The Basics About Electrical Diagnostic Testing for Cars

Updated: Jun 8

If you have a lingering electrical issue, you could be rolling the dice each time you fire up and drive your car. Sure, you could always bring it into the shop for a professional opinion, but time, money or a number of other factors may be preventing you from letting the experts take a look and have a crack at it.

However, it's a bad idea to try and troubleshoot electrical issues on your own, especially if your wrenching experience is limited to pumping your own gas and topping off your oil. If you engage in the wrong activity without certain precautions, you could seriously injure yourself or another, and no one wants that on their hands.

Instead, it's best to leave electrical diagnostic testing for cars in Elgin, IL to the experts. When you bring a car in with an electrical issue, they'll approach the problem with a common, logical procedure to identify the root cause and ultimately fix whatever's ailing your vehicle.

But if you really want to give it a shot and you have the experience to match, here's where you should start.

Start With the Easy Stuff

When it comes to diagnosing auto-electrical problems in Elgin, IL, you'll want to start with common culprits and failure points. If you're having a problem with a certain circuit, open things up and take a look. As long as you can make sense of what you're looking at, you may discover that a disconnection or frayed end is the culprit.

That said, a car's wiring runs through various harnesses and bundles that may make it difficult to see where all that power is coming and going. But if you can open things up and look at the wiring itself, you may discover that your car troubles are due to an overzealous mouse or squirrel that's chewed through your car's wiring.

Move on To the Hard Stuff

If you can’t make any progress with the sight test, break out your voltmeter and your car's wiring diagram to see where you should next focus your efforts. If you're dealing with a circuit with a switch operating a load, start at the load and work back towards the power supply. The first item in the loop is usually the culprit, though that doesn't mean it's always the case.

For components that are exposed to the elements, you may have to dig under some gunk or grime, but once you reach the offending circuit, check the test light while activating the switch to test the fuse, switch, relay and wiring -- the whole circuit. If the lamp lights, the load has failed and the needed fix is evident. If it doesn't, you'll have to conduct further testing of the circuit for clicking, bad wires and other issues.

Who Has Time for All That?

If all of this seems convoluted and complicated, that's because it is. If you'd rather not waste your time looking for a proverbial needle in your car's electrical system, why not hand over the job to the experts. Here at CarTronics, we engage in electrical diagnostic testing for cars in Elgin, IL so you don't have to mess with any of it. Just drop your car off -- no appointment needed -- and we'll give you a call when we've identified the issue. Give us the go-ahead and we'll fix your car so that you can get back on the road. Contact us today for a free electrical vehicle diagnosis.

Electrical Diagnostic Testing For Cars in Elgin, IL

Just like their human drivers, cars need periodic checkups. Regular diagnostics tests can help you get in front of an expensive repair bill or another pending problem, and it just may save you from ending up stranded on the side of the road because something wasn't caught early enough. Don't wait until that dreaded check engine light comes on -- that's often too late and it means you're probably in for quite the repair bill.

What Is a Car Diagnostic Test?

Electrical diagnostic testing for cars in Elgin, IL is a simple procedure that's basically like a full health test. Because cars have such complicated electronics these days, there's a lot of information stored in your car's computer, just waiting to be read and analyzed.

When a mechanic diagnoses an auto-electrical problem with your Elgin, IL car or truck, they're often using specialized hardware and software to communicate with your car. The diagnostic testing is kind of like a conversation where the car tells the mechanic how they feel -- utilizing the car's built-in processors, sensors and microchips -- and then the mechanic can turn around and plan what needs to be done before your car can return safely to the road.

What Can Be Tested?

With electrical diagnostic testing for cars in Elgin, IL, just about any problem can be revealed, such as issues with your car's engine, transmission, brakes, exhaust system and any other major component. Even performance issues such as problems with the fuel injector, throttle, ignition coils and air flow and cooling can be diagnosed.

But that's not to say that an electrical diagnostic test is the be-all, end-all. The results of a diagnostic test may tell a mechanic that something is wrong with a certain parameter or component, but not what caused the problem. That's where their expertise comes into play, as they use the diagnostic test to understand what's happening and where best to focus their efforts. Ultimately, it's the experience and expertise of your mechanic that takes the diagnostic test and figures out how to achieve a clean bill of health for your automobile.

What Are the Benefits of Getting Tested?

You could wait until something breaks and you're stranded on the side of the road, but electrical diagnostic testing for cars is an important feature of car ownership in Elgin, IL. Instead of getting a tow truck and heading over to the mechanic when your car isn't functioning at all, it's much better to head in when you've got a few extra minutes to see if there's a lingering problem that could come back to bite you when you're on the road and don't have any time to spare.

Better yet, we'll conduct your car's electrical diagnostic for free before we charge you for any work, which means that you don't even have to worry about putting some money down unless there's something that really needs fixing. The best part is that today's diagnostic tools are capable of understanding a car's history, including any pending manufacturer notifications, which gives a complete picture and optimizes any repairs that need to take place.

When Should You Take Your Car in For Diagnostic Testing?

Don't wait until your car is barely running and flashing check engine lights into your eyes every time you drive it to take your car in for diagnostic testing. That could mean a huge repair bill along with the shock of driving such an unsafe vehicle. To stay on top of it all, consider taking your car in once a year for electrical diagnostic testing in Elgin, IL, and that'll help you keep the repairs light and more cash in your pocket.

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