VEHICLE COMPUTER SYSTEM
All motor vehicles made today have a configuration of a computer system.
Mostly these computer systems are primarily installed to check engine performance,
coordinating car functions, and regulating the engine system (Ian, 2009). The motor
vehicle computer system gets data from several sensors like; air pressure, engine
temperature, oxygen sensor, knock sensor and throttle position sensors. By using and
analyzing data from these sensors a car computer can virtually govern operations like idle
speed, fuel injector, and spark plugs to achieve a great performance while maintaining
Motor vehicle computers are also capable of telling when something has
gone amiss and notify a driver on time with the signal of the check engine light. At the
same time computer configuration has made it an easy car diagnosis by making
mechanics only check diagnostic information from the computer process and solve the
Vehicles may have different computer systems based on their make, and
technology used in its manufacturing. The computers may be designed to regulate the
automatic transmission, vehicles with anti-lock brakes will be installed with computers to
monitor brakes and speed of the wheels. Alarm systems, cruise control, traction control,
stereo systems, and airbags are also controlled by car computers (Ian, 2009). Motor car
computers also perform other functions like the firing of the spark plugs, give the needed
energy to ignite the engine, and reserve the extra energy via charging of the car batteries.
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One of the essential duties of the computer system in the engine control
unit is its capability of keeping information for a very long period of time in its memory.
The information stored in the engine control unit can be recovered through resetting. The
computer at the engine is always working at interpreting your cruising style and will tend
to adjust the functioning of other modules, and enabling a car performance to always be
as good as possible (Ian, 2009). The engine computer units always study a driver driving
trend because of its ability to save much information; including car problem codes which
are very important when solving a possible break down in a car. Interpretation of
computer engine information and resetting of the engine control unit is equally necessary.
The engine control unit resetting is necessary when a modification is done
in the car. In such a case, the engine control unit module reset should be done manually
via the fuse box. In most cases the fuse box is located on the co-driver’s side near the car
battery. When a car probably heats up and the driver wants to switch it off and removes
both fuses, he/she only needs to cut the power by disengaging the battery. After some
time, all the previous information should reset so you return the fuses in; then restart the
engine. It is important to give the engine computer units enough time to interpret any
fresh adjustments in the car by giving it more time to idle after startup (Treewitt, 2018).
Since the auto engine computer unit is a very fragile and sensitive part, it is necessary to
reset the computers after adjustments have been made. Otherwise, any fresh adjustments
may affect the engine performance prior to the changes.
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It is important to note that the resetting of the engine computer unit must
not be for problem creation but for a solution provision since there are several ways of
doing it. It is also advisable that engine computer unit resetting be done always when any
new installations or modifications are made like a knock sensor, fuel filter, air
conditioning, or any other repair is done. It would help in the recovery of the past
information and synchronizing the data for greater performance.
How often is the data deleted?
Vehicle engine computer unit data is stored in an open format and may be
lost or erased from time to time due to explosions. Car explosions are very dangerous as
they cause harm not only to the owner and the surrounding environment but also leads to
loss of data. Even though car explosions are limited, when a car explodes it fully destroys
everything including engine computer unit leading to loss of data. At the same time when
a car is involved in a fatal accident and bursts into flames will also lead to loss of data as
engine computer units may be burnt down in totality if the fire is not put off on time.
Engine computer unit data may be lost as a result of a short circuit of vital parts of the
computer coming in contact with water. Computer hard drives always in secured places,
still get into contact with water. For instance, when a car plunges into a dam, river, lake
or ocean; it will be very impossible to retrieve the data from the hard drive. It is painful
and a big tragedy to lose a car via theft, the thief may interfere with the engine computer
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unit leading to loss of data. Engine computer units may be damaged mechanically by
either an incompetent technical or electric fault; such damages may be beyond repair
leading to loss or deletion of data. Information in the engine computer unit may be
What tools are available
Engine computer unit is made up of various segments such as the core
which is the main microcontroller. It is a minute computer in a semiconductor of metal
oxide. It has a single or in some cases more processors, together with programmable
output and input commands. Engine computer unit also has a memory, inputs that are
divided into digital inputs, analog inputs, and ground and supply voltage. It also has
outputs that control relays, injectors, and other actuator drivers (Treewitt, 2018). Logic
output and information links like car transceivers and housing are some of the
components of the engine computer unit.
Can the average user access onboard vehicle data?
All vehicles have their engine computer units located in different places
making it hard to find, insinuating that no average user can access onboard car
information. In most cases, the engine computer unit location is found via the help of the
user’s manual. In cases where the manual is not found it is advisable to seek help from
the manufacturer or authorized agents (Treewitt, 2018). In spite of the fact that most
engine computer units are located in common places like behind main panels, under the
VEHICLE COMPUTER SYSTEM 6
passenger seats, and below the passenger floorboard, it is not possible for an average user
to access the information.
Is there a way to modify or permanently delete data?
It is not possible to modify or completely erase information from the engine
computer unit system, because of the security features that come with its configuration.
Engine computer unit networks are not easily available hence making it difficult to make
any adjustments and complete deletion.
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Ian, A. (2009). A Chip-Based challenge to a cars spinning camshaft. WHAT NEXT.
Treewitt, C. (2018). Engine control module repairs . How the engine control module
works , 4-6.
GM Emission Control Microprocessor.