It’s hard to tell where the modern car ends, and the computer begins. This can make electronic diagnostics a ‘Bermuda triangle. Internal combustion engine vehicles have at least three computers.
- Engine Management Unit (ECU)
Responsible for controlling the engine functions of timing, ignition, and fueling. Also acts as an immobilizer to prevent thieves from starting the vehicle.
- Body Computer
The key safety computer unit that detects collisions. This manages the airbag system, anti-lock braking system (ABS), and other safety features. For example, seat belt pre-tensioners.
- Climate Computer
Controls the heating, cooling, and ventilation (HVAC) systems.
All these computers talk to each other. Any one of them sensing a fault can turn the ‘check engine’ (aka idiot light) on. The trick is to know which one. That is where your favorite auto mechanic comes in. We make sure that we have the latest diagnostic equipment (sometimes even better than the manufacturers). This means we can drill down to the root of the problem.
Electronic diagnostics is really a fusion of art and forensic science. The computer interface generates a code that can often seem completely unrelated to the true fault. With over 30 years of experience in the automotive field, we can say there isn’t much we haven’t seen.
Wait, there’s more:
(In addition to standard diagnostic fault finding we also offer the following related services.)
- ECU Remapping
Looking for more performance out of your engine? One of the easiest ways to unlock at least another 10% is to change the ECU map. The map inside the engine control unit determines the timing, fueling, and ignition specifications for the engine. Manufacturers design their stock engine control to meet emissions and engine lifetime specifications. Consequently, it is very conservative. Getting more power and often better gas mileage can be as simple as applying a different map via software.
- Chip Tuning
Some manufacturers make it extremely difficult to change their vehicle control software. This is where chip tuning comes in. Better engine performance can often be obtained by changing the input sensor variables that the map depends on. The stock ECU may adjust fuel trim based on engine temperature, but tuners know that it is better to make it also depend on intake pressure for performance. By changing components in the ECU (or sometimes even the entire unit) custom mapping can be applied.
Electronic engine diagnosis and tuning are tricky. Perhaps we’ve just blown your mind with information, and you are struggling to sort out the map from the body computer. Or wondering whether the ABS light relates to anything?
Don’t let a check engine light spoil your day! Pop into our Pompano Beach shop and let our professional (ASE) team answer all your diagnostic and tuning questions.