How Do You Complete A Ford Drive Cycle? [Step By Step Guide]

Ford’s drive cycle consists of tests confirming that the vehicle’s computer system works correctly. But you must follow specific guidelines to complete it.

So, how do you complete a Ford drive cycle?

To complete a Ford drive cycle test, drive at 64 km/h until the engine temperature reaches 76.7° C. Keep driving for up to 4 minutes, then drive at 72–104 km/h for 10 minutes. After that, drive in stop-and-go traffic for 10 minutes. Then, considerably from a complete stop, accelerate to 72 km/h. When done, idle for 2 minutes in drive, cruise at 80 km/h for 15 seconds, and repeat five times. Accelerate from a stop to 104 km/h and decelerate to 64 km/h three times to finish the process.

But that’s a generalized and shortened version of it. We will cover the detailed step-by-step guide later in the article.

How Do You Complete A Ford Drive Cycle

What is the Ford Drive Cycle?

Ford drive cycles consist of one or two trips, allowing the powertrain control module (PCM) to trigger the monitoring systems into readiness states and retrieve diagnostic data. A drive cycle also enables the PCM to test all monitoring systems to see if the previously reported fault(s) have been resolved.

A drive cycle must be completed to pass the emissions test, also known as the smog test. Also, you can check the condition of the components in your Ford by completing the drive cycle.

How Do You Complete A Ford Drive Cycle?

The process to complete the Ford drive cycle is very simple. However, you must pay attention to even a tiny detail; every step has to be executed perfectly.

Below we have described the detailed Ford drive cycle procedure:

Precautions To Take Before Completing Drive Cycle For Ford

  • Driving with a steady foot and avoiding sudden speed changes is better. 
  • It’s also recommended to have the fuel tank between 1/2 and 3/4 full. 
  • The Evaporative Monitor only works in the first 30 minutes of driving, so driving smoothly is essential to avoid fuel sloshing. 
  • The EVAP monitor cannot run if the temperature is below 40 or above 100° Fahrenheit or the altitude is above 2438 meters (8000 feet). 
  • In case you need to clear the P1000 code under these conditions, the PCM must detect the temperature or altitude once or twice before the EVAP monitor can be bypassed and the P1000 code cleared. To bypass the EVAP monitor, you need to follow a specific drive cycle, which will be described shortly.
  • Always follow the speed limits and drive safely. 
  • To get the best results, follow the steps in the drive cycle as accurately as possible.


Install a scan tool, a device used to diagnose and monitor a vehicle’s performance. Turn the key on with the engine off, then cycle the key off and on again. Select the appropriate vehicle and engine settings. Clear all diagnostic trouble codes (DTCs) and perform a powertrain control module (PCM) reset. This will bypass the engine soak timer and reset the OBDII monitor status.

Monitor the following parameters: engine coolant temperature (ECT), evaporative system purge status (EVAPDC), fuel level input (FLI) if available, and throttle position (TP) mode.

Start the vehicle without turning the key off. Idle the car for 15 seconds, then drive at a speed of 64 km/h (40 mph) until the ECT reaches at least 76.7° C (170° F).

Ford Drive Cycle Procedure: 12 Steps To Follow

  1. Start the car and idle for 15 seconds.
  2. Drive at 64 km/h (40 MPH) until the engine temperature is at least 76.7° C (170° F).
  3. Continue driving at 64 km/h (40 MPH) for up to 4 minutes to execute the HEGO monitor.
  4. Drive at 72 to 104 km/h (45 to 65 MPH) for 10 minutes to execute the EVAP monitor.
  5. Drive in stop-and-go traffic with five different constant cruise speeds from 40 to 72 km/h (25 to 45 MPH) for 10 minutes to execute the Catalyst monitor.
  6. Accelerate from a stop to 72 km/h (45 MPH) at 1/2 to 3/4 throttle and repeat three times to execute the EGR monitor.
  7. Idle for 2 minutes in the drive (neutral for manual) to execute the ISC portion of the CCM.
  8. Accelerate to 80 km/h (50 MPH) and cruise for at least 15 seconds. Repeat this step five times for the transmission portion of the CCM.
  9. Accelerate from a stop to 104 km/h (65 MPH) and decelerate to 64 km/h (40 MPH) three times to allow learning for the misfire monitor.
  10. Check the OBDII monitor status on the scan tool to determine if any monitor has not completed.
  11. Check for any pending codes and conduct routine repair procedures. 
  12. To bypass the EVAP monitor, park the vehicle for at least 8 hours, then repeat steps 2 through 12.
Ford Drive Cycle Procedure Infograph

How to Complete the Drive Cycle Without Driving?

