How to view compass on Ford F-150

Your Ford F-150 vehicle is equipped with electronic compass which can be used for navigation and orientation that shows direction relative to the geographic cardinal directions.

Ford F-150, 13th gen – (photo by Ford)

Note: The method mentioned in this guide is for the thirteenth generation of Ford F-150 pick-up made between 2015 and 2020.

  1. To view compass, open Trip/Fuel tab on instrument cluster screen using the steering arrow buttons.
  2. Scroll down and highlight Navigation/Compass.
  3. Press OK button on the steering wheel to open compass.
Trip/Fuel menu

If you followed the steps correctly, it should open the digital compass on the instrument panel. Make sure you have not selected any navigation route, otherwise you will see turn by turn navigation instead of compass.

Ford F-150 Compass

How does a compass work?

Compasses show the direction and are also magnetic. But how does it work?

A few basics on magnetism

Before we turn to the compass, we need some basic knowledge of magnetism. Magnets are attracted by an invisible force. Magnets have different poles, these are called north and south poles – the letters “N” and “S” are therefore printed on many magnets. The north pole of one magnet attracts the south pole of another magnet and repels the north pole of another magnet.

We are constantly surrounded by a weak magnetic field, which is caused by the earth. It is therefore also called “Earth’s magnetic field”. This magnetic field also has poles, namely a magnetic south pole and a magnetic north pole. Now we have to remember, however, that the magnetic south pole is close to the geographic north pole and – quite analogously – the magnetic north pole of the earth is close to the geographic south pole. This can be confusing at times, but we’ll understand why it is even useful.

How is a compass constructed?

The compass has a housing to protect the inside. Inside there is a wind rose, here the cardinal points are recorded and marked with N, E, S and W (North, East, South and West). In addition, there is often a division like a protractor with degrees.

In the center of the compass is a thin tip on which a needle (a small, thin, flat piece of metal) is rotatably mounted. This needle was magnetized before installation in the compass, it has a north and a south pole. It is important for all compasses that this needle can be rotated very easily without using a lot of force.

How does it work?

The compass needle, which can be rotated very easily, experiences a force effect from the earth’s magnetic field and aligns itself accordingly, i.e. the magnetic north pole of the needle is attracted to the magnetic south pole of the earth. The needle turns and points with its north pole to the magnetic south pole of the earth – and that is in the geographical north, as we already know. So it happens that the needle points north.

The north pole of the needle is often marked in red for easy identification. There are also compasses that have a rotatable, thin disc instead of the needle. This disc is also magnetized so that it has 2 magnetic poles.

Incidentally, the geographic north pole and magnetic south pole of the earth are not exactly the same, but they are nearby. It is even the case that the magnetic pole moves somewhat every year.

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