As an amateur mechanic, I often run into electrical issues when working on cars. Tracing down and repairing faulty wiring can be frustrating, but these common problems usually stem from just a few root causes. With some basic diagnostic steps and tools, you can track down and fix most automotive electrical gremlins yourself.

Conducting a Systematic Inspection of the Wiring

The first step in diagnosing any electrical issue is to thoroughly inspect the wiring harness. Look for:

Inspect the harness routing looking for:

Testing Connections with a Multimeter

An inexpensive multimeter is the most useful tool for diagnosing electrical faults. Set to ohms mode, it can measure resistance in circults and connections.

The multimeter can also be used to isolate shorts by determining if a blown fuse is due to a short to power or ground.

Choosing Where to Start Hunting for Issues

In general, start diagnosis at one end of the affected circuit and work methodically towards the other end. However, a strategic approach can often zero in on the likely fault location faster:

Common Wiring Repairs and Solutions

Here are some typical DIY wiring repairs you can tackle:

Fraying Wires

Broken Wires

Loose or Corroded Connectors

Rodent Damaged Wires

With methodical troubleshooting and a few key tools, you can repair many common automotive electrical issues yourself. Knowing the right techniques will save you time, money and frustration.