Modern vehicles have high power consumption needs. Their sensors, window motors, lights, and other computerized components are powered by electricity. Importantly, manufacturers have adapted to this by using an alternator instead of the dynamo in recent vehicle systems. Secondly, it releases enough power to fully power the vehicle, and drivers can thus have the best-performing systems.
Finally, checking the electrics with a multimeter will also help you identify any faults your vehicle might have and as a resultant identify the reasons why your vehicle isn’t starting.
When Should You Check The Electrics Of Your Vehicle?
Various instances will prompt you to test the electrical system on your vehicle. These checks will identify any system issues and thus you will know the right method to fix them. Here are some indicators that you need to check the electricals on the vehicle.
#1. A cranking noise from your vehicle
Your vehicle should start after you turn on the ignition. This shows that the electrics are working well. If you hear cranking and experience delays whenever you start the vehicle, it shows you have a problem with the electrical system, and you need to test it.
#2. Your lights are constantly dim
The electrics on your vehicle are responsible for turning on the various lighting systems. These include the brake light circuit, quarter lights, dashboard indicators, head lights, and much more. The lights will fail to light correctly if there is a problem with the electrical system on your vehicle.
#3. The vehicle keeps going off
Your vehicle will keep going off when there is an electrical problem, and it cannot sustain power transmission. Indeed, performing a check when you get this persistent problem helps you identify the causes of the problem and thus find the best repair or replacement solutions.
How Does A Multimeter Work?
The multimeter is among the most accurate and reliable test meters available for vehicle owners. Importantly, they measure a range of options, such as the voltage on the battery or the alternator, the vehicle’s resistance readings, and many more. The device measures direct current, which is the option available in vehicles. Finally, it is thus accurate and reliable.
To begin with, a multimeter is easily accessible in an auto dealership or local vendor. Make sure to get a digital multimeter as these are simpler to use and evaluate the results. It will save you time, and you don’t need a technician to test or interpret your readings with this device.
Testing Various Electrical Components
As highlighted earlier, the multimeter can be used to test your vehicles wiring system for electric performance. These include the battery, alternator, the light circuit, relay switch, and performing ignition tests. This is how you can test these components individually to identify faults in the electrical components.
#1. Performing an Ignition Test
This test lets you check whether there are any problems with the low-tension circuit on the vehicle. Complete the circuit by closing its breaker points to ensure the test works. The results attained will vary depending on different factors. If the coil on your component uses the ballast resistor, it will reduce the readings to around 7V. Creating a connection that bypasses the ballast resistor lets you get more accurate results from your multimeter.
The readings should rise to over 10V once the ballast resistor is bypassed. If it remains constant, there is an electric error with the low-tension circuit. You can also check the distributor or the solenoid terminal connections when you experience these errors, as they too are a part of the connection and could be the problem. This is a convenient way of checking the electrics with a multimeter.
#2. Testing the High-Tension Leads
A multimeter can also test the high-tension leads for any problems. The settings on the device will vary depending on the types of leads fitted on your vehicle. Carbon leads have a higher resistance than copper leads, and thus their readings on the multimeter might vary.
Disconnect the leads from the distributor cap and the spark plug to perform this test. Now, connect the terminals of the multimeter to each end of these leads. Observe the readings and evaluate them to determine the state of your electrical connections.
#3. Testing Your Battery
The battery is an important component of your vehicle, and it will not start without it. This is also the case when the battery electricals aren’t connected properly or have malfunctioned. The multimeter will thus help you evaluate the extent of the damage when you encounter battery problems. Begin by setting your multimeter scale to less than 20V. You can now connect meter probes to the battery terminals and observe the readings.
An ideal battery should show a between 11V to 12V reading. This shows you have a healthy battery, and your electrical components here are working well. However, if the readings fall below 10V, it shows your battery has faulty cells and isn’t getting fully charged by the alternator.
You can correct these errors by cleaning or testing your battery terminals and performing the test again. Get a new battery or charge your battery using a car battery charger. Alternatively you can also consult your local mechanic if this problem persists. it is better to get in a permanent solution and prevent it from reoccurring in the future. In conclusion, it is important to check the electricals with a multimeter.
#4. Testing the Stabilizer
The stabilizer ensures all the electric components on your vehicle receive the right voltage amount. If the readings on multiple components are off and appear to have no-fault, it could be from the stabilizer. You can use the multimeter to test its state.
First, connect a multimeter to the output terminal on the stabilizer. Secondly, switch on the engine and observe the readings. A properly working stabilizer should register a 10V reading. Replace the stabilizer if its readings are off.
Checking the electricals with a multimeter on your vehicle allows you to identify problems early on. It will ensure you can get the necessary repairs. Finally, this will eliminate the inconveniences caused by a malfunctioned vehicle and thus keep you on the move. This is how you can test the various components of your vehicle.