Flash Programming For Your Car
Updating your car’s computer
PCMs (power-train control modules) may need to be reprogrammed for several reasons. One is to fix factory bugs. Every time Bill Gates rushes yet another version of Windows to market to perpetuate the Microsoft revenue stream, it always turns out to have bugs and security holes that were somehow missed but must be fixed by downloading and installing the latest Windows “service pack.” It’s a never-ending cycle of upgrades and patches. Fortunately, it is not that bad yet with automotive PCMs, but it has become a crutch for automakers who rush products to market that aren’t quite ready. This philosophy of “build it now and fix it later” creates a lot of unnecessary recalls, but at least it gives technicians a way to fix factory mistakes without having to replace any parts.
Adjustments as your car ages
A reflash may also be required if the factory settings for the OBD II (on-board diagnostic system) self-diagnostics turn out to be overly sensitive – especially after a few years of operation. The same goes for driveability. What works fine in a brand new car many not work so great after 50,000 or 100,000 miles of real-world driving. Changing the fuel enrichment curve, spark timing or some emissions control function slightly may be necessary to eliminate a hesitation, spark knock or other condition that develops over time.
An example is rich codes that may appear on some late-model vehicles. The problem here is that the original OBD II self-diagnostic programming does not allow enough leeway for changes in intake vacuum that occur as the engine ages. After 60,000 miles, intake vacuum isn’t as high as in a new engine, which can create a rich fuel condition. The cure is to flash reprogram the PCM to compensate for the drop in vacuum.
Federal Emissions Standards
When vehicle manufacturers calibrate the onboard diagnostics to meet federal emissions standards, they have to draw the line somewhere as to what operating conditions might cause emissions to exceed federal limits 1.5 times. That is the threshold where a fault code must be set and the Check Engine light must come on. It doesn’t mean emissions really are over the limit, but it is possible based on laboratory dyno testing and field experience. Depending on the application, the vehicle manufacturer may even set the limit a little lower just to be safe because the last thing any OEM wants is an expensive emissions recall.
Fixing repeating codes
The best advice when confronted with a troublesome code that keeps coming back or seems to set for no apparent reason is to check for any technical service bulletins that may have been published. Chances are it might be a programming issue that requires a reflash to fix.
Installing a new PCM
Something else to keep in mind with respect to many late-model flash reprogrammable PCMs: if you replace the PCM for any reason, the replacement unit may have to be reflashed before it will start the engine! Some modules are plug-and-play, and are preprogrammed by the dealer or aftermarket parts supplier so they can be installed ready-to-go. But many need vehicle specific calibration information to run properly. This may require downloading old calibration information from the original PCM (if possible) and reloading it into the replacement PCM, or getting updated calibration information from the vehicle manufacturer to install in the new module.
Trust the best
We have the equipment and training to get your pcm reflashed and updated to the latests specifications. There are possible power tune-ups on some makes: BMW, Land Rover, Mercedes, etc.
Yakima Audi owners need not worry about getting proper diagnostics performed on their vehicles. AutoMetrics has ASE and Bosch certified master technicians on staff and is equipped with factory or better Audi diagnostic tools so our technicians have the best tools to work with. Our ability to accurately diagnose the issue will save you time and money. This is what allows us to make the right repair and get you back on the road faster than any other Yakima auto repair shop.
– A proper diagnosis leads to a proper repair –
This is just a short list of some of the systems we repair on Audi vehicles: Brakes, engines, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control systems, fuel injection, electrical systems, transmissions, clutches, power windows and door locks, heating systems, air conditioning, axles, starters, ignitions, radiators, reprogramming, water pumps, timing belts, ball joints, control arms, wheel bearings, alternators, pre buy inspections, catalytic converters, airbags, belts and hoses, fuel pumps, washer pumps, sun roofs, head lights, tail lights, transfer cases, batteries, and body control systems.
We are the Yakima experts on Audi maintenance and service. From changing oil and all other vital fluids to performing valve adjustments, 30k service, 60k service, 90k service, tune ups, timing belts, timing chains, spark plugs, filters, headlight restoration, cooling system flushes, fuel injection cleaning, power steering flushes, transmission flushes, headlight alignments, thermostats, belts, hoses, antifungal and deodorization services for air conditioning systems, etc. AutoMetrics has all the expertise and factory repair information to ensure your car is reliable and stays dependable for years to come.