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Bad PCM Symptoms

Bad PCM Symptoms

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Powertrain Control Module (PCM)  is the engine control unit can be found on almost all latest vehicle models. Its main function is to translate the performance of the engine to a language that can be understood by human beings as well as the drivability status of that particular vehicle. It is  important for every driver to know the various bad PCM symptoms so as to identify them when they arise.

Bad PCM Symptoms

 Three bad PCM symptoms that are common;

·Engine light

If the engine light icon becomes visible on the dashboard, there is a possibility that your PCM has detected a problem. The light turns on mostly when the engine sensors or circuits are not working as they should. It has, however, been recorded that the engine light icon can illuminate on the dashboard by mistake. You should, therefore, ask for professional advice from your mechanic when you experience this sign of a bad PCM.

·Misfiring of the Engine

Misfiring of the engine is the most common bad PCM symptom as a faulty computer can’t run the car to its full capability. The starring of the engine, however, will not have any pattern or frequency and drivers should, therefore, be keen and record any changes in the behavior of the engine.

·Fuel Patterns

If you notice that you are spending more on fuel than you usually do, it is likely that you have a faulty PCM. Failure of the PCM makes the engine unable to determine how much fuel it should burn which leads to more fuel consumption.

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What would cause my ECM to go bad?


One of the main reasons as to why ECM’s go bad is because of corrosion that is caused by the presence of moisture if the seals are not fixed well.

·Fuel Solenoid

Another common cause for failure of the ECM is fuel solenoid which occurs due to the harnessing of the wire that connects the ECM to the solenoid. If you are unable to restart your vehicle after a few minutes then there is a likelihood that your engine has undergone a fuel solenoid.

·Dead Battery Cells

If your battery cells are dead and you jumpstart the vehicle in the wrong way, this may cause your ECM to stop functioning. The current bypasses the sensor located in the starter that is designed to control the voltage going to the ECM. Bypassing this sensor can cause problems in the ECM if the voltage is huge enough to damage the critical components of the ECM.

What does the PCM control?

The Powertrain Control Module of any vehicle is an essential component to the overall functioning capabilities of the vehicle as it is the central command center for different functions of the car. In simpler terms, it acts as the brain of the car.

The PCM controls the actuators that regulate the internal combustion in vehicles. It is also responsible for the change of gears in automatic cars which ensures optimum engine performance as well as efficient energy usage.

How do you know if your ECU is bad?

Are you suspecting that your ECU is broken? Here are a few signs that your ECU is faulty or broken.

  • The ECU tends to overheat over short distances.
  • The vehicle tends to lose communication memory between the scanner and the ECU.
  • The ECU has been exposed to humid conditions which can cause corrosion.
  • Loss of spark every time that you try to start the vehicle
  • Loss of power to the engine during transit for no apparent reason
  • Failure of the force applied to the fuel pump to be translated into acceleration.

How much does a PCM repair cost?

The cost of repairing a damaged PCM can fall anywhere between 400 dollars to 1700 dollars depending on the type of the car. This cost is exclusive of labor cost which can amount to 1000 dollars depending on the amount of time spent replacing the PCM.

Replacing the module is very simple. What proves to be an uphill task to many mechanics is accessing it as they have to disconnect every other component of the car to get to the PCM. Replacing it, however, is a good decision as it is a critical component of the vehicle that is responsible for the normal functioning of a car.

Need Help with your ECM?

If the engine light on your dashboard is on and you can’t read the problem on your ECM, worry not as we are here to help you. Contact us today to we pledge to help you identify the root of the problem and get your PCM up and running within no time.

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