Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ford Sync USB Issue

Well we've had our 2010 Ford Escape Limited for a few weeks now and we're loving it. It drives great and looks great with it's all black interior/exterior. We have really been enjoying the advanced sound system with the USB port and voice activated controls. If I want to play a song by Metallica, I just say "Play artist Metallica" and it will make me a playlist of all my Metallica songs. If I want to hear a specific song, I just tell it which song I want and it plays it. The fancy thing about it is that there was no configuration required and youdon't have to speak like a child for it to understand you.

The brains behind this technology is Microsofts SYNC software. The software takes advantage of the stereo controls and an in-dash microphone and USB port. The SYNC system even offers limited voice support forstreaming music via bluetooth from your phone or capable mp3 player. It's a great system that Ford has really adapted into their vehicle lineup. I would bet that most, if not all of the major vehicle brands will have their own versions of SYNC very soon.

I've spoken so fondly about SYNC that it is time to point out a negative. I was abusing the system the other day by rapidly pressing "next track" to skip to a desired song. I was doing it so fast that the system could not keep up and I caused the whole thing to crash. It would not skipplay or recogniseeither of our USB devices. No matter how many times we reset everything the stereo would only display "USB EMPTY". I became very upset as all of the songs were there moments ago, why would it be empty now? However after a little research and no help from the SYNC support website I managed tofix it.

What happens is the software gets confused and the USB driver crashes. The only way to fix it is to power SYNC off, and back on. When you reset the vehicle it does NOT turn off the power to SYNC. The only way to cut the power specifically to SYNC is to pull its fuse. You have to find your vehicles interior fuse box and pull the fuse for SYNC. Refer to your vehicles owners manual and it will tell you where the fuse box is, which # fuse is for "SYNC." Just pull it out for 20-30 seconds, put it back in and start your vehicle to find that SYNC is ready to play your USB devices again. Note that you may loose SYNC settings and stored data. It's a little complicated for some, but it only took me about 2 minutes to do it and it sure beats making an appointment at the shop.

It's a good thing that Microsoft only had software control of the stereo and not the brakes or airbags!

Please note that this article is a duplicate as Google was not indexing it properly. Sorry for the confusion. Thanks for reading!



  1. Thanks for this post. I had the same issue in my brand new fiesta. Thought I had to take it back to get fixed. Your solution sorted it out in less than 5 minutes.

    1. Ian, thanks for the hint. I've had my 2008 Fusion for over 4 years and just this week experienced the 'USB Empty' issue. My fuse for Sync was under the hood, and I did just as you suggested. Voila! You da man!

    2. I have had my 2010 fusion for 3 years and had the issue with the USB and Phone this week. If I pushed the phone button on the dash, the phone app wouldn't show up on my screen. If I pushed the voice button and said phone or USB, it said that they were not installed. Took it to a dealership and they said that I needed to replace the entire unit for $561.35. I told them to forget it, found your page and tried it. My fuse is above the brake pedal by the steering wheel. I pulled the fuse #13, waited 2 minutes, put it back and turned the car on. My phone connected and I had a USB. I called the dealership back and told them to let the tech know about this so that they don't try to make someone else pay to a complete replacement.

  2. Thank you very much for the information. Your solution worked quickly on my 2009 Ford Escape. I appreciate it very much. Every thing works great now.
    You're The Man!

  3. Thanks! Just had this problem with my 2010 F-150 and this fixed it. Can't believe there is nothing on the SYNC website about this!

  4. I did the whole fuse box thing you suggested. Mine did not work. My usb reads my ipod , shows the song , but dose not play.
    any suggestions?