In this article, you will find all the necessary information about how to reset idle after replacing the battery of your vehicle.
First of all, we will determine what we mean by “idle relearn”, the causes of disconnecting or changing the battery, and, most importantly, how to make the car idle correctly.
Unfortunately, these problems are quite common in many cars. Fortunately, the solutions to these problems are straightforward so that you can get rid of them without any hassle.
So, without further ado, let’s find out why the engine is acting strangely and how to eliminate these problems.
What Is Idle Learn & Relearn
“Idle learn and relearn” refers to a necessary procedure when the car’s engine runs either too slow or too fast when idling.
It will often need an idle relearn procedure after disconnecting or changing the battery, but also if you replaced the electronic throttle body.
Regardless of the cause, the symptoms are almost always the same: the engine will barely idle or, in rarer cases, your car’s idle speed will be too high.
As you can imagine, when the speed is too low when idling, it happens quite often that the car dies when you wait at the traffic light.
This can be very irritating, but you should not be alarmed because the solutions are straightforward, they do not require the help of a specialist, and the best part is that it’s completely free!
You won’t need to purchase anything because, in fact, the car is excellent. It just needs to “relearn” something. We will talk more about this later.
Last but not least, the idle relearn procedure does not require any knowledge regarding the car’s technology. This is something that literally every driver can do.
Depending on the car, it only takes 5 to 10 minutes, or maybe a little more.
In one of the following sections, you will find a guide on how to do it yourself, but before that: let’s find out why your car’s idling is so bad after disconnecting the battery.
Why Do You Need To Reset Idle After Battery Replacement/Disconnect?
Here we are going to discuss the technical stuff, just for everyone’s understanding. In other words, why does the car need an idle reset exactly?
First, we must understand that idling issues do not only occur when we change the battery. They also appear when we disconnect it, but it depends a lot on the car model.
More and more cars on the market have an electronic throttle body, which optimizes the engine’s airflow. As you might imagine, the engine requires a different amount of air when it’s rolling at higher speeds than when it’s idling.
Normally, when the car is idling, the car’s computer sends a signal to this throttle body to readjust the airflow, depending on a few factors.
But since the battery has been disconnected, the connection between the car’s computer and the throttle body is practically lost or forgotten.
Luckily, the car’s computer is made to relearn to idle correctly. But for this, the car needs your help. Otherwise, the car computer might not be able to relearn, or it may take longer than it should.
Now, let’s talk about what you shouldn’t do if you’re dealing with low idling issues.
Reasons Why Your Car Won’t Idle Smoothly
So you’ve noticed that your car is not idling correctly. The car might be shaking, and the RPMs are most likely much too low.
At times, the car can even stall, which becomes a real problem when driving because there is a risk of confusing the other traffic participants.
However, you might have also noticed that the car is doing just fine when driving normally. The issues are only present when you are idle.
We recommend that you do not ignore the problem. Just because the car works properly when the engine is running at higher speeds does not mean the problem exists.
Another thing we do not recommend you do is to leave the car idle for a long time. This is not really going to harm your car or your engine in any way, but it is not the optimal way of doing the idle relearn procedure.
If you want your car to idle smoothly, there are several steps that you need to follow. Letting the car idle without helping it in any way will not help you much, so it will definitely take a lot more time.
On the other hand, applying the idle relearn procedure correctly might take you less than 10 minutes.
You can find the entire process in the following section.
Step-By-Step Guide for How to Reset Idle After Replacing Battery
The idle reset process requires no tools whatsoever, so literally, anybody could do this without a problem.
One last thing before we begin: this procedure should work on most cars. Some cars have other idle reset procedures. To find out what the manufacturer intended, check the car’s manual.
However, not every car model has this procedure in its manual, and some people don’t have their manual anymore, but you can still try applying these steps. They will likely work.
Step 1: Warming up the engine
I specified earlier that the car works most of the time perfectly, even when it encounters slow idling issues.
On the one hand, just driving normally will not get rid of the problem. Why? Because you want to make the car, relearn how much airflow the engine needs when idling, not when rolling at higher speeds.
Even so, the first step is warming up the engine just a little bit. To do this, all you have to do is drive around for 5 to 10 minutes.
Once you’re done, you’re ready for the next steps.
We should mention that this step is optional, but a warm engine will make it easier to get the relearn procedure done. Besides, you got nothing to lose!
Step 2: Starting the procedure
Before applying this step, make sure the car is stopped.
This is very important: take your foot off the brake pedal and pull the handbrake up.
Then turn the ignition key to the “ON” position, then turn it back off. Then turn the ignition key to the “ON” position a second time, and now you can finally start the car.
This is very specific, so make sure to get it right. It might sound very unnecessary. But instead of starting the car normally, turn the key exactly as we described earlier.
Before getting to the next step, put the car in Drive.
Step 3: Waiting
Now the car’s computer needs to do the relearning by itself. This could take 5, 10, maybe 20 minutes; just let it do its thing while keeping an eye on the RPMs.
