An intricate system of wires ensures that the right amount of electricity is supplied from the car’s battery to the various components. Damaged wiring can affect the functionality of the electrical components of the car. Even though fixing wires may seem intimidating at first, simple soldering can fix most of the wiring problems in the car. But there are plenty of other tools you’ll require to replace or connect new wires. Read on to find out how to work on the wiring system of a car and prevent the failure of your car’s electrical components.
How the Electrical System Works
Before you can learn how to work on the wiring system, it is essential that you have a basic know-how of how a car’s electrical system works.
Sources of Electricity
A car has primarily two sources of electricity:
- A Battery – The main source that powers the car through DC
- A Generator – The backup power supply for certain components when the ignition is off
The electrical system is powered by a battery which sends an electrical current via an elaborate system of wires to the starter, which gets the engine and other fuel systems in the car going. Once the starter receives current from the battery, it turns the flywheel, which then triggers the crankshaft to rotate and enables the engine’s pistons to start fuel combustion. The current is also sent to an alternator which recharges the battery and other components of the car.
Components that need Electricity
Following are some of the components of a car that run on electricity:
- The ignition of the car
- The storage battery
- The heater and radiator fans
- The lighting system
- The car alarms
- The generator
- The music system
- The fuse holders and relays
- The buttons and switches
All the components mentioned above get electricity supplied to them through wiring connections that run along in the car.
The electric wires are copper strands insulated by PVC plastic coverings, which are responsible for connecting all the sensors, relays, control units, and components together and with the power sources as well. These wires vary in current carrying capacity, size, and length depending on the attached components.
The bundled wires in cars are called looms; these wires are color-coded for convenience in maintenance and held together by plastic clips or clamps. These wires are attached with connectors which are usually made of plastic. The connectors have multiple pins in their plug, which can easily be connected to their corresponding devices via sockets. The connectors sometimes also include metal terminals, making it easy for the wire to stay inside the connector plug.
Issues in the Wiring System
Following are some of the common issues you can experience with your car’s wiring system:
- Before checking the wires, it is important to see if the battery is working properly. A faulty battery can cause the car to sputter when starting. If the battery is faulty or has stopped working, replace it with a new battery but make sure you know the exact amps of a battery before buying one.
- Faults in the wiring system can easily be spotted as the component that requires an electric current suddenly stops functioning due to damaged wires. Using a multimeter, you can identify the problem area.
- Car lights can also start to dim out due to a fault in the wiring system. Check the wires if they need a replacement; otherwise, install new car lights.
- Metal corrosion in the connectors can hinder electric supply from the wires. It is best to replace the connectors so that the wires readily supply the current.
- Check and replace the fuses: Bad fuses can also cause the wiring to burn out and disrupt the power supply to a component.
- A faulty voltage regulator can cause the wires to spark due to the unregulated flow of current. Remove the faulty regulator and fit a new voltage regulator in your car.
Working on a Car’s Wiring System
Working on the car’s wiring system requires special tools to fix and replace wires. Following are the tools that are needed for the wiring system:
- A soldering rod – A soldering rod is an all-purpose tool that can help you splice the wires, form new connections, and replace connectors easily.
- A pair of crimpers – Some connectors don’t require soldering; for these connectors, crimpers work the best. You can easily manage to cut a wire and add a connector to it using a crimper.
- A wire stripper – Using a wire stripper, you can easily manage to take off the plastic insulation of a wire without damaging the copper strands inside.
- Heat-Shrinking tubing – This tubing is made from polyolefin material which shrinks up when exposed to heat. Using this tubing, you can easily insulate any new wiring connections that you have formed by connecting two separate wires.
Before you begin working on the wiring system, make sure you follow the safety measures mentioned below:
- Always disconnect the battery before you start working on the wiring system to avoid any electrical accidents. Unless you want to test the battery or have to check the leads and connections of the battery.
- Make sure that there are no loose connectors or uninsulated wires in a loom. Damaged wires can cause short-circuiting, which can result in fire accidents inside the car. Ensure that the grommets are in their place. Sharp metal edges of the holes in the car’s body can chafe wires and damage them.
A car’s wiring system is responsible for making sure that a regular supply of current is being transferred to the electrical components. Knowing how to work on the wiring system can ensure that your car doesn’t face any electrical failures. The complex network of wires can easily be fixed and sorted based on their colors and connected components. This assortment makes it very easy for you to work on the system with the appropriate tools according to the issue. Doing the small wire repairs yourself, can save you a lot of time and money that going to the mechanics requires.