A Kia ECU may fail due to hardware failure caused by water damage, corrosion, or when jumper cables get connected backward. In some cases, a Kia ECU may fail due to software issues. Software issues can sometimes be fixed by running the latest software update, which the dealer can complete for a fee.
This guide is a step-by-step on how to replace the engine control unit on a 2018 Kia Forte. The procedure is similar for other Kia vehicles as well.
Common symptoms of a faulty Engine Control Unit (ECU) include:
- Check Engine Light stays on after fixing a problem.
- The engine turned off for no reason.
- The engine stays running when turning off-key
- No spark.
- Loss of injection pulse or fuel pump.
- Intermittent starting problems.
What you will need
- Kia Forte Engine Control Unit
- Mechanic Metric Toolset
- 10mm Socket
- Open the hood. Pull the hood release under the dashboard.
- Locate the hood latch on the vehicle’s front and press the tab to the left to unlock the hood latch.
- Pull the hood up and set the hood strut to hold the hood open.
- Disconnect the battery’s terminals by loosening the 10mm bolt and pulling the cables out. Use a 10mm socket and turn it counterclockwise to loosen the bolt. Disconnecting just the negative battery terminal is enough.
- Locate the Engine Control Unit (ECU) on the driver’s side of the engine compartment near the vehicle’s firewall.
- Unlock the clips on the ECU’s electrical connectors by pulling the clips up.
- Disconnect the electrical connectors by pulling them out of the ECU.
- Remove the 10mm bolt on the right side of the ECU’s metal plate. Use a 10mm socket and turn it counterclockwise to remove the bolt.
- Remove the two 10mm bolt below the ECU’s metal plate. Use a 10mm socket and turn it counterclockwise to remove the bolt.
- Pull the bracket and ECU out of the vehicle.
- To remove the ECU from the bracket, remove the four 10mm bolts of the ECU attached to the frame. Use a 10mm socket and turn the bolts counterclockwise to remove them.
- Line up the new Engine Control Unit into the metal plate and reinstall its four 10mm bolts by turning them clockwise.
- Place the ECU and metal plate back in the vehicle. Then reinstall the two 10mm bolts below, and one 10mm bolt on the left of the bracket.
- Reconnect the two electrical connectors of the ECU and push the clips down to set them into place.
- Reconnect the battery terminals and tighten the 10mm bolts to set them into place.
The new ECU will need to be codded before starting the engine. If the ECU is used, data of the previous vehicle will need to be cleared; then, it can be coded and programmed to work on your Kia. Kia dealerships will only install a new ECU. A Kia dealership will not install or program a used ECU.
Independent repair shops that specialize in ECU programming and coding will be able to flash a used ECU and code it to work on your vehicle.
We hope you find the Kia Engine Control Unit (ECU) Replacement guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your Kia.