Life Span of Control Modules - Module Experts

As technology continues to advance and move forward, so does the way our vehicles operate and run. It seems more and more parts rely on computers, sensors, and capacitors than ever before. The ECM or Electronic Control Module (Engine Control Module) and PCM or Powertrain Control Module are both examples of these technological advancements. There are many factors that affect their life span.

Build Quality

Like the vehicle itself, the build quality of Electronic Control Modules varies greatly which in turn can affect the lifespan of the part. Some manufacturers use inferior parts and encase the circuit boards in a plastic housing. This is done to save costs and to reduce the weight of the module. Because of this, a shorter life span of the Control Module may result.

External Factors


Where the module is placed in the vehicle matters greatly in when it comes to the life span of the ECM. In the engine compartment, the Electronic Control Module is exposed to the elements; extreme heat, moisture that causes corrosion, and humidity all negatively affect Electronic Control Modules. Exposed wires, plugs, and adapters have also been appetizing to rats and other rodents! Modules located in the trunk are also exposed to excessive heat and again, many times the wires, plugs, and adapters are exposed.

The BCM or Body Control Module, also known as GEM Module (General Electric Module) and Multi-Function Module, are typically located inside the vehicle; either under the dash, under the seat, or inside the kick panel. While seemingly safe from the elements other than heat, these units are typically made of cheap plastic and are not very durable. A similar part, the Front Control Module, however is located in the engine compartment. The combination of the low quality housing and exposure to extreme heat can lead to an increase in the number of times these types of control modules need to be repaired or replaced, comparable to other types of modules.

The TCM or Transmission Control Module is almost always exposed, sometimes located within the PCM in the engine compartment or attached to the transmission.


There are a host of other external factors that affect the life span of Electronic Control Modules including;

  • Electric shorts, overcharged electric surges, wiring harness issues, and rodents all can cause damage shortening the life span of the Electronic Control Module.
  • Bad coils and spark plugs on some vehicles can affect the electronic charge sent to the Electronic Control Module causing damage & shortening the life span of the Electronic Control Module.
  • Damage from any collision can impair or completely ruin an Electronic Control Module.

Internal Factors

The most common issues within the module itself are the basic degradation to the internal components of the Electronic Control Module including leaking or burnt capacitors, damaged trace lines and weak solder joints.

Solutions to Your ECM Problems!

ModuleExperts understands that every module situation is unique, which is why we offer several options when it comes to providing solutions for malfunctioning Electronic Control Modules. Selecting your best option depends on a number of different factors including how much life may be left in a particular Electronic Control Module. In some cases, a Remanufactured Replacement Electronic Control Module may be the solution that best meets your needs.

ModuleExperts can perform a complete Diagnostic Evaluation Service (DES) to determine if “there is any life left” in your Electronic Control Module. Our DES includes;

  • External inspection and internal examination.
  • Communication check.
  • Testing of components, capacitors, solder, trace lines, internal circuit board, processor and more.

ModuleExperts understands how important it is to get back on the road quickly and at an affordable cost. We strive to help customers make a safe and smart buying decision without compromising on quality. For more information on our services or to speak with an experienced Parts Associate, call (888) 593-2262.