What is ECU?
ECU stands for Engine Control Unit and is installed in today’s vehicles for monitoring of the engine. It helps in calculating the amount of fuel for injection into the engine’s combustion chamber for increased efficiency and fuel economy.
Basically the engine’s ECU interacts with the vehicle’s computer control unit for the purpose of optimizing the engine’s functions. This will then result to an increased and more fluid car acceleration, smoother throttle response, and improved fuel efficiency. Overall, the engine will function more efficiently in terms of power, output, and torque.
Aside from its effect on better fuel mileage through improved fuel injection, Engine Control Units also help in the control of ignition timing. Typical engines need a spark to initiate the combustion process. But with ECU, the exact timing of such spark can be manipulated to improve the engine’s power and result to more fuel economy. If the ECU detects a delay in the ignition timing, it has the capability to delay or abort the timing of the spark to prevent engine trouble.
ECUs can also help in controlling the engine’s idle speed. With a crank shaft position sensor in place, various engine functions like spark activities, valve timing, and fuel injection are monitored. And through a throttle control system, idle speed may be controlled, along with limiting the car’s top speed. ECUs also assist in valve timing, contributing to further improvements in power and fuel economy.
There are various Engine Control Units available in the market for vehicles without them pre-installed. There are those called “factory units” which are somewhat made of generic software and may be difficult to tune up. Some units are called “after-market units” and are easier to use with pre-programmed options that suit a person’s vehicle. But one must make sure that a qualified technician will install the ECU to ensure proper functionality.