Volkswagen Computer Reset (Step By Step Guide!)

volkswagen computer reset

Volkswagen ECUs are often regarded as foolproof or infallible, but sometimes they falter and need to be reset. Whether you are a first-time Volkswagen owner or simply need a refresher, here is everything you need to know about resetting a Volkswagen computer.

Volkswagen Computer Reset Step By Step Guide

You can reset a Volkswagen computer either by using an OBD 2 Scanner or by disconnecting the car battery or using the fuse box.

Follow these steps to reset the computer/ECU on your Volkswagen:

Using an OBD 2 Scanner 

  • Plug the OBD 2 scanner into your car’s diagnostic port, located below the steering wheel on the left-hand side.
  • Turn on your car’s ignition once you’ve connected the scan tool.
  • Press the power button if the OBD2 scanner doesn’t come on automatically.
  • Proceed to press ‘reset’ on the scan tool, which will reset your car’s computer.

By disconnecting the car battery 

  • Start by locating your car’s battery in front of the vehicle for most Volkswagen vehicles. Once you’ve found your car’s battery, identify both the positive and negative terminals. Use a can of baking soda or spray-on cleaner to eliminate any traces of corrosion on the car battery. Proceed to use a wrench or screwdriver to disconnect both terminals. Using a terminal cleaning tool, ensure that you clean the positive and negative terminals properly. This will ensure a good connection once you are done resetting the car’s computer. Most experts recommend using a wire-brush type of tool over a reamer. Using the latter increases the risk of creating a loose link.
  • Wait for about 15 minutes and then touch both battery cables together and hold for about 10 seconds. After shorting the positive and negative cables, proceed to bind them using an insulating tape or cable.
  • Wait for about five minutes for your car’s diagnostic information to be cleared. Once five minutes have elapsed, reconnect the positive cable first and then the negative cable. If you’d like to program your car’s radio or security codes, the manufacturer’s directions on the owner’s manual will guide you.
  • Stick your car key in the ignition and turn it to ‘ON’ but do not start it. Leave your car in this position for about 30 seconds. This is meant to help the newly reset computer learn about some of your car’s drivability procedures and components. You can also opt to drive your car for about 20 minutes for it to learn about these components and procedures.

Using the fuse box 

  • Drive your car for about 15 minutes to warm it up to normal operating temperature.
  • Stop the car, open the hood, unplug all fuses, and disconnect the battery.
  • Wait for about five minutes for all data to be erased, then depress the brakes for about 20 seconds to discharge the capacitors via the brake lights.
  • Reconnect the fuses and the battery and close the hood.
  • You should leave your car for about 10 minutes to allow your car’s computer to learn the new modifications and procedures you’ve mounted.

Is Computer Resetting Same on Volkswagen Tiguan, Jetta, GTI, Polo, and Passat? 

The procedure of computer resetting may vary depending on the make, model, and year of your vehicle. Therefore, it is best to consult your owner’s manual or to reach out to a professional mechanic before attempting to reset your car’s computer.

Generally, it would help if you rested your car’s computer after replacing the battery, knock sensor, and fuel filter.

You can also opt to reset your car’s computer once work is completed on your car’s diagnostics and air conditioning. Additionally, experts recommend that you drive your car for about 30 minutes after resetting the computer. This is done to educate the newly reset computer of your driving style.

Why Do I Need to Reset My Volkswagen Computer? 

To delete diagnostic trouble:

Every time the check engine light comes on, the chances are that your car is experiencing an electrical problem. Therefore, you need to ensure that you reset your Volkswagen computer before performing any replacements to ensure that they’re necessary.

However, it’s worth noting that resetting your Volkswagen computer won’t necessarily solve the electrical problems the check engine light is indicating. It would help if you only considered erasing diagnostic trouble once you’ve tested and repaired the electrical problem.

To clear error codes: 

Resetting your Volkswagen computer will help clear all radio error codes your car may be experiencing and reset the check engine light. You can also reset your Volkswagen computer to clear OBD 2 fault codes and engine codes.

To improve your car’s drivability procedures: 

Since your Volkswagen computer keeps track of your car’s tolerance changes inside the engine sensors and actuators, you can reset it to improve drivability. Once you reset your Volkswagen computer, your car will likely become more powerful, efficient, safe, flexible, and economical on the road. After resetting your car’s computer, you’ll no longer experience engine misfires, and your car will operate smoothly.

How Long Does It Take For a Volkswagen Computer to Reset? 

It may take up to 100 miles (160.93km) for their computer systems to completely reset. But it depend on the vehicle’s year, make, and model

After resetting your Volkswagen computer, you need to drive your car gently for about 10 miles (16 km) for it to adapt to your driving style. The check engine light may appear again on your dashboard if you exceed this distance.

What Happens After Resetting the Volkswagen Computer? 

The electronic radio and clock’s channel settings will be erased 

This can be a nuisance, especially for those who love listening to the radio while driving. You can resolve this issue by resetting time and all radio stations of your choice.

Forgetting learned shift points 

Once you reset your Volkswagen computer, it will erase the Power-train Control Module’s adaptive memory and affect how your car’s transmission sounds and changes. The PCM will take some time to relearn your driving style and procedures for the transmission to feel normal again. This can take up to 75 miles (120.7 km)

The climate control module will reset 

Resetting your Volkswagen computer translates to a reset in the climate control module of some cars. This means that you may not have air conditioning in your car until you get a professional and certified mechanic to perform a reprogramming and relearning procedure using the appropriate commands.

Forgetting the anti-theft system 

Resetting your Volkswagen computer may have you locked out of your vehicle. Once the anti-theft system settings are forgotten, the device will respond as if someone is trying to steal your car. This means that the car’s engine will be able to start.

The only way to fix this issue is by performing a reprogramming procedure using a scan tool for your Volkswagen computer to relearn these anti-theft system settings.

Forgetting the car’s fuel/air mixture 

After resetting your Volkswagen computer, the fuel/air mixture will be too rich, and you’ll likely experience a weak engine performance and poor fuel efficiency. It can take up to 100 miles (160.93km) for your engine to perform normally again.

2 thoughts on “Volkswagen Computer Reset (Step By Step Guide!)

  1. Hi. I read your article “Volkswagen Computer Reset”. It’s very informative.

    I like know if you know a brand of OBD2 scanner that is suitable for VW Polo. It will come in handy since my car doesn’t start sometimes, and its computer needs to be reset.


    1. I recommend Autel OBD2 scanners. Autel’s models, such as the AutoLink AL319, provide essential diagnostic functions like reading and clearing trouble codes. While it may lack advanced features, it’s reliable for routine diagnostics and resets. Ensure compatibility with your Volkswagen’s model year before purchase.

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