Automotive Computer Service (936 views)
Automotive Computer Service
Each year, cars seem to get more and more complicated. Cars today might have as many as 50 microprocessors on them. Although these microprocessors make it more difficult for you to work on your own car, some of them actually make your car easier to service. As automobile technology advances, vehicles rely more and more on computers. Some recent models rely exclusively on computer technology.
Some of the reasons for this increase in the number of microprocessors are:
- The need for sophisticated engine controls to meet emissions and fuel-economy standards
- Advanced diagnostics
- Simplification of the manufacture and design of cars
- Reduction of the amount of wiring in cars
- New safety features
- New comfort and convenience features
Computer diagnostics is the way to find the problem with your car, when the check engine light is on. When a problem with a computer-controlled car crops up, it shows up either in the form of a drivability problem or a lit check-engine light on the dashboard. The problem could be in the form of a bad sensor, malfunctioning electrical or mechanical component, or damaged wiring and plugs. The system is designed to generate a trouble code when it "sees" a problem in the system. This code is supposed to lodge in the onboard computer's memory for retrieval at a later date, aiding in diagnostics. The shop must have access to information either in book form or online to decipher what the codes mean and how to go about diagnosing the particular problem area.
With the increasing number of microprocessors in cars, it can make it difficult to pinpoint where an issue is originating from by yourself. If your vehicle isn't running at its best, it could be a problem with the Powertrain Control Module (PCM), the Engine Control Unit (ECU), or the Transmission Control Module (TCM).
Modern cars have a computer operating system that is constantly transmitting data about the car. The data flowing through the car’s operating system sends messages to the engine and keeps the car driving properly. Ideally, when a problem arises with the car, the computer will light up the check engine sensor in the car’s dashboard. Other times, the sensor will not light up, but the car will not drive properly. Either of these indications should signal to the driver that it is time to take the vehicle in for a computer diagnostic.
If a vehicle’s check engine light is on, computer diagnostics will generally reveal the source of the problem.