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Powertrain Control Module

Powertrain modules are used in motor vehicles as automotive components.

Powertrain control modules are commonly abbreviated as PCM.

These are electronic control units. The combined control unit consists of an engine control unit and transmission control unit.

These PCM units commonly control about five units in an automobile.

The powertrain control module can be called as the brain of an engine control system; therefore, the malfunctioning of the PCM can result in the dysfunction of charging system, transmission and emission controls of an automobile.

We can analyze the vehicle using a card reader. While using the card reader, if we find some fault with the PCM, it should be reflected as a code in the card reading mechanism. 

Why do PCMs commonly fail? PCMs fail mainly because of two reasons. They may fail due to voltage overloads or due to environmental factors.

The short in a solenoid may cause a voltage overload and lead to the failure of a PCM.

Additionally, corrosion, thermal stress or vibrations may cause the same failures in powertrain control modules.


If water gets inside a PCM, it may short the circuits and set up irreversible corrosion which can completely destroy electronic connections. The micro cracks formed in the circuit boards because of environmental factors also can cause the PCMs to fail.

The accurate identification of the PCM and its correct replacement is very much necessary. It must be replaced in a right manner, or else it can create issues in the entire vehicle operating system. A vehicle’s year, make, model, engine number, size, OEM part number of the PCM etc are necessary for identifying the PCM in an accurate manner.

 

 powertrain control module

 powertrain control module

 powertrain control modules




PCMs – Powertrain Control Modules

Power train control modules are really expensive to be manufactured. So, the remanufactured PCMs are used widely. A PCM’s rebuild process is different from that of a water pump rebuilding. Testing the PCM is the main function of remanufacturing here as there are no mechanical parts to wear out.

A remanufactured PCM is sold in two ways. Sometimes it is sold on an exchange basis from stock. It is also sold on a custom rebuild basis.

 

 pcms

powertrain control module repair

 pcm



PCM – Replacement Tips

Where is the powertrain control module located? Replacing a PCM may become a problem on some vehicles because it is often placed under other components in the instrument panel. Many PCMs are located under a seat and require removing the seat. Before installing the replacement PCM, the battery should be disconnected.

A scan tool is used widely after installing the new PCM in the vehicle. It is used for reprogramming the entire system.  

The power train control module may take a bit of time to study the habit of a driver and act accordingly, if it controls transmission too.

If the malfunction indicator amp or check engine light comes back on after the replacement of the power train control module, the problem with the vehicle is evident.

Then, more diagnosis is required and it should be rectified immediately by a professional.

If you'd like to find out more about the related engine control units or automotive maintenance, check out the next pages.

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