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The Engine Control Unit (ECU) is the digital revolution which can be found in most cars of today. Being the brain of the engine, the ECU manages almost every aspect of the engine’s performance, from fuel delivery to ignition. As cars become more advanced, the ECU has evolved into a complex network of systems which can include security features such as engine immobilization and efficient gearbox control for maximum fuel efficiency.

What happens when a car’s ECU fails? Firstly, it will not be able to start. If it fails on the move, depends on the seriousness of the fault, the engine may fail to run and stall while the car is moving. Some faults may trigger the “Limp Home Mode” and lock the Transmission at 3rd Gear. The car will lose power and will only be able to be driven to the workshop at low speed.

For example, a gearbox which has jammed can easily be misdiagnosed as a gearbox failure which can lead to an expensive gearbox replacement, whereas a failing gearbox might show signs of impending failure such as rough shifting or by emitting loud grinding noises. An ECU does not show any warning before failure, very much like a personal computer which fails to work all of a sudden.

One of the more common cars that are prone to expensive ECU failures are: the Hyundai Avante, i30 and the Kia Forte/Koup/Soul (Year of Manufacture 2005 – 2010). However, it will only take a short process to enjoy a peace of mind. Harmony Motor is now offering an ECU Preventive Upgrade for all owners of Korean cars affected by the potential ECU woes.

To get the upgrade, head down to Harmony Motor’s Ang Mo Kio branch, located at #02-12 AMK Autopoint, and get a diagnostic performed first. Once the ECU has been opened, the upgrade process starts with a visual inspection of the circuit board for any damage. Tests on the ECU’s individual components will be performed. Finally, the fully tested ECU will have its weak components replaced with stronger parts to ensure longevity.

Even if your car is out of warranty, fret not. Harmony Motor is offering a five year warranty on all upgraded ECUs. From March onwards, affected car owners can get to enjoy a discounted price on the ECU upgrade at the Harmony Motor AMK Autopoint branch, and enjoy a safe, smooth drive for years to come. A small preventive upgrade can go a long way, as it helps to avoid the expense and hassle of a complete ECU replacement, which can cost over S$2000!

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