Monday, June 12, 2006

Preleminary visual inspection before using your wiring diagram

When using any automotive wiring diagram, you need to know this basic rule of car repair: Run a visual inspection on the suspected areas of the problem. This can save you a lot of time and unnecessary parts should you go ahead and start ripping your wiring harness. Remember: most electrical wiring problems does not develop overnight, most of the times it will leave you a clue so you can easily find it.

Let's say one of your headlights is not working and you need to fix it. Using visual inspection, one can do the following:

Lift up the hood of your engine hood. Go to your headlight seal beam area and check the wires going to the headlight. Checking if the wiring connections are tight and secure can do this. You can also check the harness if it is rubbing on any metal that can cause the insulation to fail. Then with headlights on, try pulling the wires and see if it will make the seal beam light up. Finally, try giving the seal beam itself a light tap and if it lights, you know you got the problem solved.

Other things to do in your visual inspection are:

Can you see any trace of wire corrosion around the terminal connections? This green corrosion is usually greenish in color and is powdery in nature. If you see this, remove the terminal connection and clean it by disconnecting the wire connection and spraying it with a rust penetrant like WD-40. If you can, see if you can polish the terminals and pins with a sand paper. Once thoroughly cleaned, the terminals can be installed together to check the results.

Have you checked the fuses? Do you know if all fuses are good and not blown? Sometimes it helps to tap the fuse to its terminals to make sure they are not loose.

Is the seal beam mounting secure? Are there any signs of rust? Remember that rust will produce poor ground contacts making any electrical device fail.

How does the filament of the seal beam look? If broken for sure means that you need a new part. (and no need to toy around with the wires!).

Once you have established that all the visual inspection were done to check the physical condition of the problem, then it's time to get your wiring diagram to check the rest of the electrical system.


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