Auto Electrical

How to Know If You Have A Faulty ECU (Computer)

The ECU, also known as the computer, DME or ECM, is the main unit that controls your motor and allows it to run. When it starts to fail, your car won’t run right, or might not run at all. Here is why and how it fails, and how you can find out if that’s the problem.

How to Tell If You Have a Faulty ECU (Computer)

Common Symptoms ECU Failure
When your ECU starts failing, you will usually notice at least one of the following symptoms (sometimes more than one):

  • Check engine light comes on
  • Erratic idle
  • Engine turning off for no reason (stalling)
  • Intermittent starting problems
  • Overheating ECU
  • Connection issues between the ECU and the diagnostic scanner
  • Engine won’t start at all
  • Excessive fuel usage
  • Poor running condition of the motor

If you are experiencing any of these issues with your car, the first step you should take is to get the car scanned with a diagnostic tool. This will reveal if the ECU has produced any error codes and may tell you if the ECU is having problems or has failed. However, if the ECU has completely died, the scanner won’t be able to scan anything. This itself can be a sign that the ECU is dead.

If the scanner was unable to connect with the ECU to do a scan, the next step is to test to ensure the ECU is still plugged in properly and that it is getting a strong power and ground signal. This simple test can be done with a multimeter once you know which pins should be getting power and ground on the ECU plug (a simple internet search should tell you for your particular car).

If it is getting power and ground, the best test is to get a known working ECU and replace yours to see if that fixes the problem. If it does, you’ve had a bad ECU. If it doesn’t, the issue lies elsewhere.

Keep in mind that if this does fix the problem, it may pay to get the car checked out, because there was a reason the ECU died in the first place. You don’t want it to happen again.

If you are not getting power and ground, something else is causing the problem, such as a fuse or relay. Diagnosing this can get complicated fast, so unless you have experience it is probably best to go see an auto electrician.

If the scan revealed issues with the ECU, then you’ve got your answer and will have to replace the ECU.

If you are having electrical problems with your car, come and see us at Eurosparx. We have the latest tools and equipment to scan and diagnose all European and Japanese vehicles and can have a look at yours to let you know if you need a new ECU or if it can be repaired.



Auto Electrical

How to Quickly Test Your Car Battery to See If It’s Faulty

If you think that your car’s battery is faulty, here is a simple test you can do which will reveal if it is or not. You only need a simple multimeter (and possibly a friend) to complete this test.

  1. Grab your multimeter, and if it’s not autoranging, set it to 20V DC.
    How to set your multimeter to test your car battery
  2. Turn off the ignition and any accessories that are still on, like lights, radio etc.
  3. Take the red lead of the multimeter and put it on the positive post of the battery
    Placing positive lead on positive battery post
  4. Take the black lead of the multimeter and put it on the negative post of the battery.
    Placing negative lead on the negative battery post
  5. Now see what the multimeter says. If it is showing anything below 12.4 volts, your battery could be faulty or needs to be charged.
    Multimeter reading of your car battery

If the battery has consistently been getting flat and it’s showing less than 12.4v on the test above, then odds are it needs to be replaced.

One further test you can do is a cranking test:

  1. Follow steps 1&2 above, then disable your vehicles ignition or fuel system (a quick way to do this is to full the fuel pump fuse out). This will allow the vehicle to crank without firing, which is what we need.
  2. Place the leads of the multimeter on the battery posts like before, red on positive and black on negative.
  3. Have your friend/helper to crank the car – for no longer the 15 seconds – and see what the multimeter says. If the voltage drops below 9.6 volts, you’ve got a weak battery on your hands.

One last quick tip. If you are seeing a negative reading on your multimeter (such as -12.6v), it means you have connected the multimeter leads the wrong way round to the battery. Don’t worry, this won’t cause any problems, it will just show you a negative reading.

If you’ve performed these tests and find you have a weak battery, give us a call now on 09 218 7789 and we will be able to sort you out a quality replacement for an excellent price.

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Welcome to Our Blog!

Welcome to the Eurosparx blog! Here we will be putting the latest news about what’s happening at our shop in Avondale, as well as tips, information, how-tos and other cool stuff that will help you with your car.

Make sure to check back regularly to see what’s new. If you need any help with your car in the meantime, email us on or call us on 09 218 7789.

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