In Layman’s Terms: Your Car’s Computer Brain

February 12, 2018

A little over  a week ago, we let you in on how that little piece of tech controls the amount of fuel that is fed to your vehicle, also know as Electronic Fuel Injection. That piece gave a layman’s perspective on how fuel is injected into the combustion chamber, ideally done in the most efficient manner. But what determines how much fuel is fed into the system, you ask?

This is the job of the Electronic Control Unit. Thanks to ever-tightening emissions control laws set by the likes of the Environmental Protection Agency, the internal combustion engine has had to work in a way that produces the most amount of power yet emits the least amount of harmful exhaust emissions.

The vehicle’s computer brain, as most people like to call it, uses a host of sensors that determine, among other things, the optimum air/fuel mixture that goes into the combustion chamber. These sensors take into account stuff like engine load, temperature, altitude, and other factors. These are then used to compute for the best mixture that will give optimum power while still ensuring that the vehicle isn’t spewing out large amounts of harmful gases.

Of course, this is easier than it sounds, especially when you consider that the ECU has to take note of and compute for other engine functions. Things like engine and coolant temperatures, idle speed, crankcase angle, and the like, are constantly monitored and manipulated to ensure that each one is working at an optimum level. In short, the computer bran has to process a ton of data each second.

Isn’t it comforting to know that there is a computer brain that makes sure your vehicle is working in top form?

About the Author

Mr. Gerard Jude Castillo
Gerard has been a self-confessed car nut ever since he was a little boy. As a grown-up, he indulges in his passion by collecting toy cars (which he started since childhood) and reading up on the latest cars out there.  As Associate Editor, he will ensure that you get your fill of the latest cars in the market, as well as a load of automotive features.