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How to Reset a Ford Explorer Computer

by Leigh Kelley

There are a variety of different reasons for having to reset the computer on a Ford Explorer. For example, when you add new equipment or replace engine components, you will need to reset the computer so it recognizes the new parts. Another reason is a check engine light staying on while you are driving. This is a sign that something is wrong with the engine in your Ford Explorer. Resetting the onboard computer will usually turn the light off temporarily.

Step 1

Open the hood: release the primary latch by pulling the release lever under the steering wheel near the floor board. Once this is done, you have to release the secondary latch by sliding your hand between the grill and the hood. Pull the latch toward you. Secure it with the safety bar.

Step 2

Disconnect the negative battery terminal. You will need to loosen the clamp screw using an adjustable wrench. When this is loosened, you can slide the clamp off of the battery post.

Step 3

Wrap the negative clamp in a towel. Set it down away from the battery post.

Step 4

Leave the negative battery cable off for a minimum of five minutes. This gives the onboard computer time to fully reset which will erase any trouble codes.

Step 5

Remove the towel from the negative battery cable clamp. Replace the negative battery clamp. Tighten the clamp screw.

Step 6

Close to hood after removing the security bar.

Start the engine. The check engine light should be off. If it is still on, there is a major problem. You will need to have a diagnostic test run as soon as possible. Many auto parts stores will do this for free.


  • Resetting the computer doesn't fix the problem that caused the check engine light to come on. Usually, after five starts, the light will come back on. You will need to have your vehicle serviced as soon as possible.
  • Once the computer is reset, you will have to set the clock and any radio settings you had stored.


  • In some areas, it is illegal to reset the computer without fixing the problem, especially if the problem is with the emissions system of your Explorer. If you live in one of these areas, such as California, fix the problems before resetting the computer.

Items you will need

  • Adjustable wrench
  • Towel

About the Author

Leigh Kelley is a freelance writer who provides SEO Web copy to industry leading companies. Her work has appeared in publications such as "Bullys Magazine" and "Jonesboro Sun." Kelley earned a bachelor's degree in English from Arkansas State University.

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