The powertrain control module, usually abbreviated just PCM, is an important component in your car that consists of the engine control unit and the transmission control unit, and is in charge of analyzing and gathering various data signals. In some cars, there are multiple computers, and with other cars, there are just a few. The PCM controls more than 100 factors in your car, and for that reason, is very important – and expensive. A typical pcm replacement cost comes to between $500 and $1,500 on average.
Symptoms of a failing or faulty PCM
By this point, we know that the powertrain control module is a key piece of equipment in your vehicle. It is in charge of numerous functions and receives data from a wide array of sensors, being put in charge of gathering and analyzing the data from multiple sources. Two main components of your car, the engine control module and the transmission control module, are dependent on the powertrain control module, since it is in charge of monitoring these systems for proper function. Without these working correctly, the total pcm replacement cost will be much higher.
In addition, we know that the powertrain control module is in charge of gathering and analyzing the data. It uses this information that it stores to control the ignition system, the fuel injectors, and other important parts. The powertrain control module is in charge of keeping all of these parts working at their optimal level to keep the performance level high and keeping the total pcm replacement cost as low as possible.
Furthermore, if your vehicle has a failing, faulty, or damaged powertrain control module that has occurred for one specific accident or by consistent use, then you can expect to have some issues that need to be taken care of. You can diagnose these problems and where they are coming from by learning to listen to your PCM to keep an eye out for any signs and symptoms of a possible PCM replacement.
The best way to diagnose any problem within this powertrain control module or other symptoms is to visit a qualified electrician or mechanic that knows your car. They will be able to have the tools necessary and the special equipment that can allow them to read and analyze the error codes that the powertrain control module is causing to occur in the vehicle.
One key sign of a failing PCM that can cause the total pcm replacement cost to be much higher is poor performance. Just like a person, if you are tired you can’t expect to perform at your optimal leel in school, work, or your personal life the same goes with your engine and your powertrain control module.
When the powertrain control module is run down over time and has little nagging issues that have not been taken care of, it can build up over time and cause the system to make an error and enhance the pcm replacement cost. This means that the powertrain control module could misinterpret the data that it is being sent and can alter the air and fuel mixture to the incorrect amount.
If there is too much fuel, the engine will result in a decreased fuel economy which can cause too much carbon to be emitted from your vehicle, causing a reduction in performance and the environmental air quality, causing the total pcm replacement cost to be much higher.
If your car starts shifting at the wrong times or when you do not need it to, this can be a huge indication that there is something wrong with your powertrain control module or your transmission control module. In addition, the unnecessary shifting can also alert the driver to any issues with the transmission valve body or the car running on tool low of a transmission fluid level, causing a much higher pcm replacement cost.
Misfiring or Backfiring
If you realize that while you're driving your car or trying to accelerate that your engine is misfiring or backfiring consistently, then this can be a clear indication of various issues with your vehicle. In this case, since it deals with the engine and a potentially higher pcm replacement cost, you should bring your cat to a mechanic instead of diagnosing or troubleshooting the issue yourself. This way the mechanic has the proper tools to analyze the error codes without a diagnostic tool to tell you the exact problem that is causing the total pcm replacement cost to be higher.
The easiest way to understand what an engine misfires and how it affects your vehicle is first by understanding the parts of your engine and the function. The modern combustion engine needs to burn fuel, mix oxygen with the fuel, and use a spark to ignite it. When your engine misfires instead of lighting at the right time, this can have numerous symptoms that are easy to see in your car.
You might notice your car having a rough idle, rough acceleration, poor acceleration, rough ride, underperforming qualities, and engine noises, all showing that you need to fix the engine misfire to lower the overall pcm replacement cost.
In order for the engine to run at the optimal level that it should be, the powertrain control module has to make sure that every part in the system is in the right position. In addition, the PCM also is in charge of coordinating the ignition timing to ensure the car starts properly. If the timing of the ignition is off, the spark plug s will not be able to ignite at the right time and the total pcm replacement cost will be higher, since this can lead to problems running the car and the inability to start.
There are definite negatives to burning more fuel in your car. First, your emissions increase, and next you will be lowering your total fuel economy and miles per gallon, costing you more money in the long run and harming the environment. If there is too much fuel, the catalytic converter will not be able to get out the harmful debris, contaminants, and dirt and the harmful fumes. This will lead to higher emission and potential failed emission test, causing a higher pcm replacement cost.
