How to Troubleshoot like a Car Electrical Specialist
Car troubleshooting is usually a complicated procedure, but troubleshooting an electrical problem tends to be a whole other level or frustration entirely. If you are in the thick of it, don’t worry. You might blow your temper, but since cars use DC (direct current) you won’t get more than a tingle of a shock, even if your shoes are wet and you are standing in a puddle. If you’ve got a hybrid or electric vehicle, however, we recommend just taking it to a professional car electrical specialist. Trust us.
If you have a good old fashioned gas powered vehicle, you don’t necessarily need to be a car electrical specialist to self-diagnose basic problems. Just keep in mind that you may end up needing to call a professional anyway once you get an idea of what the problem actually is.
Start By Checking Your Circuits for Electrical Problems
The first step to checking your car’s electrical system is to check for the presence of voltage at what is called the load point of a circuit. The load point is simply the thing that is supposed to be turning on when you flip the switch. You will need either a voltmeter or a 12-volt test light that glows when there is voltage to safely check whether or not the current is getting to where it needs to go.
If there is no voltage, your easiest car troubleshooting technique is to check your car’s fusebox. There are usually at least two fuseboxes in your car, with one located under the dash and another under the hood. There should be a diagram on the panel that protects the fusebox and in your car’s owner’s manual that describes what each fuse powers. If you know that your power mirrors or dash lights aren’t working properly you can use that diagram to figure out just which fuse is connected to that function of your car.
Have Fun Taking Care of Car Troubleshooting Your Fusebox
After you have figured out which fuse is the correct one, you need to pull it out of the box and inspect it. There is often a tool packed in the fuse box that is designed to remove the fuses, but if it is missing, you can gently use a screwdriver or pair of needle nosed pliers to do the job. Gently. Once the fuse in question is out take a look at it. If the metal inside the fuse is blackened or broken, you may have just solved your car diagnostics problem.
You will need to replace the fuse with one of the same voltage—this information will be written on the fuse itself and will also be on the diagram you consulted earlier. The fuses themselves are also color coded to make things easier because they are so small. Car fuseboxes often have a few spares included in just in case. The fuse box diagram will be able to tell you which are available for you to take. If there are none available, any auto parts store will sell you replacement fuses for a few dollars. Pop the new fuse in and make sure that it is seated fully before trying to use your power mirrors or whatever it is that wasn’t working before. If it turns on, you are in business. You may not be a car electrical specialist, but you fixed this problem.
When To Call A Car Electrical Specialist To Take Over
If the fuse wasn’t blown, a new fuse didn’t fix the problem, you tried to use the electrical item again and you hear a pop and it turns off immediately, or it simply doesn’t turn on at all, it’s time to get a real car electrical specialist involved. If your fuse immediately breaks when you turn the item on, there is something in the system causing too much power to be produced when you turn the component on. The fuse breaking protects your car from an electrical disaster, which is a good thing.
It also means the component will continue not working until a professional car electrical specialist takes care of the car diagnostics. They can isolate, solve and repair the problem for you. And if you’ve just read the previous paragraphs and felt yourself go a little bit cross-eyed because you aren’t sure what these things mean, call the car electrical specialist at your trusted auto repair shop first. In the time you go buy yourself a voltmeter, and have watched a couple of YouTube videos to figure things out for yourself, you could potentially have your problem solved. Trust us, if you are already confused, don’t waste any more time, take it to the specialists, and get back on the road ASAP.