Used Engine Brain Box
Most modern cars will not work without automotive computers that receive signals from sensors and make decisions to improve performance. While the Controler Area Network has increased efficiency, the fine electronics involved are sensitive to electromagnetic waves and other interference. They can be damaged; the good news is that a mechanic would just say, “You need a used engine brain box.”
Most cars never have to replace their on-board computer. They require low current, are unique in operating with 12 volts, and usually have the processing power to match the tasks their software is prepared to handle. Newer cars have more powerful computers that are connected to a more complicated network of sensors. They control more automated gadgets. While all these gadgets must be inspected by a technician, the central computer itself ought to last for decades without maintenance.
If it does malfunction, then there are plenty of spare parts from the manufacturer. After a car has been on the market for a few years, CAN computers are collected and stored like other used auto parts. These used engine brain boxes are easy to install, and a prized car should run without any further difficulty. Most do not need upgrades, although a technician can access the CAN with a handheld device for both inspection and to apply aftermarket upgrades.
Since computers run off of software, a programmer familiar with the code can right their own and optimize their vehicle’s performance as they please. This is the upside of used automotive computers; sometimes they are upgraded with better code and the vehicle might respond better under harsh conditions. Some aftermarket parts are upgrades specifically for the CAN, and they promise small improvements in efficiency and handling.
Vehicles built before the 1990s frequently used carburetors to mix fuel with air and distribute this fuel-air mixture to the cylinders for combustion. The owner of a car or truck had to use their own senses to determine if the transmission was overheating or if the radiator was malfunctioning. Most of the processing was done with mechanical devices, and the spark plugs were fired by devices attached to the timing belt. While it worked, it is not as precise as computerized fuel injection. It is better to use cars with computers, simply because they use fuel more efficiently.
Today’s cars have hundreds of wires running through the engine compartment and everywhere else. Only a technician can understand all of these wires, and often the latest cars can only have their electronics adjusted by a specialist trained by the dealer. Larger wires and standard fuses can still be maintained by a general or home mechanic, but today’s cars are definitely more sophisticated. The good news is that all these wires still connect to a single point. The central computer is a single unit that can be disconnected and replaced with common hand tools.
A smart dealer of used auto parts can find a used engine brain box. They are supplied by the dealer, and older cars end up with plenty on the used parts market. There is no reason to think a car is permanently beat because its computer is fried. Simply talk to a professional who collects and understands these parts. They can be replaced in less than an hour, and even diagnostic tools are standard equipment. You can get back into your beloved ride without spending thousands of dollars.