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Used computers

We need to replace the power train module computer in our 2001 Grand Caravan. For a new one we would pay $700. My husband found a used one for $150. Is it risky to install a used computer? Do they generally work OK? What is the general opinion aobut using used computers?

It could be a good deal alright but unless you have the option to return in case it has a problem or it has been verified to work ok you may want to pass on it. You can these units through parts stores and they get them from places that repair them. They are a lot less expensive than a new unit from the dealer.

PCM’s are covered by a warranty required by the Federal Gov, limits are 8yrs 80,000 miles,are you out, 2001 looks real close.

Please for the rest of the readers describe how it came to be you need a new PCM and what diagnostics were performed to come to the conclusion that a new one is needed. These parts hardly ever fail,unless you installed or jumped the battery backwards.

Buy the used one, they typically are a vehicle lifetime part. 8 years is not a lifetime.

In the world of electronics, used can be often thought of as being better than new. The reason for this is somewhat technical but I will state it anyhow. A used electronic device has gone through the infant mortality portion of the failure rate vs time portion of the “bathtub curve”.

Another way of stating it is that a used computer has been proven in service, a new one has not.

I would not say this about a used hand held electronic device that may have been subjected to repeated abnormal abuse such as being dropped on pavement, floor or being slammed down on a hard surface.

Thank you for all of your very helpful replies. Here is some more information. Our check engine light came on, we took the van in (to our very reputable mechanic) and they ran a test and called and said that the code was P0601 which means internal contoller failure of the Power Train Module. We called the Dodge dealer who said that it was the main engine computer. That is all the information we have. It is a 3.3 L engine, 2001 Caravan.

If it were my car, I would go for used if you can return it if it is DOA. You might want to find out if there is any chance that some other problem with the car killed the computer.

I conclude you are out in regards to 8yr 80K? Code clears but comes back? No driveability or autotrans shifting problem? P0601 Internal Control Module Memory,Check Sum Error,you could “google” it if you care to know if it will prevent other codes from setting or prevent closed loop operation. For 150 I would buy used.