How to use Hill Descent Control on Ford F-150

Hill descent control on Ford F-150 allows the driver to set and maintain vehicle speed while descending steep slopes in various surface conditions.

Ford F-150 14th generation – (photo by Ford)

Hill Descent Control, or HDC for short, is an assistance system that regulates the speed when driving down mountains on loose or snow-covered surfaces on F-150. It therefore keeps the vehicle at a constant speed between 2–20 mph (3–32 km/h) when the vehicle is descending. This is done with the help of braking intervention and engine drag torque. Above 20 mph (32 km/h), the system remains on but the descent speed cannot be set or maintained.

Enable or disable HDC

Hill descent control can be enabled or disabled by pressing its button on the instrument panel above the infotainment touchscreen. A light illuminates and a tone sounds when the system is active.

Hill Descent Control button location on Ford F-150 14th generation

Setting the hill descent speed

To increase or decrease the descent speed, press the accelerator or brake pedal, or use the SET + and SET – buttons on the steering wheel. Once you reach the preferred speed remove your feet from the pedals.

SET+ and SET- buttons on steering wheel controls speed

Which Ford F-150 vehicles have Hill Descent Control?

Hill Descent Control is an optional feature on XL, XLT, Lariat, King Ranch and Platinum variants – its part of FX4 Off-Road Package. The Limited trim cannot be equipped with HDC.

System overheat protection

The system requires a cool down interval after a period of sustained use. Hill descent control provides a warning in the message center and a tone sounds when the system is about to disengage for cooling. At this time, manually apply the brakes as needed to maintain descent speed. The amount of time that the system can remain active before cooling varies with conditions.


Information messages

  • For Hill Descent Reduce Speed XX MPH/km/h or Less: Your vehicle speed requirement for off-road mode entry has not been met.
  • For Hill Descent Select Gear: You need to select a transmission gear for hill descent mode.
  • Hill Descent Driver Resume Control: Hill descent control mode is deactivated and you must resume control.
  • Hill Descent Control Fault: A hill descent system fault is present.
  • Hill Descent Control Off System Cooling: The hill descent system is cooling due to overuse.
  • Hill Descent Control not available with Cruise Control Active: The hill descent system cannot activate while Cruise Control is actively controlling speed.

Video Demonstration

Watch this video by Ford to see visual demo of Hill Descent Control functionality
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