What’s Up With the Ford Transit’s Dead Battery Issues?

Many Ford Transit owners are familiar with this problem. Some Transits seem to suck the life out of themselves. Model year after model year of the Ford Transit’s generations show people bringing their Transits into the dealership for battery problems. But what is causing this defect?

a blue Ford Transit Connect parked in a family driveway
Ford Transit Connect | Ford Media

Repacing a battery over and over is like putting a bandaid over a way bigger problem. Maybe a dive into some forum discussion can help us get to the root of the Ford Transit and the Connect’s problems with draining batteries.

Ford Transit battery draining

Though owners can’t seem to agree on exactly whether the battery is draining or being damaged in some other way, it’s immediately apparent that a lot of people have Ford van battery problems. Many attribute these issues to the Ford Transit and Transit Connect’s problems to an issue specific to these particular vans.

Owners across several different Ford Transit forums have had the same problem. They will be out on a job, or at the grocery store. Then they go to start the vehicle and head home. Boom. Dead Battery.

white Ford fleet vans on display
BRUSSELS, BELGIUM – Ford range of Light Commercial Vehicles in various bod styles including the Transit Van | Sjoerd van der Wal/Getty Images

Of course, Ford will come with roadside service and jumpstart Transits. The dealers are more than happy to attempt to diagnose the issue. But they can’t seem to find the problem. A new battery is the quick fix answer.

But then the new batteries also begin failing. Several owners reported returning to the dealer for a battery replacement at least three times in the span of just a few short months. There has to be a bigger issue with these Transit batteries than just a dead battery.

The Ford Transit Connect

It’s definitely not just the big Ford Transits with bad battery problems. The Transit Connect has also experienced this issue. On Drivetrain Resource there is an entire page dedicated to the draining batteries.

“If it is draining while your Transit Connect is off, it’s usually caused by something that is drawing current that shouldn’t be. If the battery is draining while you’re driving, that is probably going to be the alternator or battery.”

Drivetrain Resource

This discussion on PistonHeads reveals that Transit Connects in a wide range of year models from 2007 to 2017 are turning up with a dead battery. Especially in the cold. Yes, that can be a sign of a totally dead battery that actually needs to be replaced, but this owner says they have tested the battery every way they can, even tried a fresh one. Still, the battery turns up dead in the cold.

The front of a white Ford Transit Connect cargo van with a standard battery
2020 Ford Transit Connect cargo van | Ford Motor Company

What’s sucking the life out of this van’s batteries?

One owner claims to have spoken with a Ford representative. From what they allegedly told this Transit owner, the body control module powers up every time the doors open. It sucks the juice out of the battery. Ironically enough, this is a major problem if you are on a job site and need to open and close the door frequently to access materials in your work van.

The Ford technician is also said to have refused to perform the bypass which would eradicate this problem. The BCM will only be reprogrammed if you take the Transit elsewhere so that an aftermarket installer can put a “kill switch on the BCM.”

2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van
2020 Ford Transit Cargo Van | Ford

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Are Ford Transits reliable?

Overall, these Fords have average reliability, according to J.D. Power. While they don’t exactly have the worst ratings, Consumer Reports. would agree that the Transit sports average or below-average predicted reliability. And the worst part is that it doesn’t look like the battery problem is easy to troubleshoot.