Why You Should Upgrade Your Engine Control Unit Software

By Mister Transmission

Your car’s ECU is the brain behind the horsepower that controls everything from the transmission to fuel consumption

Modern automobiles are complex machines.

Arguably, the cars, trucks, and SUVs cruising Canada’s tar plains today should be counted among other remarkable feats of engineering for the simple fact they are computerized marvels inasmuch as they are mechanical wonders. And yet, there is so many things that can go wrong in your car at any time, including a malfunction in the engine control unit (ECU) – aka engine control module (ECM) – that serves as your car’s “brain.”

Like any computer, the operating system (OS) and software installed on it are what gives the computer its instructions. If the ECU’s OS or the software responsible for sending and receiving data from all the sensors throughout your vehicle is not up-to-date, or the module itself fails to operate properly, it can wreak havoc on almost anything in your car, including how your transmission performs.

Electrical System Flaw or Mechanical Malfunction?

Problems with the electrical or computerized systems in your vehicle are easy to detect thanks to the engine light on your dashboard, or because your car won’t start. But they are maddeningly difficult to diagnose. Naturally, if your car’s engine is making strange noises, your immediate assumption is it’s a mechanical problem.

But nowadays, most essential functions in your car are done electronically. For instance, your vehicle (despite the make and model) has an electronic throttle control that long ago replaced the mechanical connection between the accelerator pedal and the throttle. That electrical throttle is, in part, responsible for governing transmission gear and torque changes.

The Benefits of Ensuring Your ECU Runs Smoothly

It’s important to keep your ECU’s software updated. Doing so will improve the responsiveness of your vehicle, and prevent wear and tear on your transmission.

In addition to ensuring your transmission and gearbox are performing as they should, an optimized ECU controls:

  • The timing of your car’s ignition
  • Your engine’s idling speed
  • How much fuel is consumed and how much carbon dioxide is exhausted
  • How much torque your engine produces

Have questions about your car’s ECU and how it’s performing? Talk to a Mister Transmission technician about your ECU software. Find your nearest location.

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