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How Engine Control Unit (ecu) Increases The Performance Of Your Car

By Expert Author: Stephens H Robertson

Engine control unit (ECU) is an important part of electronic fuel injection system (FIS). Also known as engine management system (EMS) or powertrain control module (PCM), it is like the brain of the fuel injection system.

An electronic fuel injection system consists of three subsystems - air induction system, fuel delivery system and electronic control system. The engine control unit (ECU) belongs to third subsystem of the FIS.

The ECU gathers information on various factors like air temperature, air pressure, throttle angle, fuel temperature, air density, fuel pressure, oil pressure, timing, engine rpm, speed of vehicle etc., with the help of various sensors like oxygen sensor, airflow sensor, coolant-temperature sensor, speed sensor, etc.

Based on the information collected by sensors, the ECU increases the performance of the car by performing various functions as discussed below.

Controls air/fuel mixture: The ECU accurately measures the amount of air and fuel that has to be injected into the combustion chamber based on various parameters collected by sensors. This avoids wastage of fuel, caused by injecting more than the required amount of fuel and reduces the toxic emissions caused by injecting less than the required amount of fuel. Thus, increases the fuel efficiency and performance of the car.

Controls variable valve timing: After measuring the optimum amount of air and fuel mixture, it is also important that it is sprayed into the combustion chambers at right times.

Variable valve timing is the process of lifting the valves and spraying the air and fuel mixture at different times. The time depends on various factors like speed of the car, internal and external temperature, etc. that are identified by different sensors of the ECU. Valves usually need to be lifted sooner at higher speeds and little later during low speeds. The ECU controls these valves’ lifting times ensuring better performance of the car.

Controls ignition timing: Producing a spark at the right time (neither early nor late) to ignite the engine is called ignition timing. It is crucial for the performance of the car. Too late or too early ignition results in vibration and major issues in car engine. Spark is required to ignite the engine. The ECU identifies the right time to produce spark in the combustion chamber in order to start the engine.

Controls idle speed: Idle speed is the speed at which engine generates maximum power and runs smoothly besides operating other accessories such as AC, power steering, etc. Throttle control system of the ECU controls the idle speed of the vehicle. Idle speed also depends on the load on the vehicle and this idle load varies with the engine temperature, transmission status and camshaft duration. All these are monitored and regulated by the ECU.

Therefore, efficient functioning of the ECU of an electronic fuel injection system not only improves the fuel efficiency and power, but also the overall performance of your car.

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