Electrical and Electronics Fault Diagnosis: Why it is Important to get it Right, Who can Do it?

by | Jan 21, 2021 | Cheap(er) Car Repairs

Similar to any other modern automobile, your vehicle is highly dependent on advanced electrical systems. The battery, alternator and the whole electrical systems control a significant amount of functionality in your car.

And unlike other mechanical problems, it is very easy to misdiagnose electrical and electronics issues. Improperly done electrical diagnosis and repair will always come back to cause more problems for you. Ideally, you should always deal with an experienced and skilled technician when it comes to electrics and associated components.

Understanding the Electrical and Electronics Fault Diagnosis

The electrical and mechanical diagnostics are usually flipped. While a mechanical diagnosis only takes a short while, an electric one can take hours. However, the eventual repair of the electrical fault can sometimes only take minutes.

The electrical process ends once the diagnosis is complete. Once the technician finds the fault, the mechanical process begins. It can be a broken or shorted wire, but it is still mechanical.

The majority of the electrical faults are simple and mostly within the circuit. Sometimes, a minor flaw, invisible to the eyes, can shut down a vehicle and ground it for some time. For example, a bit of corrosion on the wire is enough to cause trouble.

It only takes about 0.001″ of oxidation thickness on one connector pin to down the system. This slight oxidation is sufficient to bring a 500-tonne truck to a halt right in the middle of nowhere.

Diagnostic Measurement

One of the most common diagnostic measurements is voltage drop. In a professional’s hands and a functioning circuit, the voltage drop measurement cannot fail. You will find that most OEMs specify the ohm reading or resistance to make it easy.

Regardless, these types of tests are time-consuming, sometimes inconclusive, and complicated. The ohmmeter can also sometimes fail. Another challenge is that the standard ohmmeter function is only operable on small sections of the electrical systems.

It becomes a tall order to use this device to complete a definitive test on a large vehicle with an extensive wiring network.

Some of the Tools Used in Electrical Fault Diagnosis

It is not all electrical fault diagnosis tools that are fully effective. An extra pair of skilled hands is necessary to do it properly and ensure that the electrical fault does not recur.

One of the age-old tools is a test light that you will find in some vehicle maintenance shops. Unfortunately, these tools are not always handy and may blatantly miss particular faults. They are not sensitive enough.

You may also find some mechanics using an incandescent bulb tool in the diagnostics. The problem is that it can aggravate the situation on sensitive electronic systems.

Can you do the Electrical and Electronics Fault Diagnosis on Your Own?

You may have the knowledge, but the skills are critical when handling electronics and electrical faults on motor vehicles. A small misstep can ruin everything.

Admittedly, it is not easy to get hold of schematics. And if you do, some of them do not read correctly, and they can mislead you. The illustration of circuits also needs some skills developed over the years to read and interpret, and that is where certified mechanics come in.

The new and advanced electrical systems are not so different from the old electrical. They all use the same well understood concepts.

In terms of electrical fault diagnosis, any skilled and certified technician can do it. This also includes some of the newest models on the market. There isn’t such a thing as a genuinely new electrical system that your local garage cannot handle.

The Risk of Failing to do the Electrical and Electronics Fault Diagnosis Properly

Despite the numerous and complicated procedures that manufacturers write on finding electrical faults, it is a relatively simple process. Wire faults are usually three-pronged: short to ground, open and high assistance, and it takes a keen eye to find and fix them.

Some engineers conceal the OEM’s electrical system’s operation under a long and confusing logic diagram. To avoid the trouble of understanding the electrical and electronic structure, some inexperienced technicians prefer stabbing around using a test right, hoping to stumble upon the problem.

The complication with this is that it can cause more glitches with the electrical systems’ integrity. Tiny poke holes on the wire insulation can make your high-end vehicle useless for some time until the issue can be solved. The corrosion from chemical and water intrusion works its way to the wires and connectors, and in the worst-case scenario, the ECMs and expensive sensors.

Uninsulated wires caused by ineffective tools can lead to crossed circuits in harnesses and connectors, which can be fatal to sensitive electronics.

Well, the problems may not be apparent for weeks and even months. But if they finally come around, your car will be sitting in the garage or yard for some time until a set of qualified hands work on it.

Who can do it?

The average vehicle technician learns how to conduct electrical and electronic fault diagnosis through exposure. Experience and skills take time to develop, no doubt about that. It also takes patience to read and understand the electrical system, components, and circuits before the real work can begin.

If you suspect that your vehicle is beginning to develop some electrical faults, the best course of action is to take it to a qualified and experienced mechanic. Electrical faults are quite sensitive and are not a trial and error kind of thing. You have to be sure to get it right.

Contact Us for Electrical and Electronics Fault Diagnosis

Mechanic24 has skilled and experienced technicians to handle any electrical or electronics issues that your vehicle may be experiencing. We know just how exasperating it can be to wake up one day and find that your BMW or Audi will not move an inch while everything seems okay.

Our state-of-the-art tools, processes, and equipment are up to the task, and you can be sure that we are going to fix the issue once and for all. Our leading objective is to keep your vehicle on the road for longer.

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