How to Reset Your Car Computer

in Service and Maintenance
Car computer

Source: Pixabay

Many times, car owners find that an issue with their car stems from the computer. Signs of this might include a check engine light that won’t go away after a repair or another indicator that will not disappear no matter what actions you take. A reset may be necessary. However, you might not know how to reset your car computer.

Keep on reading to learn how you can reset your car computer. By following these steps, you should be able to accomplish this task in no time at all. You will be able to fix this issue without spending a ton of money on your vehicle.

How Will Resetting Help?

You might want to understand what a reset can help with before you go through the trouble of fixing this component on your car. After all, it is quite a bit of work. If you don’t need to reset, all of this might be unnecessary. You could even risk damaging your car.

According to, resetting your car computer can help out the vehicle by:

  • Allowing you to start your car engine
  • Getting rid of the check engine light
  • Fixing any unpredictable engine behavior
  • Destroying any odd burning smells or scents 

All of these can be benefited by fixing this device. That is why it is vital to understand how to reset your car’s computer.

If you experience any of these troubles, you should ensure that you check the car’s computer. A complete reset is likely going to help you without forcing you to spend a ton of money on a car mechanic that may or may not be able to fix the problem. Next, we will get into the process of the reset. There are two main methods.


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Resetting with the Battery On

The first way that you can reset your car’s computer is by leaving the battery on. This method is for those who do not want to deal with the battery in the reset. For this method, you will need a pair of pliers and a code reader. These items can be located on Amazon or at a local hardware store.

There are a few simple steps that you should follow to reset the car computer in this manner. To reset with the battery on, you should:

  • Find the fuse box, which is often covered with a case that shows the fuses and amperage inside
  • Take that cover off carefully
  • Locate the fuses that are entitled “ECU” and “Back-up”
  • Leave them out for at least ten minutes
  • Reinstall them, placing them exactly where you found them when you took them out
  • Replace the cover carefully
  • Try driving the car

At this point, your problem should be fixed.

If this did not work, you might be dealing with a bigger issue than simply the car computer. You can always try one more time if you think it might have been an error on your part. If it still doesn’t work, you should probably take it in to a professional to avoid further damage that could come from ignoring it.


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Resetting with the Battery Off

There is one other way to do this item when understanding how to reset your car computer. You can reset the car’s computer with the battery off. Of course, you will need to turn off the car before you begin this process to ensure that everything runs smoothly. You will also need pliers, insulating tape, water, and baking soda, and a 10-watt resistor.

As with it on, there are a few basic steps that you will need to follow when resetting the car computer with the battery off. To accomplish this, you should:

  • Take off the battery terminals
  • Get the battery out to remove the source of power
  • Attach the negative and positive wires 
  • Leave them for about 45 minutes
  • Clean the battery using a 5050 combination of baking soda and water
  • Put the batter back
  • Reconnect the terminals
  • Start the car and try driving it

Your issue should have been resolved by this point.

If this does not work, you can either try again or seek out professional help. Paying for a fix will always be better than destroying your vehicle beyond usage. However, this should be successful if you follow every single step carefully.


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What Signs Indicate That a Reset is Necessary?

Now that you know how to reset the car computer, you might be curious as to what signs might indicate to you that a reset is necessary. Seeing any of these should cause you to check out the car computer for any problems that might exist. We touched on these briefly.

According to, the most common signs of a car computer failure include:

  • The car engine won’t start, which could indicate that the ratio setting is wrong
  • A drop in fuel economy, which also shows an issue with the ratio
  • Irregular shifting, which shows that the information is not getting to the computer in time
  • Loss of acceleration, which shows that the lack of adjustments from the car computer is lacking

All of these, and more, might show that there is an issue with your car’s computer.

If you see any of these items and they persist, the car computer should be your first thought. It will save you time and money that might be removed from your life if you take the vehicle down to an auto repair shop. Try the reset first.


Hopefully, you now have a grasp on how to reset your car computer. This vital step is not something that many people think of, but it can be super handy if you want to do everything yourself. It is a super simple process that anyone with any level of car knowledge can accomplish.

Doing it with the car battery on is simple, but you can use whichever method you prefer. If none of these techniques work, you should turn to a professional for help. Though they may cost you more than you want to spend, they will be able to prevent your car from experiencing further damage if you keep on ignoring the problem.

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