Hill Start Assist not Available [Causes & How to Fix]

The ‘Hill start assist not available’ message popping up could be a dreaded message as the HSA system is a great feature that enhances driving with confidence.

This error can be a result of minor or major issues which can still be rectified. In this article, we’ll shed light on the error “ Hill start assist not available.

Hill Start Assist not Available

What is the Hill Start Assist Feature?

Hill start assist is a feature in a car that automatically holds the brake pressure for about 2 to 3 seconds while moving on a hill to hinder the car from rolling backward.

After you make a stop on a hill and you are about to start driving uphill you take your foot off the brake pedal to the accelerator pedal, the time interval used in changing is when the ‘hill start assist’ does its job and stops the car from rolling backward.

What Does the Ford Hill Start Assist Do?

Ford Hill start assist helps to prevent your vehicle from rolling backward while moving on a hill. It does this by engaging your brake pressure while you switch from brake to accelerator. Some versions also stop your car from rolling forward while moving on a declined road

Sensors in the vehicle are used to detect when a vehicle is on a hill. The hill start assist maintains the brake pressure for a set period of time as you switch from the brakes to the accelerator.

Once you press the accelerator, it releases the brake. Manual transmission Ford cars that have the ‘hill start assist’ feature will also maintain brake pressure until the driver lets up on the clutch.

Possible Causes of Hill Start not Available Warning in a Ford Vehicle

1. Software Error

If there is a software glitch, a lot of systems in the vehicle will be affected and this can be the possible reason why your hill start assist is not available.

Like every other computerized system, the HSA system can have software glitches. This will cause the entire system to shut down. This can be fixed by a software engineer or any other professional.

2. Random Error

Another possible cause of the dreaded message – ‘hill start assist not available’ in a Ford may be a result of random errors such as the start button being held for too long, disabling some features, or driving out with the hoods of the vehicle open.

3. Faulty ABS Sensor

Another frequent issue often encountered due to mechanical error in the anti-lock braking system is the message hill start assist not available popping up.

When the ABS sensor is faulty the system therefore will not recognize signals to induce or turn off the braking system.

This is usually not repairable. However, the hill start system can be backed up and running if the sensor is replaced.

4. Switched off ESC and TC

Both the electronic stability control and traction control work together to stabilize the car’s position. If you restart the car’s entire system, both the ESC and TC go offline. To get it up and running again, you’d have to switch it on manually.

Therefore, it’s advisable for you to always check these controls anytime he wants to embark on a hilly journey.

5. An Issue with the Brake Light

The hill start system can also stop functioning if the fuse connecting the braking system to the brake lights is not working. A manual fix of the fuse will end these issues.

6. Uneven or Icy Roads

The HSA system might fail to detect if the ground is uneven, rocky, or icy as the vehicle may not be able to hold a firm grip on the ground they may register this as an error.

The hill start system is primarily designed to function on a sloppy ground or similar topography.

How to Fix Issues Causing ‘Hill Start not Available’ in a Ford

1. Restart the Vehicle

When the dreaded message hill start assist not available pops up on your dashboard, you can try turning off your vehicle and turning it on again.

There is a high tendency that by restarting your car that most minor issues will be resolved and the HSA system will start working again.

2. Update the Vehicle Software

If the first method did not work out, you can try updating the vehicle software if it’s due for an update. The new software may help to address the issues and most updates can be done over the air.

3. Turn off the Hill Start Assist

Although this, is not an ideal solution, you can turn off the hill start assist if the error persists when you are not taking hilly roads. there is a tendency that the HSA will start working again after turning it on again.

How to Reset Hill Start Assist not Available for Ford

You simply press the button to turn off the traction control. You then press it again and you’ll notice that the Hill Start Assist light on the right side of the instrument cluster is on.

Hill Start Assist systems are relatively simple to operate and use. They are often activated with a button on the side of the steering wheel or by tapping on the brake pedal.

FAQs on Hill Start Assist not Available

Is Hill Start Assist a Necessary Feature in Ford?

The HSA system helps navigate through hills. This makes it easy to navigate through the land of bad topography. It helps to avoid the awkward moment of having to press both throttle and break concurrently.

How Do You Set Hill Start Assist in a Ford Vehicle?

Both automatic and manual operation modes are available with the Hill Launch Assist. If you select the automatic mode, the HLA is activated if the car is on an incline and you apply pressure to the brake pedal.

If you choose the manual mode, you must press the brake pedal to activate the Hill Launch Assist.

Do All Ford Vehicles Have Hill Start Assist?

Hill start assist system can be found in all the manual and automatic transmission ford vehicles since 2011.

Can I Drive with a Hill Start Assist not Available?

As long as you are driving on level ground, you can still drive, but it is advisable to know the cause of the error to ensure another system of the vehicle is not affected and won’t lead to a total breakdown of your vehicle.

Read: 61-1 Honda Code


The hill start assists start system might be seen as a minor part of a car, it, however, plays a significant role in ensuring the car function at optimum capacity.

It helps to transmit data from the exhaust stream to the onboard computer of a car so as to compare to the standard efficiency level of such a vehicle.

Getting the message hill start not available can be caused by some random or major issues, check for the possible causes of the error to get the right solution to address the issue.