Posted in: ECU

5 Signs It’s Time To Replace Your Engine Control Unit

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You probably don’t realize it, but you are riding around with some fairly sophisticated computer equipment when you drive your vehicle. The mechanical actuators of the past that required constant tinkering to keep them correctly running are gone. In their place are modern computers, reading sensors and making environmental adjustments automatically. You have been hearing a lot about the Internet of Things (IoT), the next big buzzword keeping the technology world so excited. But, your car has been operating in the IoT realm for at least the last four decades! And, at the center of it all is the brain of your vehicle’s computer: the engine control unit (ECU).


You may have heard the ECU referred to as the electronic control module (ECM) or powertrain control unit (PCU). These are just different names for similar devices on cars that are responsible for reading and acting on sensors distributed throughout the engine and transmission. In the ordinary course of a leisurely drive in the country, you never even know these advanced devices exist. When they are working, everything is going on behind the scenes. Readings from various sensors are coming thousands of times a minute. The computer uses them to make sure your car is shifting correctly, running its best and getting maximum fuel efficiency. It is a fantastic feat of technology.


When something goes wrong in the system, you will surely know about it. Your vehicle’s ECU is essential to the proper operation of your car. If it malfunctions, you won’t be going very much further. You may want to check your engine control unit before it’s too late if you find yourself asking any of the following questions.


  1. What happened to my smooth ride?

A common symptom of a bad ECU is poor engine performance in the form of sputtering, jerking and rough idling. Part of the ECU’s job is to interpret signals from the Massive Air Flow (MAF) and Massive Air Pressure (MAP) sensors. These two sensors work together to make sure ECU knows what ratio of air and fuel mixture to send to the combustion chamber. If the engine control unit gets out of whack, faulty mixture signals can cause your engine to run rough or even stall out. Some drivers have described it as being similar to having water in the gas tank.


  1. Why is everybody passing me?

The next thing that suffers when your ECU is failing is performance. You will notice a significant lack of pep in your car’s engine when you try to take off from a traffic light. Getting on the freeway can become a nightmare as your car’s engine struggles to keep up with the other vehicles on the road. Again, faulty fuel mixing signals along with possibly mistimed sparking signals can cause your engine to behave this way. If it is the ECU, to fix the problem, you will have to replace the unit.


  1. Where is all my gas going?

If you start noticing your gas gauge moving a lot faster than it used to, you may have a faulty ECU. Fuel efficiency is one of the primary reasons car manufacturers moved into using electronics to control vehicle engines. When the ECU is working correctly, nothing designed so far can outperform it on boosting a car’s gas mileage. However, when something goes wrong, you will find yourself in the middle of a personal gas crisis as even short trips will drain your tank.


  1. How am I getting home?

Since the ECU controls the engine timing in your car, one symptom of it failing can be a failure to start. Imagine, arriving at the mall across town to do some light shopping. After a couple of hours of crass consumerism, people watching and food court debauchery, you are ready to cruise home and check out the big game for a while. You hop in your trusty ride, turn the key, the engine turns over but…nothing. If it doesn’t start after multiple attempts, it might be a malfunctioning ECU. You may want to call a cab.


  1. Who can tell me why my Check Engine Light is lit?

The often-ignored Check Engine dashboard light could be trying to tell you that your ECU is starting to fail. It is probably best if you don’t ignore it (unless you enjoy those cab rides home from the mall). While the Check Engine light might come on to warn of any number of adverse conditions with your car, a bad ECU is one of the primary reasons it illuminates. A surer indication of an engine control unit problem is a blinking Check Engine light. Get to an auto parts store that loans OBD-II scanners or to a mechanic with a diagnostics computer to find out what’s going on with your car. If you wait too long, you might have to have it towed in to find out the problem.


Modern Tradeoffs


When working correctly, the electronics in your car’s engine help it to run better, save gas and reduce pollution. When the computer starts going out, just the opposite case is true. Your car can suddenly become a sluggish, gas-guzzling smokestack. Before the advent of auto electronics, cars had to visit the mechanic shop regularly for tune-ups and carburetor adjustments to keep running. Computer equipment makes much of that type of routine maintenance obsolete. The system is self-adjusting and regulating. Pretty amazing, again, when it is working right.


When things go wrong with your car’s electronics, as they sometimes do, you can have a nightmare trying to find and fix the problem. Once you get the disorder diagnosed, you then need to find the correct replacement part. That’s where Importapart.com comes on the scene. Importapart.com specializes in every brand and type of used part available on the planet. The experts at Importapart.com can help you find the right ECU to get your vehicle fixed and back to running as it should. Don’t take a chance on finding the right parts for your car or truck; trust the professional parts people at Importapart.com.