6 Causes of Lincoln Drive Control Malfunction Service Required

The Lincoln “Drive Control Malfunction Service Required”, is a common problem. It can happen anytime, at less than 50K or more than 100K miles. Sometimes when you get the message on your instrument cluster, you’ll be unable to get the vehicle out of sport mode. So, it can be quite an annoying issue. 

What causes this problem? Is it an issue you can troubleshoot and avoid going to a dealer or repair shop? We have answered these questions below. 

What Causes the Lincoln “Drive Control Malfunction Service Required”?

The causes of the Lincoln “drive control malfunction service required” include a weak or failing battery. A malfunctioning ECU or a blown fuse can also trigger the issue. Other common causes are electrical faults, dirty/defective sensors or struts and shock issues. 

Let’s discuss these in detail:

Possible Cause #1: Weak or Failing Battery

The first thing to do while troubleshooting the “drive control malfunction” matter is to check your battery. A weak or failing battery can trigger a variety of electronic gremlins. 

If your Lincoln still has the factory battery after 3-4 years, it may be nearing its end. Remember that your vehicle has a heavy electrical dependence on the battery. Suppose it’s unable to provide the electricity needed to keep all the components functional. In that case, you’re likely to experience the drive control malfunctioning. 

How To Fix

Try charging the battery for a while and see whether the message disappears. You can also replace the battery with a new one. You should use a voltmeter or multimeter to check the status of the battery. A healthy one should output anywhere between 12.6 volts and above. 

Possible Cause #2: Malfunctioning Electronic Control Unit (ECU)

A software glitch can occur in the ECU. If that happens, the component will likely interpret the data from the various sensors inaccurately. That means the part will have an issue properly managing the vehicle’s essential functions. 

For instance, the error can affect the control and activation of various actuators and solenoids. An erroneous ECU is also likely to cause delays in conveying the information from the drive control unit to the engine. As a result, the Drive Control Malfunction message will appear on your Lincoln.

How To Fix

Try to reset the ECU. You’ll do this by disconnecting the car battery’s negative terminal for 30-45 minutes. That will completely drain the vehicle’s backup systems and possibly clear any computer errors. After that, reconnect the power and check whether the error message appears on your instrument cluster.  

Possible Cause #3: Fuse Issue

Your drive control malfunction could also be a result of a faulty fuse. The fuses protect electrical components from current overload problems. They usually trip each time a circuit malfunctions or your vehicle’s amperage abruptly spikes. 

Electrical components are interconnected. That means one faulty fuse can trigger a whole lot of concerns. For example, a fuse that protects your central engine unit or other essential components will cause the driver control system to malfunction if it blows. 

How To Fix

Examine all fuses in the fuse box and ensure no fuse is blown. Consult the owner’s manual for where the fuses are in each slot. Use a test light to check all the fuses. If you find a defective fuse, pull it out and replace it. 

Possible Cause #4: Electrical Failure

An electrical failure could be the one triggering the drive control malfunction. There may be an issue with the wiring harness that goes to the rear shock. A common cause of electrical malfunctions in vehicles is pest damage. 

A rat or rodent can chew through the wires and cut off lines of communication between the various components in your car. Sometimes, you might require a new harness based on the degree of damage. 

How To Fix

You must take your Lincoln to a dealer. A standard OBD II code reader may not read faults from the system. A reputable dealer has a factory scan tool that can gain access to the modules and read faults in the system. From there, the specialist can use a diagnostic flow chart for the errors to fix your vehicle accordingly.

Possible Cause #5: Faulty ABS Sensor

Your Lincoln has an ABS sensor mounted on each wheel. These sensors detect the wheel speeds and transmit the details to the ECU. However, the sensors can get clogged with dirt and debris due to their position. That’s especially true if you frequently drive on rough, muddy, or wet roads.  

In such an instance, the sensors’ performance would be affected. A compromised ABS sensor will probably struggle to receive and interpret the information from the drive control system. If that happens, you’ll likely get a drive control malfunction warning on your cluster. 

How To Fix

Disassemble the sensors and clean them using a clean microfiber cloth. Avoid using water, which can damage or hamper the sensor’s accuracy. If the error persists after cleaning and reinstalling the sensors, something else might be the cause. 

Possible Cause #6: Struts/Shocks Issues

Your Lincoln’s struts and shocks help keep the vehicle’s body suspended above the wheels. They also ensure the car’s body is comfortably off the ground. The shocks keep you safe and comfortable as you drive along the road. 

However, the struts and shocks are wear-and-tear components. Over time, they can develop issues such as bents and require replacement. Yours may be nearing their end, so they trigger the drive control malfunction message. 

How To Fix

You must take the car to your dealer for a shock replacement. If you had the work done recently, the warranty may be on and cover the replacement cost. 


There are several causes of the Lincoln “Drive Control Malfunction Service Required” problem. We have discussed the six most common triggers and how to fix each one. Some are easy to troubleshoot, but some require the specialized hand of a specialist at a dealership or repair shop. 

Therefore, if the DIY approach proves difficult, immediately take your car to an authorized Lincoln dealer. The professionals will accurately diagnose the problem and repair it accordingly.