The national cost for a pcm relay replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $29 and $242 with an average of $57.

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HOW IT WORKS

What is a PCM relay and how does it work?

A PCM relay is an electrical device used to switch power on and off to the powertrain control module.

Today’s vehicles rely heavily on computer controls. Depending on the vehicle make and model, the main computer that controls engine function is the engine control module, or ECM. Some manufacturers, however, include the transmission and other powertrain components under the control of the computer. In those cases, where the engine and transmission are both monitored and controlled together, a powertrain control module, or PCM, is used.

The PCM is a rather large electronic device with, in some cases, more than a hundred wires connected to it that lead to all areas of the engine and transmission. Due to the immense amount of functions of the PCM, it uses a considerable amount of electricity. The PCM is powered on when you turn the key or press a button to start the engine, but only indirectly so. That is because all of the power required for the PCM would overload the ignition switch. Therefore, a relay - the PCM relay - switches the PCM on and off instead.

As is the case with other relays, the PCM relay is essentially a large capacity switch that is “switched” by a smaller capacity circuit. In this case, a relatively small electrical current from the ignition switch is able to turn on and off the larger PCM circuit through the relay.

HOW IS THIS SERVICE PERFORMED?

How is a a PCM Relay Replacement done?

A PCM relay is generally located inside of a weather-sealed fuse and relay box or “block”. Replacement of a PCM relay is a relatively simple procedure. In order to replace the device, a technician will typically need to remove any components blocking access to the fuse block, remove the water-tight cover, identify the proper relay, and remove the relay with a puller tool. The new relay is plugged into the same space in the fuse/relay block, and the cover is reinstalled. The technician will likely verify the repair by road testing the vehicle and checking for any PCM-related diagnostic trouble codes with a scan tool.



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POPULAR VEHICLES

National average cost of a a PCM Relay Replacement
for popular vehicles:

Car Model

Avg. cost

$50

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COMMON SYMPTOMS

How do I know if my vehicle needs a PCM relay replacement?

If the PCM relay is bad, the likelihood is that the vehicle’s main computer, the PCM, will not get power. When that occurs, any sensor, module, or system that relies on the PCM will be unable to function. Because of this, a bad PCM relay can lead to any number of issues, the most likely of which include:


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Your engine will not start

The engine stalls without warning

All gauges that monitor engine and transmission function cease to work

Your vehicle refuses to respond to functions as basic as turning on the ignition switch

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Other questions customers ask

What causes a PCM relay to go out?
PCM relays are usually well-isolated from water and other contaminants, such as dust and oil. Therefore, they are typically reliable throughout the lifetime of a vehicle. If a relay does fail, it is commonly from age and wear, usually after 100K miles or more. If it is overloaded with excessive current for some reason, the PCM relay could fail.
Does the powertrain control module affect the transmission?
Whether a vehicle relies on an engine control module (ECM) for engine function, or a powertrain control module (PCM) to monitor and control both the engine and transmission depends on the vehicle make and model. Some manufacturers incorporate an ECM (sometimes referred to as an engine control unit, or ECU), while others use a PCM.
Can an auto parts store test a powertrain control module or powertrain control module relay for free?
Some auto parts stores do offer what is often referred to as "code reading". However, this type of service is merely a surface-level scan, not a deep dive into diagnostics. Because of this, an auto parts store scan can lead to misdiagnosis. Most repair shops do not recommend you take your vehicle to a store where the goal is to sell parts, not offer a pinpoint diagnosis of a problem. To get a true powertrain control module (or PCM relay) diagnosis, make sure to have it done correctly by a qualified professional.

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