Ford F-150/F-250: How to Reset Adaptive Memory

Your adaptive memory in your Ford F-150 or Super Duty learns your engine performance, then adjusts to ensure your engine is running at top performance.

By Marc Carter - November 12, 2014

This article applies to the Ford F-150 (2004-2014) and the F-250, F-350 Super Duty (2005-2014).

Your truck's Adaptive Memory is a "learned value" that your Powertrain Control Monitor (PCM) has memorized from your driving habits and engine's idle pattern. The PCM is essentially the brain of your engine's control system that controls more than 100 different factors, like air fuel ratios and ignition timing for your engine.

The PCM is a smart system that over time learns how your F-150 or Super Duty truck is driven, and it constantly adjusts other components in your engine to make sure that your truck's powertrain is performing at its best. For example, if you are an aggressive driver, the system will adapt the transmission to allow for more aggressive driving, or if you use poor quality fuel it will adjust your truck's timing and idle speed to adapt to the poor fuel. Now what happens if you switch to a higher quality gas or a new less aggressive driver takes ownership of the truck? Well you will want to reset your PCM to make sure it forgets its previous "learned" settings. You'll also want to reset your truck's PCM when you replace defective parts.


  • Wrench
  • Sockets

Step 1 - Disconnect your truck's battery

Figure 1. Disconnect the negative cable of the battery.

Open your hood and remove the negative cable from your truck's battery.

Step 2 - Turn on your truck's headlights

Figure 2. Turn on truck's headlight.

Turn on your truck's headlights to fully drain any reserved power.

Step 3 - Wait 20-30 minutes

Figure 3. Wait 30 minutes.

Wait approximately 30 minutes for your PCM to reset.

Step 4 - Reconnect your battery and turn on the ignition

Figure 4. Connect the battery and turn on the key.

Reconnect the negative battery cable, and then turn the key on and wait 10 seconds before restarting your truck. You want to wait at least 10 seconds with the key in the "on" position before starting the engine, so that the system can "learn" the powertrain's stop value.

Step 5 - Let it idle

Figure 5. Let it idle.

Start the truck and let it idle for 5-10 minutes so that the system can learn the engine's idle values. Make sure all accessories are off like the A/C and wipers.

Step 6 - Test drive

Figure 6. Go for a test drive.

Take a test drive with a light acceleration so your truck can learn all of the shift points. For the first few days after you reset the PCM, try not to drive too aggressively so the system has time to learn the transmission's shift points properly.

Featured Video: How to Reset Adaptive Memory in Ford F-150/F-250 Truck

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