The ABCs of Automotive Control Module Acronyms | Module Experts

There is a whole host of intricate and finely-calibrated control modules that are designed to keep your vehicle in precise working order. An imbalance in any one of them could prove to be disastrous to the optimal functioning of your vehicle. Here are a few (of many) components that we service, their acronyms, and common names.

ECM (Electronic Control Module)

This module is known by a couple of other names including the Engine Control Unit (ECU) and Powertrain Control Module (PCM). The key functions of the ECM are to regulate the timing of the ignition, the amount of fuel delivered to the engine and other elements that meet the precise parameters that your vehicle’s engine requires to run smoothly. This is accomplished by the module constantly reading values obtained by various performance maps and using signals generated by other devices monitoring the engine.

ABS (Anti-lock Braking System or Anti-skid Braking System)

This automobile safety system allows the wheels on a motor vehicle to maintain tractive contact with the road surface according to driver inputs while braking, preventing the wheels from locking up (ceasing rotation) and avoiding uncontrolled skidding.

EBCM (Electronic Brake Control Module)

The EBCM reads the braking system’s sensors and activates the ABS or traction control system when it detects it is necessary. When the EBCM fails, it can disable the ABS and sometimes cause issues with braking the vehicle.

BCM (Body Control Module)

Found on GM vehicles, the BCM is known by many names depending on manufacturer.

  • CTM (Central Timer Module): Found on Chrysler vehicles.
  • GEM (General Electronic Module): Found mostly on Ford vehicles.

The Body Control Module (BCM) could be considered a central organizational module for your vehicle. It streamlines the manufacturing and troubleshooting aspects of electronic modules by housing the modules into one, central unit instead of each function having its own device. It also coordinates the operating functions of many auxiliary items such as; Battery Saver Functions, Exterior and Interior Lamps, Cargo Lamps, Chime Warning, Courtesy Lamps, Dome Lamps, Dome Defeat, Door Ajar Switch Status, Fog Lamps, Head Lamp Time Delay, Intermittent Wiper Controls, Low and High Beam Head Lamps, Horn, Park Lamps, Central Locking, Horn Chirp, Instrumentation Lighting and Gauges, Speedometer, Radio, Power Door Locks, Remote Radio, Remote Keyless Entry (RKE), Security; Vehicle Anti-Theft Security System (VTSS), Passive Anti-Theft System (PATS), (PASSKEY), etc.

TIPM (Totally Integrated Power Module)

A Chrysler part, the Totally Integrated Power Module (TIPM) is the powerhouse of the electrical system of your vehicle. It regulates everything from the ground up including the ignition, safety features and comfort elements.

FCM (Front Control Module)

The Front Control Module is a circuit-board based module that handles all electrical input and information for Chrysler, Dodge and some Ford vehicles. It receives information from hard wired switch inputs as well as PCI bus circuit data.

LCM (Light Control Module)

The Light Control Module controls the car’s exterior lights, as well as the horn function.

FICM (Fuel Injection Control Module)

Found on Ford Power Stroke Diesel applications. It sends an electrical impulse to the injector, to deliver the correct amount of fuel to the engine cylinder at the precise moment it’s needed. It’s vitally important to the engine’s performance and fuel economy.

IDM (Injector Driver Module)

Found on Ford Power Stroke Diesel applications. The primary function of the IDM is to boost the DC (direct current) signal sufficiently to operate the fuel injector under such loads.

TCM (Transmission Control Module)

The backbone of the modern transmission system, the Transmission Control Module (TCM) typically uses both data from the ECM and various vehicle sensors to determine the appropriate time to shift gears. The primary goals of the TCM is to maintain the most favorable shift points, fuel efficiency and performance.

TCCM (Transfer Case Control Module)

The TCCM processes the shift request from the dash mounted mode selector buttons, executes the shift, and verifies the shift was completed.


If your vehicle is experiencing problems with any of the above control modules, contact ModuleExperts. Our team of industry professionals has more than 100 years of combined experience in vehicle module diagnostics and repairs. We’re proud to offer our customers a comprehensive solution for all of their control module needs, which is proven by our A+ BBB rating.