The engine control unit (ECU) is the brain of a vehicle. From the coolant temperatures to the amount of oxygen in the exhaust, the ECU knows them all. Using this information, it calculates these results to ensure that the vehicle is producing the lowest emissions, gaining the best mileage, and obtaining the highest fuel efficiency. If the ECU becomes faulty or defective, then the entire vehicle is at risk. A defective ECU can cause inefficiency in the engine system and bad handling of the vehicle. However, only trained specialists are capable of fixing the ECU. The owner is required to buy the ECU upgrade kit and send it back to the manufacturer.
Symptoms of a failing ECU
Before buying an ECU upgrade kit, take note of the following signs and symptoms of a failing ECU to ensure that an upgrade is worth its price.
- The “check engine” light is on. If this particular red light on your dash wouldn’t turn off, then there might be a problem with the ECU. This is the most common symptom of a failing ECU, and it is advisable to have it checked right away.
- Starting the car is a struggle. If the car wouldn’t start, but its battery, starter, and other parts are in good condition, chances are, there is a problem with its ECU.
- Other symptoms. Since the ECU plays an important role in the overall performance of the car, there are many possible cases wherein it is to be blamed when something fails, such as fuel economy and poor engine performance.
Tips in buying an ECU upgrade kit
- Look for a trusted service center. When choosing a service center or brand where you will buy an ECU upgrade kit, make sure that it uses the latest computer diagnostic equipment. This is to ensure that your ECU is in good hands.
- Buy the kit that is specific for your vehicle. Since you are looking for a new part, it is best to purchase from a brand that offers an ECU upgrade kit that is specific to your car’s make, model, and year. This is to ensure that the engineers or mechanics will be able to repair your ECU accurately.
Average price of an ECU upgrade kit
Instead of bringing your vehicle to a service center, online, there are ECU upgrade kits that cost $250 to $300 that requires you to send them your defective ECU. The kit contains the instruction manual on how to remove the stock ECU. The repair will be done by the engineers and mechanics in the manufacturer’s laboratory, and will be returned to you on the next day. This is much cheaper and easier compared to taking your car to an able service center.