How to Reset a Service Engine Light on Ford Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Ford car Explorer Ford car have a check engine light which turns on to alert you of diagnostic trouble codes stored in the power train control module. Once you retrieve the codes, troubleshooting the issue, and repair the problem, the time will come to reset the check engine light. With the right tool and a few minutes of time, anyone with basic automotive repair experience can reset the light. Never reset the light without first correcting the concern.

Under The Hood:

 How to Reset a Service Engine Light on a Ford

Raise and support the hood.

Locate the battery, which is positioned toward the front driver's side of the engine bay. Depending on the specific Ford model, you may have to remove and set aside a plastic cover found over the battery.

Find the negative battery terminal. This is the black one, and it will be marked with a minus sign. Using a socket, remove the single bolt holding the terminal in place. Remove the terminal from the battery stud. Ensure that the terminal no longer makes contact with the stud.

Wait 15 minutes, then replace the terminal on the stud and tighten the bolt using the socket set. This resets the engine's computer system along with the SES light.

Items you will need

  • Socket set

 How to Reset the Check Engine Light on a Ford Sport Trac

Climb into the Sport Trac’s front seat and remove the dust cover from the front of the diagnostic port. The port is located just under the dashboard on the driver side. You can identify the port by looking for the black cover, which has the letters “DTC” embossed into its face.

Plug the scan tool’s datalink cable into the diagnostic port. Most major auto parts retailers offer a wide variety of scan tools for purchase. Make sure the one you buy works with Ford OBD-II software.

Run the scan tool through a self test. You will need to refer to the scan tool’s specific owner’s manual for running a self test with your particular brand and model of scan tool.

Clear the codes when the scan tool prompts you to do so. This is usually done by selecting "YES" when the scan tool prompt appears on the scan tool's display screen.

Complete the self test and then disconnect the datalink cable from the Sport Trac’s diagnostic port. Put the dust cover back over the port to prevent contamination of the port from dirt, dust and other debris.

Items you will need

  • Scan tool

 How to Reset the Check Engine Light on a Ford F-250

Open the fuse panel underneath the steering column assembly.

Locate the input for the OBD tool plug. There is only one port large enough to accommodate the OBD tool plug.

Plug the OBD tool into the port on the fuse panel.

Turn the OBD tool on, using the power switch on the tool.

Turn the ignition key to the "II" position and wait for the check engine light to go off. This will reset the error codes and the light.

Items you will need

  • OBD reset tool

 How to Reset the Check Engine Light on a Ford Crown Victoria

Turn the ignition key to the "On" position.

Open the hood and loosen the retaining nut on the negative battery cable clamp.

Slide the clamp off of the negative battery terminal and wait 5 minutes.

Slide the clamp back over the negative battery terminal and tighten the retaining nut.

Verify that the Check Engine light has gone out on the instrument panel.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

  • 10mm socket

 How to Reset the Engine Light in a 2000 Ford Taurus

Pull the hood-release lever and turn off the engine. Make sure all electrical devices on the Taurus are switched off.

Lift the hood and use a socket wrench to remove the negative terminal of the battery.

Allow five minutes to pass for all systems to reset on the Ford Taurus.

Reconnect the negative terminal to the battery and place the keys into the ignition to check the "Check Engine" light. If it is still on, try once more. Close the hood when done.

Items you will need

  • Socket wrench

 How to Reset the Check Engine on a Ford Focus

Locate the diagnostic input jack. It is below the steering column, either in the center or right side of the dashboard panel.

Open the panel covering the input jack and plug in the scanner.

Turn on the scanner if it does not power up automatically.

Turn on the car's engine.

Observe the scanner's screen for the car's trouble codes.

Clear the trouble codes with the scanner, either one by one or all at once with a "clear" button (if available). Your "Check engine" light will turn off when these codes have been cleared.

Turn off and unplug the scanner and replace the input jack cover.

Items you will need

  • Onboard Diagnostic Code Scanner

About the Author

This article was written by the It Still Runs team, copy edited and fact checked through a multi-point auditing system, in efforts to ensure our readers only receive the best information. To submit your questions or ideas, or to simply learn more about It Still Runs, contact us.