BRAKEmax Blog
Is it time for your car’s computer to get an update?

Published on October 25, 2016 by

Updates are used to optimize all computers, and the one in your car is no exception.

We don’t often think about it, but most of our vehicles run on a number of computer modules that operate just like a computer at your home or office:

PCM / ECM: Powertrain Control Module / Electronic Control Module
Controls 100+ functions and systems, like:
– Oxygen Sensor Monitoring
– Spark Plug Timing
– Fuel Delivery / Efficiency
– and dozens more.

BCM: Body Control Module
Controls multiple electronic components, such as door locks, power windows, mirrors, air conditioning, etc.

TCM: Transmission Control Module
Controls transmission functions. On some vehicles this is a separate module from the PCM, on others they are the same device.

EBCM: Electronic Brake Control Module
Governs the Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) or the Electronic Stability Control (ESC) components in a vehicle.

As technology continues to advance, manufacturers release updates to the software that controls and monitors systems on your  vehicle. These updates include changes that increase your vehicle’s efficiency, like modifying shift timing, improved performance and lifetime of mechanical components such as the A/C Compressor.

We’ve all had computers that required updates because programmers discovered bugs in their original software. These bugs can cause false alarm Check Engine Lights or reduced efficiency and increased component wear-and-tear.

How do I know if an update is necessary on my car?

Technician Service Bulletins (TSBs, for short) are released by vehicle manufacturers to address all types of vehicle problems, like safety issues, redesigned parts, wiring changes and many more. Likewise, manufacturers release these bulletins when a new software update is available in order to alert technicians and the public.

When a BRAKEmax Expert Flashing Technician inspects your vehicle for updates, they will use an OBD-II computer to analyze your system for any current or previous Diagnostic Trouble Codes (DTCs) which usually cause a Check Engine Light.

Then, the technician will assess your vehicle’s on-board software versions. If a newer update is available, the technician will let you know.

We are proud to say that BRAKEmax Expert Flashing Technicians are some of the best-trained technicians in the industry, for a number of reasons:

World-class support systems and procedures

I.T. Manager James Peyton oversees the flashing program, and is available 24 hours a day and 7 days a week to assist with any questions with flashing. The senior flashing technicians in the company assist with support and best practices in the flashing arena.

Technicians have access to a password-protected site that provides all of the up-to-date flashing information and bulletins to ensure that they have access to all of the most current technology.

Continuing Education

Technicians are provided with ample materials to improve their knowledge of vehicle electrical systems. James visits locations on a daily basis to keep them abreast of any late-breaking  updates or procedures.  BRAKEmax has dozens of technicians at our locations who are currently ASE Certified, many of whom are Master ASE Technicians.


This article was written by . Jeffry has worked with internet technology and graphic design for most of his life. He came to BRAKEmax in May of 2012 after a 7-year stint operating a local automotive service center. He married his wife Kerri in 2006; they have a son, Maxwell, and a daughter, Abby. When he's not at work, Jeffry enjoys cheering for the greatest sports team in the world, the Denver Broncos.

Other articles you might enjoy: