Learning from Worldwide Lighting Strategies

Trouble shooting vehicle electrical problems using voltage checks

Every electrical component in your car requires a specific voltage level in order to work properly. If the voltage drops below the threshold level, the component will not work at all. Therefore, you can use voltage checks to troubleshoot problems with the electrical system in your vehicle. You need a voltmeter to conduct these voltage checks

Battery voltage

Sometimes you car may refuse to start because there is insufficient voltage getting through the load point. You should connect the positive battery tester cable to the positive terminal on the battery and the same for the negative terminal. A battery that is seventy percent charged should give a voltage reading of about 12.43 Volts or more. If the voltage reading is much lower than this, it means you need to charge the battery and test it again. If your battery is working properly, you should get a voltmeter reading within 1 volt of battery voltage at different circuit load points in all the electrical circuits in your car.

Excessive resistance

If you find a low circuit voltage in any of the circuits in your car after testing using the voltmeter, it could also be due to excessive resistance in the wiring. The reasons for this resistance include corroded connectors, loose connectors or faulty switches. You need to find the point with the highest resistance in order to locate the problem. You can do this using the voltage drop technique. This involves checking the voltage at various points in the circuit and finding the difference in voltage. Any drop more than 0.4 volts across a connection means that that particular connection is faulty. Usually the voltage drop is 0.1 volts or less across a connection in the circuit.

Battery terminals and body ground straps

If you are unable to start the car completely and operate most of the electrical components, you should to the voltage drop test across a number of circuits, if there are voltage problems throughout this circuits then the battery cables are probably corroded or the ground straps are lose. You can repair this problem easily by cleaning and tightening the cables.

Undersized wiring

Some aftermarket accessories that you add to your vehicle may not have the same wiring design as the original equipment from the car manufacturer. Voltage problems arise when there is undersized wiring, which affects the performance of the electrical system of the car. You need to be very keen on following the recommended wire gauge sizes when installing after-market upgrades and replacements in your vehicle. 

For more information, check out companies such as Drive-in Auto Electrics.

About Me

Learning from Worldwide Lighting Strategies

Hi, my name is Kat. When I was a kid, I always followed around my dad as he worked on electrical projects, and I became very interested in it. When I went backpacking during a gap year, I noticed that people all over the world have different ways of harnessing and using light. I decided to integrate those ideas into my own conception of electricity. Now, I help my friends design their lighting for their new homes and I do a bit of consulting. However, I also love to write so I started this blog. Please, explore and enjoy reading! Welcome to my space of the internet!