Five signs and symptoms of a failing or bad engine control module (ECM)

The engine control module (ECM) plays an important role in all modern vehicles. It functions as the main computer for various drivability and performance functions of the vehicle’s engine. The ECM gets information from different engine sensors and utilizes this data to calculate and fine-tune fuel and engine spark to guarantee maximum power and efficiency.  Here are a few signs that indicate a failing or bad ECM.

Engine misfiring or stalling

Erratic engine behavior is another sign of a failing ECM.  A bag automobile computer can cause the vehicle’s engine to have sporadic issues such as misfires and stalling. These symptoms will usually come and go and may not have a consistent pattern of severity or frequency. These sporadic engine problems may become more severe with time and may eventually cause electronic system failure.

Vehicle not starting

Another symptom of a bad ECM is a vehicle that is difficult to start or does not start completely. When the ECM fails completely, it will leave the car without an engine management control and it will not run or even start. The automobile engine may crank, however, it will not manage to start without the crucial inputs from the computer. Other car issues can also cause this symptom and having the vehicle checked by a skilled technician will help determine its actual problem.

Illuminated check engine light

An illuminated check engine light may be a sign of a faulty Mercedes ECM. The check engine light usually comes on when the computer detects any problem with any of its circuits or sensors. In a few cases, the check engine light may be illuminated without the ECM being faulty or it just gives a faulty positive. You can determine whether the ECM has an issue or not by scanning the ECM for any Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs).

Engine performance problems

Another possible problem with your ECM is engine performance issues. Most automobile engine performance issues can be traced to this crucial component. A bad ECM may throw off the fuel settings and timing settings of the engine, which will negatively affect its performance. A faulty ECM can make the vehicle to experience reduced power, acceleration, or fuel efficiency, idling issues, engine misfire, and stalling.

Bad fuel economy

When the control engine of your vehicle malfunctions, you may experience poor fuel economy. This is because your engine will not always know the right quantity of fuel to burn during the in-house combustion process. In most cases, your vehicle will consume more fuel than normal for it to sustain its everyday driving needs. This will increase the fuel economy of your vehicle and you will end up paying more money at the gas station.

Since the ECM plays a crucial role in engine performance, any slight problem with it can result in major issues with the overall functionality of your automobile. The computer systems installed on modern vehicles today are quite complicated and highly sophisticated and may be challenging to diagnose. Therefore, if you suspect that the ECM of your vehicle is faulty, then you should ensure that it is inspected by an experienced technician. This will help you know whether it needs complete replacement or just minor repair services.

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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  1. I really appreciate it when you said that the check the engine light is lit when the computer of the car detects something wrong with the circuits and sensors. If that is the case, then I have been ignoring the obvious cries for help of my car. My brother mentioned that it isn’t something that I should be worried about, but this article totally contradicted this. I will take the car to the professional for a check.

  2. ECM plays an important role in the performance of the vehicle and malfunctions in such an important component could bring the vehicle to a halt in the middle of nowhere. So, any signs which indicate that the ECM has some sort of deformities should not be ignored. The reason behind the appearance of such a sign needs to be identified and repaired immediately to keep the vehicle in working order. Everyone should be aware of basic aspects of car maintenance which is really essential to keep the engine in working order.

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