Automotive & Repair Computer Services | 360 Automotive and Repair
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Your Vehicle Computer

The engine control unit, or ECU, is considered the most powerful computer in most vehicles. Using closed-loop control, the ECU is able to monitor a system’s output to control the system’s input to manage the vehicle’s emissions levels and fuel efficiency, along with a batch of other factors. Since the ECU gathers information from dozens of different types of sensors, it can tell the amount of oxygen in your exhaust to the temperature of the coolant. It uses this data to make millions of calculations per second in order to properly adjust the engine’s timing and fuel injectors.

Many cars have a cluster of computers that work together to keep your vehicle functioning the way the factory intended. Those are the ECU components, which looks really similar to a computer’s motherboard. The computer case contains the processor and hundreds of other components on a multilayer circuit board. The different types of components control different functions of the vehicle – so well, in fact, that many drivers don’t ask or even wonder how their car is driving. It just goes, and that’s all that matters. How a car computer works is not a question most people ask, but something anyone who is interested should know.

Some cars feature additional computer components, such as cars that have anti-lock brake systems. Anti-lock brakes consist of the anti-lock brake control module, the computer, and the front and rear anti-lock brake sensors, which relay information to the control module, and the hydraulic control unit, or the HCU. Basically, the computer is checking all the time to make sure that your brakes aren’t sliding. If the control modules sense that a wheel is going to lock, it shuts the normally-open solenoid valve for that circuit, which prevents any additional fluid from getting into that circuit.




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