How to Check Your Car ECU Type

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The ECU is the main engine management computer. These will vary between model, production date, engine and equipment, where it was manufactured along with many other variables. Always get the code numbers off the computer when replacing it. The computers for most late model vehicles do not come programmed. They are not “plug and play,” and must be programmed before installation. Many auto parts stores or the dealer can program the computer for installation as long as they have the car serial number and year, make and model. The new computer does not come with a prom--the chip that must be removed from the old computer and installed in the new computer.

Things You'll Need

  • ¼-inch drive ratchet
  • Set of ¼-inch drive sockets
  • Locate the computer by looking under the hood for the large wiring harness where it enters through the firewall.

  • Remove any panels concealing the computer using your sockets. Disconnect the negative cable from the battery.

  • Remove the bolts securing the computer to the frame or firewall. Lower the computer and remove all three electrical connectors by pushing the tabs on the connectors in and pulling the plug out.

  • Write down the numbers on the identification plate on the top of the computer--it is these numbers that the store needs to get the proper computer for your year, make and model vehicle.

Tips & Warnings

  • The computer on many vehicles is under the hood by the fenderwell. If it is not located there, it could be anywhere. Look under the passenger side of the dash and behind the right kick panel. Foreign cars have the computer under a protective plate under the carpet on the passenger floorboards.
  • Photo Credit Creatas/Creatas/Getty Images
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