by engine heating.

Another method involves disconnecting the battery’s negative terminal for 10-15 minutes and then reconnecting it to reset the control modules to drain out the power.

You can also clear the PCM with FORScan to remove the error codes. These processes will temporarily resolve the issue with the warning light.

However, if the warning light persists after resetting, you must seek immediate assistance from the nearby auto shop or Ford dealers.

Cost of Resolving Wrench Light issues

The estimated cost of repairing the yellow wrench light on Ford vehicles depends on the error code and faulty part.

The cost of replacing a PCM can range between $800 and $1,000, including labor.

The cost of repairing or replacing an electronic throttle body can range from $100 to $500, depending on the parts involved.

Other component repair costs can range from $100 to $300, primarily in repair and labor costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the Wrench light the same as the Check engine light and oil change reminder light?

Despite having different symbols, the yellow wrench light has a similar purpose to the check engine light.

They both indicate or warn of an ECU or PCM malfunction and engine overheating.

They are also the result of the same error codes. A wrench, for example, is the symbol for the oil change reminder light. However, it differs from the yellow warning light that indicates a serious engine problem.

As a result, you shouldn’t mistake one for the other because an oil change reminder light is only a mild reminder that it’s time for an oil change.

Is it Ok to drive a truck with the Wrench light ON?

You can drive the vehicle with the powertrain malfunction light ON for short periods to have it checked.

If the warning lights persist after resetting the car, do not disregard them.

When the yellow light on the dashboard glows, the Ford vehicle enters limp mode.

It reduces engine power to ensure car safety while allowing it to move to the workshop.

It is best to seek immediate repairs rather than driving to avoid further damage to the truck and costly maintenance.


In summary, the wrench icon light on Ford vehicles serves as a warning light prompting the driver to take immediate action towards servicing the car or visiting a nearby auto shop for repairs.