It is only possible to complete a drive cycle by driving. The drive cycle is designed to simulate real-world driving conditions. Simply idling the vehicle or running it on a dynamometer will not complete the necessary requirements for emissions testing.

During the drive cycle, the vehicle’s engine and emissions control system will undergo tests to ensure the emissions are within acceptable levels. This includes monitoring the engine’s performance, exhaust gas recirculation system, and catalytic converter to ensure they function correctly.

Tips to Complete Ford Drive Cycle in One Go

Failure to comply with the instructions will reset the OBD-II system, making you start over. To avoid frustration, here are some tips for completing the drive cycle the first time:

  1. Keep your Ford owner’s manual: Review your car’s owner manual to understand your vehicle’s specific drive cycle requirements. This can help you understand the driving conditions and speeds required for the test.
  2. Keep a steady speed: During the test, you must maintain a steady speed as much as possible. Avoid sudden accelerations or decelerations, as this can interfere with the monitoring process.
  3. Keep the engine on: To complete the test, you must keep the engine on during the entire process. Turning off the engine or stopping the car during the test can reset the OBD system, and you will probably have to start over.
  4. Keep enough time in hand: Don’t rush through the test. The Ford drive cycle can take up to 30 minutes to complete, and the preparation for it may even take hours. So, ensure you have enough time to complete the test in one go.
  5. Keep a scan tool: A scan tool can help you determine if the drive cycle is complete. 

Why is the Ford Drive Cycle Important?

Every Ford owner, or every automobile owner, must complete a drive cycle at least once. It has several uses and is very important to the life cycle of your vehicle.

Passing the smog test

The smog test is essential for many states to ensure that vehicles are not emitting excessive amounts of pollutants into the atmosphere. The Ford drive cycle is designed to help the vehicle’s emissions control system properly function, ensuring that the vehicle passes the smog test.

Checking the health of your vehicle’s components

The Ford drive cycle can help to identify issues with various components of the vehicle, especially the emissions control system (O2 sensor, EGR, EVAP, etc.). By completing the drive cycle, you can better understand any potential problems that need to be addressed.

Determining if any DTCs were cleared without solving the issue

If any DTCs were cleared without solving the problem, you could detect it by performing a drive cycle. This is particularly useful when buying a second-hand car.

Getting the new battery or the PCM up-to-date with the vehicle

After you replace the battery or reprogram the PCM, the Ford drive cycle can help ensure that these components are correctly re-integrated with the vehicle’s systems. 

Can You Use Ford Drive Cycle to Clear Codes?

The Ford OBDII drive cycle can clear a certain DTC, the P1000 code, which indicates that the onboard computer has not completed its self-diagnostic testing.

You can clear the Ford P1000 code with a drive cycle by completing specific driving conditions allowing the vehicle’s onboard computer to perform self-diagnostic tests. Upon completion, the Ford drive cycle resets the P1000 code, which should be cleared from the vehicle’s onboard computer.

It would be best if you kept in mind that not all DTCs can be cleared through the Ford drive cycle.

How Long Is A Drive Cycle for Ford?

The actual driving portion of the Ford drive cycle only takes about 20 minutes, with the entire test lasting around 30 minutes, so keep at least eight hours at hand.  However, preparation can take several hours, so allow at least eight hours. Also, if you need to bypass the EVAP monitor, park the car overnight.

It’s worth noting that the length and complexity of a drive cycle test can vary depending on the specific make and model of the Ford vehicle. For example, the Ford 6.7 diesel drive cycle may differ slightly from gas engines. 

How To Tell If Drive Cycle Is Complete?

After following all the steps precisely, you will have to run another diagnostic using the OBD-II scanner. If the diagnostic is perfect, then that indicates that the drive cycle is complete.

However, if there is the P1000 code, the diagnostics must still be completed as they were supposed to. When that happens, you may need to perform the drive cycle again, this time being more cautious.

If the “check engine light” is on after completing the drive cycle, take your vehicle to a mechanic. This means the OBD-II system has found a fault in one or more components.


So, how do you complete a Ford drive cycle? You now know the answer to that question. 

By completing the drive cycle, any potential issues with the vehicle’s emissions-related components can be identified and addressed. Completing the drive cycle also ensures that the vehicle meets emissions standards and runs efficiently.

But following the specific steps to complete the drive cycle is crucial. You can even refer to the vehicle’s owner’s manual or consult a Ford dealership for guidance on completing the drive cycle for a specific model and year. 

Last Updated on April 17, 2024 by Rifen

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