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ECM FAQs

Presales Questions
What is the difference between “ECU” / “ECM” and “PCM”?

In the simplest terms, these acronyms all refer to the Engine Computer.

It is so common to hear these terms used interchangeably that many people, including some mechanics, forget there are subtle differences in what these terms refer to. So, we list all three so people can find what they need regardless of what they are looking for.

More precisely, ECU stands for Engine Control Unit while ECM stands for Engine Control Module. There is no real difference. Some auto manufacturers tend to call the individual components in the electronical system “Units”, while Chrysler prefers the term “Module”. So, when shopping Chrysler components, ECM is more correct.

PCM refers to Powertrain Control Module. This means that the device not only runs the engine but has the transmission control functions built into it. Thus “powertrain” and not just “engine”. If your vehicle has a true PCM, it will not have a separate Transmission Control Module (TCM). If your vehicle has a true ECM, there will be a separate TCM. Most late model Chrysler vehicles now ship with a PCM.

What is your Warranty Policy?

All New and Rebuilt ECMs / PCMs from MAKS come with a 1-year repair or replace warranty included.

You can optionally extend the Warranty at checkout for up to 3 years, and we offer an expedited emergency replacement option with a temporary card authorization deposit. Click here to see the full Warranty and Return Policy which is also documented within your shipment.

How can I be sure the problem is my ECM / PCM?

Check out this list of common ECM Symptoms. If you have an OBD (On-Board Diagnostics) reader tool, it is worth researching any fault codes you’re getting. If you don’t have an OBD reading tool, there is a trick to retrieve fault codes via the dashboard that works on most vehicles. It’s easy to do, and can help get to the heart of the matter quickly. Read this blog post for details and a complete description of Chrysler fault codes.

Our Customer Support team is ready to help you pre-diagnose your symptoms at 1-818-798-5558.

We want to help you first eliminate common causes, like easy-to-replace sensors that the ECM / PCM relies on to function properly. 

What if the ECM turns out not the Problem?

We understand that diagnosing Chrysler electrical problems is never a perfectly exact science. We never want you to be stuck with an ECM / PCM you don’t need. MAKS allows you to convert any purchase into a daily rental within the first 30 days. See Details in our Warranty and Return Policy. If the real problem was not the ECM / PCM, we can then help you identify other potential causes.

Does an ECM / PCM need to be preprogrammed?

Yes. We will pre-program the unit with the latest firmware revision optimized for your vehicle. If you have provided your VIN# and mileage prior to checkout, we will also configure the unit so that once shipped to you, it is “plug and play”. You may also have the unit installed and configured with VIN and mileage information by a dealer.

When you give us your VIN at checkout, we use the information encoded within it to tell us everything we need to know to program the ECM / PCM for your specific vehicle configuration which includes engine, transmission, emissions, and other parameters. We also ensure you receive the latest revision of the firmware for your vehicle’s optimal performance and safety. If you missed VIN and Mileage entry during checkout because you didn’t have your VIN# / Mileage handy at the time, be on the lookup for a follow up email or call from our customer service department to obtain this information prior to shipping.

Do you need my VIN#?

Yes. All ECMs /PCMs must be pre-configured with your unique Vehicle Identification (VIN) number which also determines the firmware revision, and configuration details of your specific vehicle. The VIN cannot be blank nor can it be from any other vehicle, as it must agree upon installation with the VIN stored in the vehicle’s other modules. This configuration can also be performed by a dealer.

Don’t worry, we’ll handle all the details to get you the exact unit / programming you need. If you don’t have your VIN number handy at checkout, you can still complete your purchase, but be on the lookout for an email / call from our Customer Service department, as we must have the VIN before shipping.

Do you need my mileage?

Yes. In some vehicles, the mileage we pre-encode into the replacement ECM / PCM will be automatically validated upon installation against other registries of the mileage already present in the vehicle. The two numbers must agree, within plus or minus 10 miles. If you will not be driving the vehicle until the replacement unit is received, you may provide the exact current mileage. If you will be driving the vehicle in the meantime, please estimate the mileage (within +/- 10 miles) that will be on the vehicle when you plan to install the new ECM / PCM.

If the mileages disagree by more than +/- 10 miles, you will be able to drive the vehicle but will get warning lights. This condition can be cleared by a dealer or properly equipped mechanic via a mileage correction.

Where do I find my VIN#?

