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Does Jump Starting a Car Damage the Computer?

Photo of Man Inspecting Car Engine

It has happened to most drivers, preparing to start the car, just to discover the battery is flat-lined. The quickest fix is to jump-start the vehicle, but most people don’t know how to perform it safely. It’s a routine process with older cars, but the extra voltage can disrupt the Electronic Control Unit (ECU), popularly known as the computer, resulting in a hefty repair bill.

However, if the damage occurs, searching for auto electrical repairs in Brandon FL, where technicians are on standby to fix the issue, is important.

Let’s make an overview and learn how to avoid the pitfall.

How Valuable Is the Computer

Fly-by-wire was a concept reserved for airplanes, but modern electronics are reshaping the design of cars, thanks to the Electronic Control Unit. The ECU is a powerful system capable of accumulating data from dozens of sensors all over the vehicle, receiving real-time information. 

Apart from supervising efficiency, the ECU manages every aspect of the engine’s performance, climate controls, braking systems, and much more. The ECU analyzes maintenance information and adjusts performance for optimum efficiency.

Although the design of modern automotive electronics accounts for harmful transient conditions, there is always a risk that a jump-start will damage a vehicle’s electronics.

What Car Systems are Vulnerable

The most serious problem resulting from faulty jump starting is a blown ECU, which can paralyze a vehicle. However, other components can be damaged and affect the functionality and safety of the car. 

The systems at risk from a power surge are:

  • Damage to the power steering;
  • Airbag system;
  • Climate control;
  • Compromised traction control systems;
  • Inconsistency with Start/Stop systems.

Tips for Extending ECU’s Life Expectancy

Man checking car's motor engine

The computer has become the brain of the car. It coordinates multiple systems in today's complex vehicles. The benefits of the ECU are enormous, but so are the risks. There are several crucial steps drives should follow to avoid damaging the computer in the car:

  • Check the battery for physical damage. Leaking acid or the smell of rotten eggs can be a good indicator of a ruptured casing. Never attempt to jump-start a faulty battery.
  • Use high-end jumper leads with adequate protection. Purchasing cables from a reputable manufacturer can prevent unnecessary costly repairs.  
  • Do not connect the jump leads while the key is in the ignition. Not abiding by this recommendation can create coding issues between the key and the ECU, which may be irreversible.
  • First, attach the positive leads of both batteries and then connect the negative leads. This method will cushion the flow of power and prevent power surges.
  • Double-check the correct polarity of the jumper leads. Although manufacturers install voltage protection devices and do not rely exclusively on them, the fuses may not work in time.
  • Seek professional assistance if unsure about the proper way to jump-start a car. Better to be safe than sorry.

ECU Repair Services in Brandon, Florida 

The car computer connects to every system, fine-tuning the engine performance, and detecting problems.    

When the ECU haywires contact Auto Works of Brandon, the best auto electrical repairs in Brandon FL - we’re here to help. Our certified technicians will diagnose the problem and quickly repair the issue. Other than electrical repairs, we offer complete car care and repair services for domestic, Asian, and European vehicles. 

Contact us for professional assistance with any electrical issues with your vehicle. Fixing it right the first time is what we do!

Categories:

Car Maintenance
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