Repair Car Electrical Problems

automotive electrical test meterAutomotive Electrical Test Meter

When you learn to repair car electrical problems you gain an extremely valuable skill. In this electrical section of the website we're going to dive deep into repairing specific automotive problems.

These individual articles tackle common problems on popular automobiles. You'll find these helpful auto repair articles indexed at the bottom of the page. However, we ask you to take a minute and read your way down to these information packed posts.

On this page we're going to talk about why gaining the skills to repair car electrical problems is such a valuable life lesson. In addition, we'll share resources that automotive training programs use to teach students. In addition, I'll share my secret weapon to accelerated electronics learning at the end.

Diagnosing Car Electrical Problems

When automotive instructors teach students to diagnose car electrical problems they actually retrain the students brain to think in a logical way. We perform effective electrical diagnosis in a logical step by step process. This discipline crosses over into other areas of automotive diagnosis.

After solving a few complex automobile problems the technician soon realizes, that by using these processes, there’s almost nothing they can’t diagnose and repair. This includes washers, dryers and other household appliances that use similar switches, relays and circuits.

As the years pass and these diagnostic skills become honed, you find yourself falling back on the skills to solve other problems in your life. Do you think you already know a lot about this subject? Then I challenge you to take this 7 question automotive electrical test. If you get them all correct your probably ready to take the ASE A6 electricity and electronics certification tests.

Now that I've explained the importance of learning how to repair car electrical problems, let's talk about some of the ways to learn these skills on your own. Self-taught students often become more effective at solving complex automotive problems than those that spent thousands of dollars on formal automotive training.

Repair Car Electrical Problems Vs Automotive Service

When I first got into the automotive business in the 80s, I quickly realized the advantages of repairing car electrical problems. This skill was in short supply back in the 80s and remains so today.

When I talk about the advantages I'm actually comparing it to other automotive services that mechanics perform on a daily basis. The question becomes would you rather replace engines and transmissions or stay clean and diagnose and repair automotive electrical issues.

For me, I find diagnosing car problems challenging and enjoyable. It's almost like solving a mystery. Replacing engines and transmissions might sound glamorous, but it's really hard and dirty work. In addition, these heavy repairs aren't properly compensated in the flat rate labor pay system. Technicians might be paid 10 hours labor to replace an engine. If it takes them two or three days they still get paid the 10 hours.

When it comes to electrical diagnosis the labor time is often compensated in a direct one-to-one ratio. In many shops you use the time clock to log onto a repair. After repairing the electrical issue you clock off. Compensation represents the actual time spent working on the vehicle. After being part of the flat rate pay system I can tell you that this remains the safest way to make money fixing cars.

Specialized Electronic Training from General Motors

GM Specialized Electrical Training BookGM Specialized Electrical Training Book

The first dealership I worked at enrolled me into a program sponsored by General Motors. I believe the program still operates today.

The General Motors Corp. called the program SET (Specialized Electronics Training). The eight day course proved challenging and rewarding. After completing the course we received certification and they even let us keep the training materials.

Visitors to will benefit from this. I’ll develop a few training articles from this material in an effort to help do-it-yourself auto mechanics gain important skills to help them repair car electrical problems in the driveway.

With that said, many community colleges provide either electronics training or specialized automotive electrical courses throughout the year. Each automotive instructor has their own favorite textbook they use to guide the students through a logical progression of learning these important skills.

Fortunately, Amazon sells these same textbooks and basic automotive electrical repair tools at a fraction of the price you'll find elsewhere. In addition, you can find older additions for even less money. As an example, we provide a link to an Amazon automotive electrical textbook on the left. This is the latest or fifth edition of the textbook. You can locate the third or fourth edition for even less. These older reference materials still provide excellent information and training.

Secret Weapon for Automotive Electrical Training

As I promised in the opening I'm going to share with you what I consider a secret weapon in understanding automotive electrical repair. On the left again were going to link to this reference guide. It's the ASE study guide that professional technicians use to pass the electronic certification tests.

The study guide comes in at 1/10 the thickness of the textbook. Surprisingly, the information, although condensed, is still digestible by the average person. In the beginning of this electrical ASE study guide they run through the different sections covered on the exam. Absorbing this information takes a few tries.

At the end of the book, they provide professional level test questions and also supply the answers. For me I have always learned from providing a wrong answer on an automotive quiz question. After being wrong and then understanding the right answer provides a mental connection to understanding both the question and the answer. If you noticed not only is the ASE study guide thin it's also affordable at around $20.

Automotive Electrical Repair Articles

Chevrolet and GMC trucks experience problems with the cruise control system not holding speed. To everyone's surprise it often points to a problem with the brake light switch.

How many times have you seen someone driving around with a daytime running light out? On Chevrolet vehicles it's a know and far reaching issue. See what it takes to fix Chevy daytime running light problems for good.

There are a lot of myths floating around about car batteries. Let me debunk a few of these while at the same time supplying car battery testing and charging information.

Do-it -yourself mechanics can diagnose complex electrical problems if they apply a logical step by step plan of attack. Try this strategy based automotive electrical diagnostic procedure.

Now it's time to learn about wiring diagrams. The place to start is by learning what the electrical symbols look like and stand for in standard automotive schematics.

Chevrolet trucks have some inherent electrical issues. In fact, 14 years worth of GMC and Chevy pick up trucks have a dimmer switch problem that causes the instrument cluster back-lighting to stop working.

Many General Motors trucks including the Escalade experience power outage problems in various systems and accessories. See the root cause of the Chevrolet intermittent electrical problem and how to fix it for good. 

Our favorite Chevy trucks have another electrical switch known for a high failure rate. The GM power mirror switch isn't holding up as long as these trucks do.

Power windows become an excellent example of how electronic systems operate mechanical parts. See how to diagnose power window lift motor problems and replace window regulators.

When it comes to cheap plastic switches GM isn't the only offender. The Ford master power window switch on many models has a high rate of failure.

Most power door locks transitioned to an integrated actuator and latch assembly. Unfortunately, This made the power door lock actuators less reliable on some cars and trucks.

The automotive coil is an amazing electronic device capable of boosting 12 volts into 50,000 volts. However, when it fails you'll need to review this article covering common ignition system problems.