When is it Time to Repair or Replace My Vehicle’s Engine Computer?

time-replace-engine-computer

A malfunctioning or failing powertrain control module (PCM), transmission control module (TCM), or engine control module (ECM) is not something you want to experience.  The name or configuration of these components may differ depending on what make your car is (for example, some makes combine the TCM and ECM into a PCM, while some keep them separate), but in every modern vehicle, these components are computers that act as your car’s brain.

Between the three of them, the PCM, TCM, and ECM control hundreds of functions and processes within your car’s engine. These include everything from controlling when your transmission shifts gears, to fuel injection parameters, to determining when to activate your check engine light. Needless to say, if your car’s central computer is not functioning properly, your vehicle is not going to be running properly.

How do you know your engine computer needs to be replaced?

Signs Your ECM or PCM Might Need Replacing

  • Check Engine Light – The light goes on and off and doesn’t seem to correspond to an actual mechanical problem.
  • Engine Stalling or Misfiring – Stalling and misfiring may occur without any pattern to frequency or severity.
  • Engine Performance Issues – You’ll notice a reduction in fuel efficiency, power, and acceleration.
  • Car Not Starting – Your vehicle does not start or is difficult to start. The engine may still crank but won’t be able to start without vital inputs from the computer.

It’s important to not immediately jump to the conclusion that you have a bad PCM, ECM, or TCM if you encounter one of these signs. There are a number of mechanical issues that could also be producing the above symptoms. But if the cause of these issues does not seem to be a mechanical problem with your engine, then they are most likely the result of a faulty computer module.

In addition to the performance issues listed above, if you (or a technician) run diagnostics on your vehicle and you receive any of the following error codes, you likely have a problem with your PCM:

P0600 – Serial Communication Link
P0601 – Internal Control Module Memory Check Sum Error
P0602 – Control Module Programming Error
P0603 – Internal Control Module Keep Alive Memory (KAM) Error
P0604 – Internal Control Module Random Access Memory (RAM) Error
P0605 – Internal Control Module Read Only Memory (ROM) Error
P0606 – ECM/PCM Processor
P0607 – Control Module Performance
P0608 – Control Module VSS Output ‘A’
P0609 – Control Module VSS Output ‘B’
P0610 – Control Module Vehicle Options Error

When Do I Need to Replace My Car’s Computer?

If you experience any of the issues above and you have a mechanic or technician run additional tests and diagnostics to confirm that the issues are caused by a faulty PCM (or TCM or ECM), you are going to want to correct the problem as soon as possible.

Because your car’s computer module affects so many processes within your engine, a faulty unit can lead to much worse problems and more costly repairs down the road, inefficient engine performance, or even complete engine failure. This is definitely not something you want to put off repairing.

Due to their price, nearly all aftermarket replacement PCMs are “remanufactured” units. Typically, PCMs are not rebuilt in the same way that alternators and water pumps because there are no mechanical parts that wear out. Remanufacturing a PCM generally means testing the computer, isolating and repairing any faults that may be found, then retesting the computer to make sure everything works correctly.

PCM Replacement

But the good thing is, if it’s time to replace your PCM we have you covered at Car Computer Exchange. There’s no need to take it into the dealership or to the mechanic’s shop and pay a bunch of money for a technician to install a new engine control module.

All you have to do is visit our website, enter in some basic information, and then follow a few simple steps to get your car up and running like new again. If you can change your oil, you can replace your car’s PCM, ECM, or TCM. Replacing it is essentially a matter of swapping boxes—the tricky part is making sure they are programmed correctly for your vehicle. And we have you covered on that end.

At Car Computer Exchange, we carry PCMs, ECMs, and TCMs for a variety of car brands including Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Mercedes, Plymouth, Ford, Lincoln, Mercury, Lexus, and Toyota. And we have a depth of inventory, even for older model vehicles. For example, we carry a complete selection of Chrysler PCMs for nearly any model manufactured in the last 20 years.

What’s more, each PCM or ECM we sell is programmed with all the latest manufacturer software and tailored specifically to the make, model, and year of your specific vehicle. And in addition to that, each time you purchase a reprogrammed PCM, ECM, or TCM from Car Computer Exchange, you get:

  • 100% Plug-and-Play. No need to visit the dealer!
  • Each module is pre-programmed to your cars VIN and compatible with all motor sizes, transmissions, and emission types.
  • 100% Iron-Clad Guarantee
  • FREE Lifetime Warranty

When it’s time to replace your PCM, ECM, or TCM it’s to your benefit to get it done as soon as possible. If you put it off you will likely face bigger problems down the road. The good news is, we make it easy and economical for you to get a PCM programmed specifically for your vehicle, and which will have it running like new.

All you have to do is enter in the make, model, and year of your car and check the different computer modules we offer today.