Brad Pistotnik Law
Abogado El Toro

Can Mechanical Defects Cause an Engine Control Unit to Fail?

Can mechanical defects cause an Engine Control Unit (ECU) to fail? Can this failure cause the driver to lose control over the vehicle? The ECU controls engine function on modern trucks and automobiles. It's the vehicle's "brain," and when it's on the fritz, it can cause problems that ripple through the engine and drivetrain. In turn, this can result in the driver losing control and causing a motor vehicle accident in Kansas.

Causes of ECU Failure

ECU failure can occur because of a dead battery or bad battery connection. If the wires connecting the battery to the ECU are damaged or faulty, this can cause the ECU to malfunction without warning.

Corrosion is another cause of ECU failure. If the seals surrounding the internal components are damaged, dried out, or improperly installed, this can allow moisture to enter the case. This causes corrosion, which can cause the sudden and unexpected failure of the ECU.

Battery problems and broken seals are mechanical defects that can lead to grounding. Both can restrict the flow of electrical current within the ECU. These issues can cause a low-voltage fault, which can cause the ECU to behave erratically.

When a mechanical defect occurs during the design process, the vehicle manufacturer or parts supplier can be liable for the accidents and injuries the defect causes. Most recently, GM recalled the 2018 Chevrolet Malibu due to the potential for data within the ECU to become corrupted and lead to vehicle malfunction that can cause the cars to stall and crash. Finally, if the ECU is damaged during repairs, the mechanic can be held liable because it was their actions that led to the failure.

The Risks of Technology

As with the Chevy Malibu, Hyundai issued a similar recall in January 2019. Problems with software within the company's ECU's caused engine damage that could result in sudden failure. In Fall 2019, Subaru recalled nearly 240,000 Crosstrek and Impreza models for problems with the ECU. The problem with these is the ignition coils can heat up and cause a short, which can then blow a fuse and cause sudden power loss.

Most people don't realize that the ECU is damaged and failing until problems with other systems begin to emerge. It's not until the vehicle stalls, suddenly accelerates, lurches, or veers to the side that the vehicle operator detects a problem. This may not become apparent until after the accident has already occurred and an examination of the ECU uncovers the mechanical defect.

Contact Brad Pistotnik Law at 1-800-241-BRAD or call us on our local line at 316-684-4400. We'll help you recover compensation when mechanical defects cause personal injuries, property damage, or wrongful deaths. We represent clients pursuing personal injury claims in Kansas, Nebraska, Missouri, or Texas. Day or night, holidays or weekends, we are available to give you the answers you need. You can call Brad Pistotnik on his cell at 316-706-5020. You can reach Tony Atterbury on his cell at 316-617-9237.