Your car is controlled by an on-board computer, referred to as an ECU, that performs a variety of functions, including providing error codes in the event that there is something wrong with your car. However, like all computers, there is also a risk that the ECU may become defective.
A Check Engine Light That Is Persistent
Your car's check engine light might be on constantly regardless of what you do to repair your engine. If there is apparently nothing wrong with your engine, the problem may be with the ECU itself. Request that an auto repair specialist look at the computer. The technician may realize the ECU is faulty if he or she receives error codes for engine parts that are functioning properly.
A Car That Won't Start
If your car will not start at all, this can be a sign that it is suffering from one of a multitude of issues. The ECU is one possible cause and should be considered after checking the car battery, starter, and electrical components. If all of these are apparently functioning properly, the next step is to check the ECU.
A Burning Smell
Your car may be producing a distinct smell that can indicate that the electronics contained within your engine are overheating. You may also notice burn marks if you inspect the computer. If the system has experienced physical damage, it is likely that you will need to have the ECU replaced.
A Drop in Performance
You may notice less obvious signs that the ECU isn't functioning properly. For example, your car may experience an unexplained drop in performance. It may not have as much fuel economy as in the past. You may begin to experience problems with the transmission. For example, the ECU may send a signal that you do not have enough transmission fluid, but when you inspect the transmission, it is working properly and there is an adequate amount of fluid. Under these circumstances, your repair technician will likely inspect the ECU as a way to narrow down the cause.
If the ECU is faulty, this may be a problem with the computer itself, or the drive may be corrupted. There might also be a problem with the wiring that is preventing the ECU from receiving power. You may need to have the ECU replaced or the wires might need to be replaced. Talk to auto centers like Don's Service Center to have the issue diagnosed and repaired.