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Jeep Cherokee Engine Computers

Improve and maximize efficiency in your Jeep Cherokee with an engine computer. Peruse a range of products that can help your Jeep run smoothly and produce fewer emissions. Here are five questions and answers that demystify this powerful automotive part.

Can you get any year computer for your Jeep model?

Each year, Jeep installs a new computer kit in each car model. Each computer is designed and programmed specifically to digitize information from an array of analog sensors that are unique to each year and model. Buying and installing a computer for a different year may result in reduced efficiency or costly malfunctions. Fortunately, engine computers for decades’ worth of Jeep Cherokee are available, so finding multiple options for your Cherokee year is quite possible.

What are the relative benefits of modules and units?

Jeep engine computer modules (ECM) are a type of electronic control unit (ECU), which are embedded in all vehicles. It's common to see the abbreviations ECM and ECU used interchangeably, or to see ECU used interchangeably with abbreviations for other types of modules and units, such as the powertrain control module (PCM) and the transmission control unit (TCU).

The benefits of all ECUs include precise, highly efficient control of electrical systems and subsystems within your Cherokee, yielding greater delivery of power, fuel efficiency, and smoother maneuvering.

What is a programmed ECM?

ECMs are pre-programmed by the manufacturer, and they are re-programmable. When they are purchased as aftermarket products, they are re-programmed by some third parties as a courtesy. The ECM arrives to you ready to plug and play, so to speak. However, re-programming your purchased computer is equally doable on your own, so either option is worth considering. Re-programming or resetting your ECM, sometimes called "flashing," often requires unplugging your battery, plugging up the ECM, waiting, and re-plugging your battery.

Does the vehicle identification number (VIN) relate to the ECM?

Your VIN corresponds to the specific ECM that your Cherokee year requires. Jeep uses your VIN to transmit continuous updates to your ECM, resulting in better mileage, less pollution, and improved handling. Your VIN lets potential vendors program the ECM you purchase to the specifications of your Jeep Cherokee.

Your VIN also helps you shop for engine computers. Since your VIN indicates the type of engine you have, your model, trim, and year, knowing it can help you isolate the precise ECMs intended for your vehicle.

Do you need a PCM and an ECM?

It depends on your Jeep Cherokee. Some years have a PCM, and other years have an ECM and other modules separately. A PCM is a consolidated control unit boasting an ECM and a TCU. A PCM consolidates the control of more than 100 factors within your Jeep. Enthusiasts say the combination of a TCU and an ECM into one module enhances the transfer of power from engine to powertrain, imparting superior handling.

One definite benefit of a PCM is the ability to create diagnostic codes relating to malfunctioning components. Later, these codes provide a straightforward, simplified means for a mechanic to diagnose and correct any vehicle's problem.