You’ll notice that the RPM meter will show an increasing number, and that’s an excellent thing. It means that the engine is getting the correct amount of airflow.
Make sure the air conditioning, radio, and all other electronic devices are turned off. You don’t want to burden the engine and the battery even more.
Moreover, if you do forget the air conditioner on, the car’s computer may learn wrong, meaning that the whole procedure would be unsuccessful.
Step 4: Testing the idling speed
So, after only 5 minutes, the car should behave much better. It would be best if you didn’t experience the same shaking and, most importantly, your car shouldn’t stall all of a sudden.
If you think your car needs a little bit more time to relearn, let it do so, but it shouldn’t take more than 20 minutes.
Lastly, turn the AC on and see how well the car idles with it turned on.
Simple Idle Learn Procedure
The guide above does not have many steps, and you can follow them very easily anyway. However, if you need additional help, we recommend checking out the attached videos at the end of this article.
Although the steps are not very complicated, you must follow them exactly. If the idle relearn procedure didn’t work for you, make sure you turn the key as described in the guide.
There is also the possibility that the above procedure may not work on absolutely all cars.
In this case, we recommend that you check the car’s user manual, but if you do not have it at hand, you can search on Google.
You should find the right procedure if you are looking for “idle relearn + your car’s model and year.”
The above guide works especially on most Toyota and Lexus models, especially for the newer ones.
Usually, Ford cars require a different procedure. Here’s what it consists of:
- Pull the handbrake.
- Put the car in neutral or in Park Mode.
- Warm the engine up a bit.
- Let the engine idle for 5 minutes.
- Only then turn the air conditioner on.
- Repeat step 4.
- Put the car in Drive Mode.
- Repeat step 4.
As you can see, the procedure is somewhat different, mostly because it doesn’t require a specific motion of the ignition key. It goes to show that procedures differ depending on the car’s model and year.
How do you relearn idle?
The procedure is slightly different depending on the car’s model. However, for an idle reset procedure, you must wait for the car’s computer to reinvest how much airflow the engine needs when idling.
We recommend you check out our entire article on how to do an idle reset by yourself. Alternatively, check the car’s manual, although there’s a chance that the manual doesn’t contain an idle reset guide.
How long does it take for a car to relearn idle?
The amount of time it takes for a car to relearn idle can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle, as well as the specific conditions of the relearn process. In general, it can take anywhere from 10 minutes to several hours for a car to relearn idle.
During the relearn process, the vehicle’s computer will adjust the idle speed based on various factors, such as the engine load, air temperature, and humidity. The computer will continue to adjust the idle speed until it has learned the correct idle speed for the engine.
Factors that can affect the length of the relearn process include the complexity of the engine management system, the presence of any underlying issues that could be affecting the engine’s idle, and the specific conditions under which the relearn process is performed.
If the idle speed is not stable or fluctuates excessively after the relearn process, it may be necessary to repeat the process or address any underlying issues that could be affecting the engine’s idle.
Why is my car idling low after changing the battery?
In simple terms, the car’s computer loses its connection to the throttle body every time you disconnect your battery. In reality, several causes can lead to this situation, but the symptoms are the same.
Fortunately, the solutions are easy to implement and accessible to everyone. Read our entire article to find out how to make your car idle correctly after disconnecting the battery.
Will disconnecting battery reset idle?
Disconnecting the battery can sometimes reset the idle speed on a car, but it is not a guaranteed solution and should not be relied upon as the only means of resetting idle.
When the battery is disconnected, the engine management system may reset and revert to factory default settings, including the idle speed. This can sometimes result in a relearning process that can help to stabilize the idle speed.
However, disconnecting the battery can also erase important data and settings stored in the car’s computer, such as radio presets, navigation settings, and diagnostic trouble codes. Additionally, if there is an underlying issue that is causing the idle speed to be unstable, simply disconnecting the battery will not fix the problem.
Is idle reset necessary?
Resetting the idle speed on a car may be necessary for certain situations, such as when the engine management system has been reset, the throttle body has been cleaned, or there has been a component replaced that affects the idle speed. However, in most cases, resetting the idle speed is not necessary and should not be performed unless there is a specific reason to do so.
The idle speed is an important aspect of engine performance and is set by the vehicle’s computer to ensure proper operation of the engine at idle. If the idle speed is too high or too low, it can affect the engine’s performance, fuel efficiency, and emissions.
If you are experiencing issues with the idle speed on your car, such as rough idle, stalling, or fluctuating idle speed, it is recommended to have the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic or technician. They can diagnose the issue and recommend the appropriate course of action to reset or stabilize the idle speed, which may include performing a relearning process or addressing any underlying issues that could be affecting the engine’s idle.
Applying the idle learn/relearn procedure is incredibly easier, but the only issue is that different cars might need slightly different procedures.
However, we are sure that our article was helpful to you and that your car is now able to idle correctly.
The best part about these solutions is that they are completely free and do not require a mechanic or specialist. Thus, you can solve the problem on your own, in your own garage.