5 Biggest Warning Signs of a Problem with Your ECU
The engine control unit (ECU) is a built-in computer that manages a wide range of systems and functions in your vehicle. Based on the information it receives from sensors, chips, and components within the vehicle, the ECU is able to ensure that your car performs with optimal power, efficiency and fuel economy.
A problem with your ECU could spell trouble for your engine, Issues with timing, fuel-air mixture, and overheating can damage vital engine components over time, which can be expensive to repair. A bad or failing ECU will usually alert the driver about any problems it may have. Here are the five biggest warning signs to watch out for.
1. Poor fuel economy
When there's a problem with the ECU, the engine won’t be able to supply the right amount of fuel to burn during the internal combustion process. It could end up burning more fuel, and this can drastically affect the vehicle's fuel consumption, causing you to pay more money for gas.
2. Poor engine performance
On the other side of the coin, the ECU could be sending very little fuel. This means you won't be able to accelerate as well as you'd like even when you're pressing hard on the gas pedal. If you notice any acceleration issue, it could mean a problem with your ECU.
3. Hard starts
If the ECU has completely failed, then the engine will have nothing to manage it, resulting in difficult starts or not starting at all. Yes, it may crank, but without the ECU's vital input, it won't be able to drive.
4. Engine misfires
When your ECU becomes defective, your engine's timing will be off and you get frequent stalls or misfires. These symptoms can come and go, but even if you only experience them once, it's important to do something about them right away.
5. Check engine light
The check engine light turns on whenever it detects a problem with any of its sensors and circuits, which makes it one possible symptom of an ECU issue. A technician can help confirm if this is indeed the case when he scans the ECU for trouble codes.