How To Reset The Oil Light On The Ford Explorer

You are happily driving your Ford Explorer, enjoying the music, and suddenly the oil change light goes on? What does it mean when the oil change light goes on in your car? Are you going to just ignore it, or can you turn it off? What is the right way to deal with the oil change light, also known as the maintenance light? 

Modern vehicles have several indicator lights that go on and attract the driver’s attention for various things. The oil change light is one of these. This indicator light lets a driver or owner know when the engine oil must be changed. This depends on the odometer reading of the car. 

Once the oil change light turns on, it does not turn off on its own even after changing the old oil with fresh oil. This is why you need to reset the oil change light. 

How Important Is An Oil Change?

If you want your Ford Explorer to function effectively and efficiently for a long time, then regular oil changes are necessary. Earlier, people just wrote down the mileage and date when they changed the oil on a piece of paper and kept checking it from time to time. Some service centers also attached the date and mileage informed under the sun visor. 

In the 1950s, some vehicles began carrying basic oil change lights, and it was only in 1988 that General Motors came out with the first modern oil change lights connected to the odometer of the vehicle. 

Even now, not all cars have the oil change light, but most of the new Ford Explorer models have this feature. Oil change light resetting becomes necessary because of two main reasons

  • Unless you reset the light, there is no way to find the next oil change schedule
  • If the light is on constantly, it can become a distraction while driving

Oil Change Reset Light

The Ford Explorer has been around since the early 90s, and now we have the 6th generation of explorers. You will see the oil change needed in most Ford Explorer models. It is a good SUV with a large cargo hold and several safety features. 

The Ford Explorer is a versatile vehicle and is equally good at off-roading and luxury traveling. This is why it is essential to change the oil regularly and keep the vehicle going smoothly. 

It is recommended to change the oil and the filter in a Ford Explorer every 3 to 5 thousand miles. However, it is best to go as per the specific instructions for each model given by the Ford Company. 

How To Reset The Oil Light On The Ford Explorer 

Here is how the oil change light can be reset on some of the most popular Ford Explorer models.  

Ford Explorer Models: 2020-2022

  1. Select ‘settings’ by using the directional pad on the steering wheel (left side)
  2. Choose ‘oil life’
  3. Press and hold the ‘ok’ button

Ford Explorer Models: 2016-2019 

  1. Select ‘settings’ by using the directional pad on the steering wheel
  2. Select ‘vehicle’
  3. Choose ‘oil life reset’
  4. Press and hold ‘ok’

Ford Explorer Models: 2011-2015

When the oil life is 10% or less, these models show a message for ‘oil change soon and ‘oil change required’ when the oil life is zero.  

  1. Select ‘settings’ from the directional pad on the steering wheel
  2. Select ‘convenience’
  3. Choose ‘oil life reset’
  4. Press the ‘ok’ button

Ford Explorer Models: 2002-2010

  1. Switch on the ignition but do not start the engine
  2. On the instrument panel, press the Select/Reset button until the ‘hold reset for setup menu’ option is visible
  3. Press and hold ‘select or reset’ for a few seconds until the ‘hold reset if new oil’ option appears
  4. Press ‘reset’ until the message ‘oil life set to 100%’ appears

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Why does the oil change light even after the oil changes? 

A. This could be due to some issue with the oil pump. There may be insufficient oil circulating through the parts. Regular oil changes can prevent this, but sometimes the parts do wear out and cause a problem. 

Q. How long can it take for the oil light to go off after the oil change? 

A. Sometimes, the light may go off on its own, but many times it doesn’t. After about 500 to 600 miles of driving, it is a problem if the oil change light is still flashing. It is best to take the vehicle to a garage and get it checked. If you ignore the issue, it can lead to serious mechanical damage. 

Q. How safe is it to drive with the oil change light on? 

A. All manufacturers recommend that you do not drive with the oil change light on, which may lead to serious damage. If possible, pull the vehicle to the side and get an oil inspection. If you have already changed the oil and the light is still flashing, then you can drive safely and reset the oil change light on your own once you reach your destination. 


Modern vehicles have advanced technology and are full of marvelous features. These features are immensely useful, but if you are not aware of these features fully, they may seem cumbersome. 

Many people have a habit of turning off the oil change light the minute it starts flashing. This can turn into a much bigger problem if ignored for long. Earlier, the vehicles needed an oil change after every 3000 to 5000 miles, but not anymore. 

Modern technology has made it possible for car owners to go up to 10000 miles before carrying out oil changes. The Ford Explorer is no exception, and the newer models don’t require frequent oil changes. 

Even if you do not drive your vehicle much, changing oil at least twice every year is advisable. The oil tends to degrade with age and settles down without use. Ignoring early warning signs can lead to bigger problems. Learn to reset the oil change light in your Ford Explorer and always drive safely. 

Liam Dare

As CEO of, my passion for the automotive world motivates me to build online businesses that provide information and entertainment to users. I am proud to contribute in a positive way to the automotive community.