A For Audi' s got it cracked when it comes to car maintenance
When Colossus was built in December 1943 to help code breakers at the top secret Bletchley Park read enemy messages it was 7ft high by 17ft wide and 11ft deep. It weighed weighed five tonnes and used 8kW of power and required 7 km of wiring to calculate 25,000 characters a second.
Today, the average computer or Electronic Control Unit (ECU) in your car has the power to process one trillion operations in the same time, weighs about 226g and is small enough, about 20cm by 10cm and 3cm deep, to hold in one hand. And, instead of being used for a single purpose a car’s ECU is responsible for almost everything a vehicle does. From mixing the right amount of fuel with air to keep the engine running smoothly and monitoring emissions to controlling the Anti-lock Braking System and cruise control, among lots of other things. The ECU is a vital component to keeping a car on the road.
(Photo by Ian Petticrew CC BY-SA 2.0)
“The modern car computer is an incredible piece of kit and it is improving all the time,”said Alan Wells, diagnostic Master Technician at A For Audi.
“It’s amazing to think that a little box this size is responsible for so many important features but, like everything else it needs to be looked after. ”Whenever an Audi, BMW or Porsche vehicle comes into A for Audi’s state-of-the art independent service centre in Clydebank it’s Alan’s job to plug in the vehicle to the garage’s highly specialised equipment and identify potential problems.
“Occasionally things go wrong. A customer may come in because a dashboard warning light has come on. We will connect the car up to our our computer and check it out,”said Alan, a highly trained and experienced Technician, who is more likely to use an iPad or laptop to find a fault before even reaching for a spanner.
“Cars are always improving and the electronic systems become more complicated. By using the correct equipment and the latest software we can diagnose the problem, pin point exactly where the fault lies and fix it quickly and efficiently.“A lot of safety features rely on the ECU so it is important that regular checks are made to ensure everything is working properly. It’s all part of the service we provide at A For Audi.”