Real car deal: 7 Pros & Cons of car Engine control unit (ECU)

Updated Jan 19, 2019 | Same topic: Handy Maintenance Tips

Cars with ECU are safe and more efficient. Is it true? Philkotse will do the big reveal!

To a certain degree, most premium compacts to large cars sold in the market nowadays have an ECU or ECM control. The question is whether they improve safety by controlling features autonomously.

I. Old cars versus ECU cars

When it comes to features; modern cars are a chockful of everything, and the question is whether the car ECU is really vital for cars. There are several premises to driving that does contribute to human error; and for older cars, it does happen. Especially for micro to sub-compacts that is often attributed to lack of modern safety features that should be equipped.

Although it’s a fact that they are barely equipped and if something does go awry, it will be human error. Before the use of the ECU or ECM units in cars; it was a simpler affair. At times it led to accidents and mishaps that could have been prevented!

Now enter ECU ore ECM equipped cars that are exerted autonomous control over the following features; these features are premium by the way. ECUs have become fixtures in modern cars and is installed, even with limited capacity.

It is premised that these cars are better and safer. They improved engine performance and aspects of car handling which was a good development. Control was still based on the driver; which was not optimum at times!

Car ECU pros& cons

ECUs have improved engine performance and aspects of car handling

How well do these advantages do over some inevitable disadvantages that are sure to happen? There is stopping progress and cars with ECU aren’t avoidable because it is the trend.

II. 7 advantages of ECU or ECM control

Now, here are the benefits of ECU controlled features that have made driving easier, compared to older models. Human error is the culprit most of the time when accidents happen. Whether be it distracted driving, driving too aggressive, driving too recklessly, not driving smartly too! To get things in perspective, has compiled the benefits they give drivers.

1. Prevent losing control of the car

When cars lose stability, the use of VSC with ABS, EBD, BA; with controlled engine output should prevent losing control of the car. Hitting the brakes or pulling hard on the wheel is human error, but self- correcting VSC and brakes with controlled engine power will keep it in a straight line!

Car ECU_losing control

The use of VSC with controlled engine output should prevent losing control of the car

2. Keep a constant distance

Unlike cruise control; modified Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) will have the security of having sensors that will keep a constant distance when on the freeway. With no need to hit brakes unnecessarily.

3. Lessen fuel consumption

Cylinder deactivation will benefit large engine cars by lessening fuel consumption, and choosing what cylinders will be used and when. This helps produce less carbon, and more fuel is as saved.

Car ECU_lessen fuel consumption

More fuel is saved thanks to cylinder deactivation

>>> Read more: ​​​16 useful driving tips to enhance your fuel mileage

4. Lessen driver workload

Many of these features do simplify and lessen driver workload. Keeping eyes on the road; rather than too much multitasking

5. Lessen chances of having accidents

Another benefit is that the engine becomes more efficient and lessens chances of having accidents because of these performance aids!

6. Be safer and more efficient 

Cars are safer more than ever; when compared to the cars of yester-years! All the safety issues are known and should prevent them. Overall, these features are the most important consumer ones. Now more than ever; cars are efficient and safe.

7. Assist drivers

The use of ECUs or ECM allows these driver aids to assist drivers in most driving conditions. As a consequence of self-correcting and ECU improves all aspects of car functions for fewer errors.

III. 7 disadvantages of ECU or ECM control

No such thing as a free lunch; and that holds true with ECU or ECM controlled features. Most of these features are automatic and cannot be overridden or else, it will be the cause of more problems. These common ECU problems will vary from minor to serious.

Car ECU pro & con_airbag

Expect problems like airbags firing when not needed, car immobilizers will stop cars from starting.

1. The ECU or ECM is sensitive, and most of the interlinked controls affect each one by default. Tampering could have catastrophic results for performance or safety when contrasted to human error that cannot affect much.

2. A Human error cannot be avoided but when ECUs go awry; the consequent results on safety and performance is like a domino effect. When compared human error only affects decisions that are wrong, not the entire ECU environment.

3. One of the worst errors is complacency or laziness, or pure inability to drive responsibly. For example, when driving is done the right way; but one system or another is tripped by an EMU malfunction. Expect problems like airbags firing when not needed, car immobilizers will stop cars from starting.

4. Dependence on these features just because they prevent accidents is not enough when any faulty ECU will not activate the feature when needed.

5. Without maintenance of the electrical and ECUs or ECMs; the human error is secondary. Human is misjudgment and wrong decisions mostly. Errors by autonomous ECUs will have worse results.

6. Cars with ECU controlled features will not have secondary backups that will be a way to compensate for human error. Human error will have a chance for correction, but a faulty ECU is a one-way trip.

7. When driver influence on all car functions is minimal, then human error is less a factor than a computer box that fails regulate all features!

From here on; the use of ECUs will be primary as the tech gets cheaper! Human error is a factor if there are minimal autonomous functions controlled by ECUs. Managing driver input and distraction is the major concern of modern cars, and managing that ECU information overload should be tamed and dealt with.

Lastly, don't forget to visit regularly for more useful tips & advice on car maintenance.