Dashboard Warning Lights
Whenever your dashboard warning lights turn on and illuminate in your vehicle, this immediately alerts the drive and the passengers that something is wrong in your car – but the real question is, what is the root of the problem? If more than one warning light shows up on your dashboard, this is a huge red flag in your car. The vehicle is not working at the right capacity and at optimal performance, and there are sure problems between various systems.
If your dashboard warning lights all turn on simultaneously, then this is a clear sign you need to bring your car to a trusted mechanic as soon as possible.
PCM Replacement Cost
As we know now, the PCM is such a crucial part in your car – without the powertrain control module working, the engine control unit, the electronic control module, and the transmission control module will not be able to function properly. Because of this, the repair of the PCM and a potential pcm replacement cost is very expensive.
In addition, the prices can vary depending on what kind of car you have, since the parts vary greatly. For example, an older car that is more basic, like a standard Ford, will not have as high of a pcm replacement cost as a more luxury car brand, like an Audi or Ferrari. Furthermore, the labor charges will also be higher for more intense cars, and they will be much higher than normal repairs, with the hourly rate coming in at around $120.
Because of the labor costs and the arts, you can expect to pay between $500 and $1,500 for a new powertrain control module and another $120, at the low end, for the total average labor cost. This means that the total pcm replacement cost comes out to between $620 and $1,620 total.
Sometimes, you might be able to find a used powertrain control module from certain websites to cut down on the labor costs and the parts costs for your specific vehicle, but keep in mind that this might not be the best long-term solution and you will also have to pay to have the module reprogrammed, which can cost extra.
PCM Reprogramming Cost
If you decide to go with a used powertrain control module and just have it reprogrammed, keep in mind that this is not going to be free, so you will still have a high pcm replacement cost. The powertrain control module uses software and data to control the system in the vehicle, meaning that it knows when you need more power, when you need less power, and many other functions to keep your car running safely.
This means that the powertrain control module needs to be updated to suit your specific car, which requires the mechanic to download certain updates to keep your car running smoothly. Typically, a manufacturer will issue an update when a software update is required, meaning that this will have to be performed at a mechanic’s shop.
How much it will cost you for the total pcm replacement cost when you deal with a used powertrain control module and reprogramming depends on where you are going for the updates. Since there are no parts involved, the labor costs will not be too high, so the prices will range between an average of $80 and $150.
Sample Powertrain Control Module Replacement costs
When figuring out how much you might have to pay for your pcm replacement cost in your specific vehicle, ew have listed some popular and modern cars that frequently need this service, indicating to you how much you might have to spend to complete this repair or replacement.
The cheapest option comes to the Honda Accord, with the total pcm replacement cost coming to between $648 and $850, with the labor being between $80 and $103, and the parts costing between $568 and $747. The second cheapest option for the pcm replacement cost is the Honda CR-V and the Honda Civic, with the total cost coming to between $728 and $741, with the parts costing $684 and the labor costing between $44 and $57.
The middle of the road options is the Ford F-Series, Chevrolet Silverado, Ford Focus, and the Ford Fusion, with all of these cars costing between $791 and $1766 for the total pcm replacement cost. The total labor cost for these vehicles comes to between $80 and $103, while the parts range between $711 and $1623.
The more expensive options on the market are the Toyota Corolla and the Nissan Altima, with the Nissan coming to a total of $1010 and $1065, and the Toyota Corolla costing between $1074 and $1089.
What to look for in a PCM replacement
Since every model of car is different, every model will have varying needs so it can run properly and efficiently. Even different versions of the same model of car can have different variables, like altering transmission ratios, meaning that is key that you make sure the specific PCM replacement is right for your kind of car and the total estimated pcm replacement cost works for you.
If you are not sure about what to look for in a pcm replacement, check out the OEM replacement part number located on the powertrain control module itself or in your manufacturer’s catalog in your glove box. For most cars, you can use the OEM standard replacement to ensure it works in tandem with your car.
The only exception to this rule is for those who want high end and high performing sports cars so they can improve their vehicle for performance reasons. If you want to change your automatic transmission' gear shift pattern, then you will have to spend much higher on the pcm replacement cost and choose one that is focused solely on performance.