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Let’s face it, most car manufacturers are rapidly introducing smartphone technology into the dashboards of our cars. Some of us don’t know how to use these systems. This workshop focuses on some common problems with the Ford Microsoft Sync system.

Some Ford owners may think that their gas distribution system is “working.” Sometimes you try to make a phone call, and it looks like the synchronization system is “not listening.” This is a summary of some common problems and how to fix them. In most cases, the problem is not in the countdown system, but in our understanding (or misunderstanding) of how the system works.

Let’s hit the right buttons first!

Ford has developed a hands-free system with controls on the steering wheel. There are buttons on the right side of the steering wheel. Some of these buttons are “bilateral,” so you press the button left or right. One of the buttons is the “voice” button – it has a mouth icon (image) with sound waves coming out (or simply marked “voice”). This is the button you press to initiate the voice command to make a call, request Bluetooth sound, or perform other voice queries.

Click the “Voice” button, and the female system voice will enter the automotive speaker system with a statement such as “Synchronization, say your command.” Answer by saying “Telephone.” The system will answer “Phone, order.” Then say, “Name your name (your contact’s name will be stored in your phone book).” For example, say, “Call John Smith on your cell phone.” Or say, “Call Bill Henderson home.”

If you’re trying to call a number, click the voice button, say “Phone,” then say “Call.” The system will request a number. At medium volume, just say a song at normal speed. Give your phone number separate numbers, such as “eight-one-eight, five-three-five, five-three-one-nine.” Don’t try to compress numbers like “Eighty-one, eight,five, fifty-three, fifty-five, three-nineteen.”

Some other buttons on the right side of the steering wheel are used to increase or decrease the volume of the speaker and “scroll arrows.” These arrows allow you to move from a pre-installed station to a pre-installed station in radio mode, or from the beginning of the track, or to the next track when listening to CD or linear input.

There’s another button with a phone icon, the Phone button. This button is used to answer a phone call (by pressing quickly) and to complete or cancel a call (by pressing and holding a button for about five seconds). There’s another button with the word “OK.” This button is used to answer questions that the system can place on the LED screen or on the dashboard touch screen. For example, if you listen to Sirius satellite radio and press the Menu button on the center console, the LED screen will display the words “Satellite Menu” and then press the OK button on the steering wheel. The LED screen will then display the “Category Menu” and press OK again, then use the scroll arrows on the steering wheel (or custom control) to view all available music categories with Sirius. If you choose “Comedy” and hit OK, you will go straight to the first radio station in this category.

Simply clicking on the Phone icon won’t allow you to access the “voice” to create a command. It can only access the Phone Menu. The name of this menu will change in a few seconds to ‘Re-set your phone number’ on the LED display, then you can use the search arrow buttons on the steering wheel or the control to scroll through the phone’s settings, such as system settings, phone book or call History. Click OK to access one of these categories, and again use scroll arrows or control to unfurl the menu. When you see the word “Back,” click OK to return to the previous menu.

If you don’t press the Phone button long enough at the end of the conversation, the “Re-set” text can be permanently stuck on the LED display. You won’t be able to access the radio or other audio functions until you click and hold the Phone icon for about five seconds.

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