The engine control unit, or ECU, is a critical component which links your engine to the central computer of your vehicle. The ECU manages most of the functions of the engine, based on the information it receives from other systems and electronic components within the vehicle. If the ECU were to become damaged or faulty, then it could spell trouble for the entire engine because it would not be managed properly. If the engine is not managed properly, then it is not going to operate properly and then your car won’t work properly. You see how it all links together?
The Top 5 Symptoms of a Bad Car Engine ECU
If you have a bad engine control unit in your vehicle, the symptoms will become more than obvious. But it is important that you recognize these symptoms as they arise, so you can do something about it right away.
Below are the top 5 symptoms of a bad engine control unit in a vehicle.
- Bad Engine Performance – A big symptom that you will notice from a bad engine control unit is a bad engine performance. Your engine will start to have bad timing and it won’t get power as efficiently as it used to from the internal combustion process. This will ultimately affect your ability to accelerate the vehicle as you step on the gas pedal. If you notice any kind of acceleration issues, then it could be because of a bad engine control unit.
- Engine Stalling – Along with a weak engine performance, you could actually experience the engine misfiring or at least stalling a lot. This doesn’t necessarily mean anything is wrong with the engine itself, but it does mean there could be a malfunction taking place with the engine control unit. The engine stalling will likely be inconsistent, so it may stall sometimes and then clear up at other times. But even if you experience it one time, you should do something about it right away.
- Bad Fuel Economy – When the engine control unit is glitchy, the engine might not always know the right amount of fuel to burn during the internal combustion process. Often times, it will start burning more fuel than usual just to sustain its normal driving needs. This will drive down the vehicle’s fuel economy, which means you’ll be paying more money at the gas pump.
- Warning Light – The first and most obvious indication of a possible engine control unit issue is when the engine warning light illuminates on your dashboard. This warning light could mean any number of possible issues with the engine. If you’re lucky, it will only mean the engine control unit is in trouble and not the entire engine itself.
- Car Won’t Start – If your car simply does not start and you can’t figure out why, then it may be because the engine control unit has gone bad or stopped functioning completely. You may still get your engine to crank but that’s all it will do. If the engine control unit is not working, then it won’t be able to send electronic input to the engine.
The Average Replacement Cost
If you know for sure that your engine control module is not working properly, then you will need to replace it if you want to keep your car engine functional. The replacement cost of the engine control module starts at $450, but could go up as high as $1750. The exact cost will depend on the make and model of your vehicle. The parts expense will cost the most as they’re priced anywhere from $750 to $2,750. The labor costs will only be between $90 and $200. So, even if you find an inexpensive auto shop to perform the replacement job, you will still need to spend a great deal of money on the engine control module itself.