The car’s ECU is responsible for controlling all the different sensors and solenoids in the engine. “ECU” stands for Electronic Control Unit, also known as the Engine Control Module or “ECM”. The main job of the ECU is to keep the engine running smoothly by controlling the fuel flow into the cylinders. In any case where the ECU malfunctions, the engine control unit will not operate properly, causing a problem in your engine or, in the worst-case scenario, cutting out the engine while you’re driving. How can you tell if your ECU is bad? The following indicators can help you identify a bad electronic control unit:
Check Engine Light
When your car’s ECU is faulty, the first indication you should notice is the “Check Engine Light” alert displayed on your dashboard. Several factors can cause the “Check Engine Light” to illuminate but one of the most common causes is a malfunction in the ECU.
The Engine Stalls
Another way you can also tell if there’s an issue with the ECU is if it suddenly stalls or misfires. This issue arises because of the malfunctioning ECU sending incorrect data to the engine, which may result in the delivery of excessive fuel and air to the combustion chamber. While the engine is running, the vehicle’s performance will deteriorate and the problem will eventually worsen.
Poor Fuel Economy
Failure of the engine control module can end up preventing proper fuel flow, which negatively impacts the combustion. This causes your car to consume more petrol, costing you more money at the gas station, and harming the environment by having more fuel burnt than needed.
Car Performance Declines
When the ECU malfunctions, an insufficient amount of fuel is sent to the combustion chamber which will affect your vehicle’s performance. This results in your car not accelerating as quickly as it once used to when stepping on the gas. You can also feel your vehicle shaking and vibrating with the extra weight.
Can’t Start Your Car
Failure to start the car is the worst possible outcome of a failed ECU. You might find it hard to start your car at first but eventually, it won’t even want to start. Should the engine’s ECU stop functioning, there won’t be a computer system in place to guide or control everything to work as the motor can’t run without signals.
If your car has similar problems to the ones listed above, you might have a case of a bad ECU. You should give a certified auto technician a call to get your vehicle inspected before things get any worse.
How Much Should You Pay for ECU Repairs?
Repairing an ECU can be quite pricey. Depending on the type of car you drive, the price of the component alone is estimated to be around $300 with varying additional costs that are reliant on the difficulty of having it installed. Fortunately, it can often be repaired or reprogrammed rather than having the entire ECU replaced. If you need to have it changed, you can anticipate spending roughly $500-$600 on labour for both the installation and programming of the new ECU.
That said, the more technologically advanced and sophisticated a vehicle is, the more you will need to pay up. It also goes without saying that the cost of an ECU for a luxury car brand will be significantly more than that of an economy car.
How To Prevent ECU Breakdown?
ECUs are standardized in most modern automobiles. As they continue to take up more and more of a car’s function, they will become increasingly vital in the long-term sustainability of ECU-based vehicles. The last thing a car owner would want is a malfunctioning ECU. To ensure that doesn’t happen to you, here are some ways to prevent your ECU from breaking down.
Regular Maintenance Is Essential
Follow the recommended service schedule to keep your car in tip-top shape. Traditionally, automobiles have been built to last for a very long time while providing reliable service but the advent of ECU-based automobiles has since caused a shift within the industry. Luxury cars need a lot of care, including regular maintenance and the replacement of worn or broken parts. Without appropriate care or surveillance over these cars, you’ll be looking at problems that go beyond just the ECU.
Don’t Drive Recklessly
Vehicles designed for the roads are refined and efficient in their machinery. Be sure to drive at the optimal speed without going too slow or quick. While you can drive your car like you’re on a racing track, doing so might reduce its lifespan and leave it susceptible to major problems. Proper driving is one approach to increasing the longevity of an ECU-based vehicle’s service life.
Maintain Vehicle’s Normal Fluid Levels
A car’s brake fluid, automatic transmission fluid, and the radiator water level should all be kept at the recommended levels throughout its lifetime. For instance, the engine control unit and sensors won’t overheat when the radiator is full of water or coolant. If the levels are close to empty, your car engine is left exposed to constant heat without anything to help with cooling, which could lead to potential damage within the engine.
By following these tips, you can keep yourself vigilant and prevent ECU breakdowns to keep your car running smoothly and preserve its service life.
Maserati and Ferrari are two of the most prestigious supercar brands in the world and are also the best in luxury and speed. What makes these cars unique is partly due to the engineering that goes into them. With highly tuned engines, calibration must be precise with minimal room for error. For supercars like these, ECU tuning is necessary. Euroauto Garage offers meticulous ECU tuning for supercars such as Lamborghini, Mclaren, Bentley, Maserati and Ferrari, as well as transmission tuning to bring out the full potential of your exotic car’s engine. Our experts can fine-tune everything according to your specifications down to the very last detail.