How to Reset Your Car’s Computer

If you notice a problem with the electronics like a frozen touchscreen that also might not turn on, audio not working, or other problems with the electronics in your car and you want to know how to fix it, you might have to reset the computer in your car. This article and video has some tips on how to reset your car’s computer to fix electrical issues and some other ways you fix these problems.

Why Is My Touchscreen Frozen or Not Working and Why Is There No Audio? Why Are There Problems With the Electronics in My Car?

1A Auto mechanic Andy

Even if your car doesn’t have high-end electronics like TVs and a touchscreen, computers still control and work with many parts in the car like window switches and climate controls. Just like any computer, car computers, also known as electronic control units (ECU), can malfunction and cause glitches. In many cases you can reset the computer, but there are some other ways you might be able to fix electrical glitches.

How to Solve Problems with the Electronics in Your Car

Look for More than Engine Codes with an Advanced Scan Tool

If you have an advanced scan tool that can read more than engine codes, see if you notice other codes and record them. They may lead you to a specific cause.

Turn the Vehicle on and off

Start/stop button on car

Sometimes it’s easy to fix glitches by turning the vehicle on and off. Sometimes it’s as simple as the vehicle just needing to be restarted to get the electronics working normally.

Global Reset: Hard Reset the Car’s Computer

How to Reset the Computer in Your Car

Sometimes a global reset or hard reset is needed. This is a real procedure done at dealerships, and sometimes they’re done as a special policy. You can also find instructions for a hard or global reset in repair manuals.

Steps to reset the computer in your car

  1. Disconnect the Negative Battery Terminal for 15 Minutes to an Hour

    Disconnect the negative battery terminal. Leave it disconnected. This will drain the capacitors in the vehicle, which is needed to reset the car’s computer.

    For 2015 Models and Older, Touch the Positive Battery Terminal with the Negative Battery Terminal to Drain the Capacitors Faster

    On 2015 and older models, take the negative terminal and touch the positive battery terminal with it to drain the capacitors faster.

    If you have a vehicle with an auxiliary battery, which is one that would be in an OnStar module or another module throughout the vehicle, or if it’s a hybrid or electric car, you do not want to connect the terminals together.

    How Long Should I Leave the Battery Disconnected?

    If you’re not sure if you have an auxiliary battery, leave the negative battery terminal disconnected for 15 minutes up to an hour—the longer the better.

  2. Check the Battery Terminals for Corrosion and the Battery’s Condition

    Also, check the battery terminals for corrosion and clean the terminals if necessary. The condition of the battery is also crucial and it may need to be replaced.

    Read more about how to test the battery

    Read more about how to clean the battery terminals

  3. Tighten the Battery Terminals and Check for Looseness

    Reconnect and tighten the terminal. Shake the terminals and feel for looseness. Loose terminals can cause electrical problems.

  4. Drive As You Normally Would and Let the Vehicle Return to Its Normal Functions

    A global reset will reset the engine’s and transmission’s computer. Some adaptors will need to be relearned after the reset is completed. Driving may feel different from usual, but if you drive the car as normal as possible, the adaptors should relearn and the ride will feel normal again.

  5. Reset the Radio and Clock

    After the reset is complete, radio presets and the clock will need to be reset.

Learn how to reset the computer in your car yourself with quality auto parts and tips at

Learn How to Do More Than Reset the Computer in Your Car

Learn how to diagnose and replace parts on hundreds of models with our how-to videos. Our mechanics and tips will help you install and fix parts correctly on your own.

Read More Automotive Tips

Shop Parts

How to Reset Your Car's Computer - Reset the ECU - Expert Tips - 1A Auto
Article Name
How to Reset Your Car's Computer - Reset the ECU - Expert Tips - 1A Auto
This article covers how to reset your car's computer in a few simple steps. Learn of a few ways to check for electrical problems in your car, and fix them with these steps
Publisher Name
1A Auto
Publisher Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *