What Does It Mean When Hill Start Assist Is Not Available Ford?

The Hill Start Assist is an invaluable feature that protects drivers on both downhill and uphill roads. It allows them to drive tension free on roads with steep terrain without worrying that the car will roll backward.

When you notice your hill start assist is not available, the common culprit is usually the sensor. However, it could also be as a result of other problems so it is advisable to diagnose properly. For instance, it could be because the traction control system has detected a fault, probably caused by icy roads or rocky roads where your vehicle has low traction. Usually, when this happens, the hill start assist will be unavailable. 

This article helps to shed some light on the hill start assist feature and what it means when it is unavailable. 

What Is Hill Start Assist and How Does It Work? 

What does it mean when hill start assist is not available ford

All drivers at some point in their driving are likely to encounter an uphill road. In these cases, drivers tend to hold their cars in place before moving again. Skilled and inexperienced drivers alike may hear some squealing noise from their car when pressing hard on the accelerator to prevent their car from rolling back. This is where hill start assist comes in. 

Hill start assist is a unique technology that has recently been embraced in the automobile industry. It is a safety technology also referred to as hill control initially installed for the sake of inexperienced drivers on hills. It works to prevent your car from rolling back when you press and release the brakes on a hill by automatically activating and holding the brake pressure.

Even when you take your foot off the brake pedal, this feature retains pressure in the braking system to ensure your car does not unwillingly roll back. Once you step on the accelerator, the brakes will be released. 

How to Fix Hill Start Assist When Not Available in Ford Escape? 

The Hill start assist feature help drivers to safely and easily climb steeply inclined roads. The inbuilt sensors sense the inclination and enable you to get over the topography safely.

However, the feature may be unavailable sometimes for one reason or another other usually indicated by the Hill Start Assist OFF light. This causes a major inconvenience when you are driving up a hill. 

When you notice that the feature is unavailable on your Ford Escape, you can apply some tricks to try to reactivate it. However, they are not foolproof and may not overcome the situation at all times. 

Restart the Car

Sometimes (and if you are lucky), restarting the car is the solution. When the engine is turned off and on again, it could reset the system thus overcoming some minor and temporary issues, including a non-functional hill start assist. 

Reboot the System

The problem may persist even after restarting the car. Then, you can opt for rebooting the entire system. This is performed in the service centre to fix the problem. 

Turn the Hill Start Assist Off

If all else fails, you can resort to turning off the feature. However, this is not recommended since you need the feature when driving uphill. You can only go for it if nothing else works. 

Why Does Hill Start Assist Become Unavailable?

If the hill start is unavailable it can be attributed to some reasons. It is usually difficult to diagnose the issue, but it can be one of the following; 

Faulty Hill Start Assist Sensor

If any of the sensors for the hill start assist feature is faulty, it could render the feature unavailable until you get to the root of the matter and fix it. 

Broken Brake Light Fuse

Another reason for non-functional hill start assist is if there is a blown fuse of the brake lights. When the feature is activated, the brakes are pressurized and hence you will notice the brake lights are on. Therefore, if the brakes are somewhat faulty or the light fuse is not working, the system is likely to collapse. 

Can Hill Start Assist Stop a Car on an Incline?

The hill start assist works to prevent rollback on the incline by holding the brakes. This allows you to switch from the brakes to the acceleration pedal in a short span of time. Your car will remain stopped momentarily as you make the switch. Some updated versions of the feature also prevent the car from rolling forward on a decline. 

How Do You Know Hill Start Assist Has Is Not Functional? 

You can tell that your hill start assist is deactivated by a pop-up notification. This usually accompanies the Hill Start Assist OFF light. This happens when it detects a problem in one of the sensors. A corresponding code is set and stored in the non-functional module. 


Almost all the cars that are newly manufactured come with the feature. Some of the cars that have this feature include Kia Seltos, Tata Nexon, Volkswagen Taigun, Skoda Kodiaq, and Mahindra Thar. 

This feature will give the driver a small window of 3 seconds allowing them to shift their foot from the brakes to the accelerator. After this time lapses, the vehicle will unwillingly descend.

The emergency brakes should not be necessarily engaged when using hill start assist. When stopping on an incline, hold the brakes as long as you remain stopped. When you want to continue moving, switch the pedals. The hill start assists feature will keep holding the brakes as you take your foot to the accelerator so you can continue driving. 

Final Thoughts

Before the invention of the hill start assist, it would take a very sturdy handbrake, impeccable clutch control, and years of experience to pull off a great hill start without your car rolling back. Even this does not guarantee the utmost safety. Thankfully, the hill start assist technology helps mitigate human error and provides a safer alternative for all drivers.