ECU Programming and you

Why an ECU needs to be re-programmed?

Some ECU’s on cars need to be re-programmed to work with the car because of what’s known as an engine immobilizer. These immobilizers are what make the car not start when someone is trying to steal a car or replacing an ECU. It basically shuts all power down to the car until the original ECU is put back into the car or the correct key is used to start the car. Generally your only way around this is to have the new ECU you buy from Toms, the dealer, or a remanufacturer re-programmed by the dealer. Other cars don’t have an immobilizer and the ECU needs programming to get the car information stored into it.

Getting an ECU re-programmed?

Unfortunately I’m not a guru on this subject and I don’t know exactly which ECU’s need to be programmed. What I do know is the dealer is a pain in the rear when it comes to this. The dealer won’t do it half of the time because you didn’t buy the part from them. Some dealers are easy going and will do this for you at an extra charge. Every time I get asked about this my advice is to call the dealer ahead of time to see if it needs to be re-programmed and if they will do it for you.

What car makes need re-programming?

At this time we really don’t know exactly which ECU’s need re-programming. The few that we do know are: newer Toyotas, Lexus, Mercedes, Volvo, also some Nissans like Sentra. The reason for this is because almost all these cars have immobilizers. This is where the dealer comes in and having to call them for that information. Also the headache of finding out the dealer won’t do it! At that point the search begins for a specialist in your make or just a good all around mechanic that has the hardware to do this for you.

When you’re ordering an ECU

Before you make the call to find one or even start looking you want the part number from your old ECU. Do not supply anyone with the part number from the dealer if they gave you one. The reason for this is because that is a newer number and most of the time we can’t look it up in our systems. We want the number from your old ECU.

So in closing I hope this helps you in your next purchase of an ECU. Also if you ever need help please don’t be afraid to call us or comment here. We are always willing to help!