ecm failure symptoms
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7 ECM Failure Symptoms You Should Know About

Are you having problems with your car starting up? Are you wondering why your fuel consumption is inconsistent? Are your fuel emissions tests failing whenever you use your vehicle?

If these seem familiar to you, you might want to have your car’s ECM checked.

The engine control module or ECM takes care of your engine’s settings and capabilities. A number of engine problems on current models attribute this to a faulty ECM. If not checked, it can cause major damage or render it useless.

The worst-case scenario may lead to accidents, as 41% of driver-caused accidents are due to not recognizing the car problem.

So, what to do in this kinds of situations? We have 7 ECM failure symptoms that you can look out for to check if your ECM is faulty and needs replacing.

1. The Check Engine Light Is On

While there are extreme cases where the meters on the car end up being erratic, one of the ways to tell if ECM is bad is with this particular indicator. The Check Engine Light comes up when there is a problem detected on its circuits or sensors. If you have had the engine checked and the light still comes on, then the problem lies in the ECM.

So, if ever the Check Engine Light comes on, ask the repair professional to also check your ECM if there are problems with it.

2. Ignition Problems

Another of these ECM failure symptoms to keep an eye on is when the vehicle has trouble with starting up. Usually, the first things that you should check are your wirings and your starter system. If you encounter this problem even after checking and confirming no issues with it, then your ECM might be faulty.

A good way to identify this is when you hear strange noises while starting the car. It’s a car noise you shouldn’t ignore. When this happens, you may want to have the ECM replaced.

3. Erratic Engine Idling

When spotting for faulty engine control module symptoms, take note that an erratic engine would be its telltale sign. One of the notable signs would be the erratic idling, wherein you see the needle on the rev meter fluctuate in its reading without you touching anything.

This symptom attributes this to various factors, either due to a dirty fuel injector, a vacuum leak, or a malfunctioning MAF sensor. But if none of these are causing problems, then it might be the ECM having some problems with its sensors.

4. Engine Stalling and Misfire

While on the topic of erratic engine problems, a faulty ECM may tend to cause other erratic behaviors.

When the engine stops for no particular reason and you can’t root out the cause, it might be the ECM that is causing this. Faulty ECMs have trouble with regulating and communicating with the other components of the vehicle, causing the engine to either misfire or stall.

These symptoms may come and go without any form of a pattern, making it hard to catch. But at the first sign that this occurs, have your ECM checked or have a professional assess it for you.

5. Bad Engine Performance and Efficiency

The ECM is a vital point with an engine’s functionality. It handles the vital settings for the engine, such as the fuel settings or the timing. A symptom for a faulty ECM is when the engine’s performance drops, or when it starts using up too much fuel.

If you had your vehicle checked and this problem comes up without any explanation, have your ECM inspected. Faulty ECMs tend to be the root cause of a reduction in fuel economy, efficiency, and engine performance. It could get worse if left alone.

6. Transmission Issues

Bad ECM symptoms includes a sudden shift in gears during automatic transmission. With failure in the sensors and communication between the module and the engine, the vehicle would end up jerking.

The sudden jerking will have you suspect the transmission system, having it checked if there are problems with the gears or so. However, if there is no use found and you encounter the same problem, the ECM may be the root cause of this.

7. Overheating ECM

Don’t know how to tell if ECM is bad? Check for overheating.

ECMs tend to emit a normal amount of heat when processing functions and settings for the engine. However, when these modules end up overheating, this is possibly caused by some errors in the system or some notable damages on the ECM. You may feel that the housing gets warm or even hot on the sections that have heatsinks.

If this occurs, along with other symptoms coming about, have a professional check the ECM. At this point, it is due to having it replaced or serviced.

Other Methods for Checking ECM Failure Symptoms

Now, in the event that you suspect that the ECM is suffering from these symptoms, there are ways to have them checked.

The first method is to try assessing the damage visually. If you can check the module with the casings removed, scout for any broken portions of the circuitry or visible signs of damage (like water or fire damage). This might be the things that cause trouble on the module.

Another method is to have it swapped for testing. If you can find and procure an ECM with an identical part number, have that installed to your vehicle and test if it works properly. If it does work perfectly without problems compared to your previous module, then the ECM needs replacement.

You can also have the module checked using a car diagnostic scanner. With this, the ECM can run a diagnostic scan on itself to check for any errors and give you a report on it. If ever the ECM and the Scanner fail in communicating or so, it’s time to have the module replaced with a Cummins ECM.

Have Your ECM Checked and Replaced Now!

A faulty ECM can cause a bunch of problems with the vehicle. Not addressing this problem can lead to major damage to the engine or worse. So have a professional check your car for ECM failure symptoms and if need be, get a replacement.

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