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How to Reset a Service Engine Light on a Ford

by Ryan Bauer

A "service engine soon" (SES) light is an easy way for your Ford's onboard computer system to bring potential engine problems or failing parts to your attention. However, once you have had the repair completed, the light may not reset itself automatically. To turn the light off, you must perform a manual reset of your Ford's computer system. This will force the computer to clear all error codes and return to a clean state.

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.

Tip

  • If the battery terminal wants to spring back into contact with the stud, you can use a piece of nonconductive material such as cardboard as a barrier.

Warning

  • Do not let the handle of the socket touch the positive battery terminal while removing the negative terminal. If the handle touches the positive terminal, it could result in a dangerous short circuit.

Items you will need

About the Author

Ryan Bauer is a freelance writer located in Ozark, Missouri. He has written numerous articles and books, including "How to Improve Your Credit Score 100 Points in 100 Days." Bauer is an experienced automotive mechanic and computer technician.

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