The easiest way to find your VIN is one of the following:

1. A panel affixed to the inside door jamb on the Driver’s side
2. Inscribed on a metal plate affixed the forward-most top of the dashboard on the driver’s side. Best viewed looking through the front windshield onto the dashboard.
3. The Vehicle Registration DMV Certificate, probably in your glovebox
4. On your Proof-of-Insurance Wallet Card

The VIN# is a 17-character mix of alphabet characters and numbers. There are no “O” or “I” alphabet characters in VINs. Anything that looks like an “0” is a zero. Anything that looks like an “I” is a one.

Do you need my ECM / PCM Part#?

No. Your VIN# tells us all we need to know to ship you an ECM / PCM perfectly configured for your vehicle with the latest optimized firmware.

Is there a Core Fee?

Never. MAKS does not charge you a Core Fee on top of your ECM / PCM purchase like virtually all competitors, whereby you only get your own money back when you send in your “Core” (old, malfunctioning, ECM / PCM). Instead, we will buy your old Core outright after the replacement is installed and working perfectly. Send it in when the time is right using our Core Buyback Form, and we’ll refund its value against your original purchase. The presence or absence of core fee, or in MAKS case the presence of a buyback program, can tell you a lot. If a seller has no interest in your core, that is a sure sign the seller lacks the expertise to rebuild cores and are selling you a unit pulled directly from a salvage vehicle of unknown working order. Lean more about cores in our blog post, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Automotive Cores.

Order / Processing Questions
What is the status of my ECM / PCM Order?

When you place an order with MAKS, you will receive an immediate Order Confirmation email to the email address you supplied at checkout (check your spam folder) or call us as if you need help.

Once placed, most orders ship within 24 hours, but your order can take longer to ship depending upon our order volume. If an order ever passes the 3-day mark, we will call or email you and let you know when we expect to ship. In any case, upon shipment, you will receive an email with tracking information.

If you want to get additional text updates as the package makes its way to you, follow the link within the Shipment Confirmation email, to a page where you can add your cell number at screen-bottom. Thereafter, you’ll receive text updates on the package’s progress. Upon delivery, you will receive an additional email notifying you that the package has been delivered.

What is the status of my ECM / PCM Repair?

Starting the repair process by completing our Repair Request Form is the best way to ensure good tracking through the lifecycle of your repair. Once submitted, your repair will be tracked under the REP-# issued upon form submission. Then, when your unit is received at MAKS you will receive an email that it is now moving into the repair queue. Thereafter, usually within 48 hours, you can expect to receive a call from our Customer Service Department detailing our findings and that the repair is complete, or in rare cases, that repair costs will exceed initial expectations, and by how much, where you will have the option to approve of or decline the repair. At that time you can pay for the repair if you had not already pre-paid. In any case, upon shipment, you will receive an email with tracking information.

If you want to get additional text updates as the package makes its way to you, follow the link within the Shipment Confirmation email, to a page where you can add your cell number at screen-bottom. Thereafter, you’ll receive text updates on the package’s progress. Upon delivery, you will receive an additional email notifying you that the package has been delivered.

In the event that upon analysis, we find nothing wrong with your ECM / PCM, we will inform you and you will be charged a testing a diagnostic fee to cover our direct costs in postage and testing labor. But at least you will avoid paying for a repair you don’t need. The fee also includes our best efforts to help you isolate where the real problem lies.

Post-Installation Questions
I Installed my replacement ECM / PCM and I am still having the SAME issues

If you have already performed all of the proper reset procedures, this is invariably a sign that the real problem was not with the ECM / PCM all along.

The good news is that you hadn’t just bought a product. With MAKS you have bought into a solution partner that will help you figure out to the best of our ability where the real problem lies. This is when our award-winning customer service department shines. Call us immediately. We have access to symptom and solution databases that can point us toward the next most likely cause. And don’t worry, you won’t be stuck with a unit you don’t need. You can either convert your purchase to a short-term daily troubleshooting Rental, or we’ll apply the full purchase price to another product we may have that solves the issue. Call us at +1-818-798-5558 to explore the options.

I Installed my replacement ECM /PCM and I am now having NEW issues

Most of the time, any new issues like new dashboard warning lights, will be cleared by performing the proper reset procedures. These procedures help your vehicle “forget” the old, obsolete error conditions that may still be in memory, or any new fault codes that are a mere artifact of a fresh module’s partial synchronization within your vehicle.

If you have already performed the reset procedures, and you are still getting brand new symptoms, then something clearly went wrong. Call us immediately and together we can reverse-engineer what might be happening. We should revisit your VIN# submission, your vehicle configuration, and the installation procedures you followed. It might also help to know if you have had any major engine or drivetrain components replaced since the vehicle left the factory. Call us at +1-818-798-5558 so we can begin our investigation.