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GM Control Module Programming
Today's vehicles often have modules that will require a form of programming at some point. Most of the instances where we see vehicles need to be programmed is when control modules were replaced because they failed. There are also instances where reprogramming a module will help you fix issues that you may be experiencing with your vehicle.
What is Control Module Programming?
The easiest way to describe this is to equate it to a personal computer. In your home you likely have at least one device with access to the internet. That device will require you to perform "updates" from time to time. The updates you see the most often would be "Windows" updates through the update console or "Mac" updates through the App Store. These are similar to what today's vehicle will require.
The correct correlation would likely be a "BIOS update". BIOS updates on your PC provide essential information to the motherboard of your PC to instruct it how to operate and what important changes were made through fixing issues in other machines with the same hardware.
Vehicle manufacturers constantly troubleshoot issues with hundreds of thousands of vehicles worldwide. At times, those issues can be easily corrected by making small changes to how a control module in your vehicle functions. Control Modules are equivalent to small PC's that manage or control a specific set of controls within your vehicle. In today's vehicles, many control modules rely on one another to transfer important and pertinent vehicle information.
An example of that would be radio volume in relation to vehicle speed. Many GM vehicles 2003 and up have an option where the radio volume will adjust accordingly to the speed of the vehicle. The theory is that the faster you go, the louder the road and engine noise will be in the cabin of the vehicle. Essentially drowning out the radio with that noise. This GM feature will take your wheel speed and automatically adjust the volume based on their information of decibel levels at certain wheel speeds.
The process would work in this fashion:
Wheel speed is transmitted from the ABS sensors to the ABS Control Module.
The ABS Control Module will then relay that information through the CAN (Controller Area Network) to the Body Control Module.
The Body Control Module then receives that information and relays it to the Radio Control Module via the CAN.
The Radio Control Module then has instructions to respond appropriately to the wheel speed information is has received from the Body Control Module.
This process happens in fractions of a second. It is a constant and never ending process if you have it enabled. So as you speed up and slow down, the volume is adjusted accordingly. Please note that this is not the exact engineering process provided to me by GM, but the simplified process we have been taught in the never ending classes we take each year. The actual process may differ slightly but in basic theory, that's what happens. Most vehicle manufacturers that have this option in their vehicles will have it operate in a similar fashion.
What Kind Of Control Modules May Require Programming?
GM vehicles along with all vehicles generally will have different lists of modules. The amount and type of modules will vary greatly by vehicle model and options package from initial order. For instance, the Corvette Z06 may contain different modules than the base Corvette with no added options. Below is an example of some modules you can expect to find in today's vehicles.
- BCM - Body Control Module
- CCM - Coupling Control Module
- DDM - Driver Door Module
- EBCM - Electronic Brake Control Module
- ECM - Engine Control Module
- HUD - Heads Up Display
- HVAC - Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning
- IPC - Instrument Panel Cluster
- MHSM - Memory Heasted Seat Module
- ONSA - OnStar Activation
- PDM - Passenger Door Module
- PLGM - Platform Liftgate Module
- PPSU - Passenger Presence System
- RAD - Radio
- RCDLR - Remote Control Door Lock Receiver
- RSE - Remote Start Enable/Disable
- SDM - Sensing and Diagnostic Module
- TCM - Transmission Control Module
- TDM - Theft Deterrent Module
- UPA - Park Assist Module
- V.T.D. - Vehicle Theft Deterrent Learn
How Do I Know What Control Modules My GM Car Has?
GM vehicles from 2013 have a significant amount of modules in comparison to vehicles from 1993, or even 2003 for that matter. For a specific list of modules that your car likely contains, please look up your vehicle here: https://tis2web.service.gm.com/tis2web .
There you can input your vehicles VIN number and get a detailed list of the exact control modules within the vehicle.
In order to be able to successfully navigate the Control Modules and their available options, you will need to find the SPID (Service Parts Identification Label) on your GM car. This will give you a label similar to this one:
This image is credited to MarksAutoParts (http://marksautoparts.wordpress.com/2013/01/21/general-motors-service-parts-identification-label-explained/) . You can also find a detailed explanation on this label on that website.
For an explanation on what each RPO code means, you can navigate through this website: http://www.c2e.info/rpocodes/
Where Can My GM Control Modules Be Reprogrammed?
At Joman Auto Service we have the equipment and capabilities to successfully reprogram and update any GM vehicle. Please contact us or schedule an appointment to have your vehicle evaluated and/or reprogrammed with the latest GM calibration files.