Troubleshooting electrical on any vehicle can be simple but often can become complex.
Having the right tools to help you find the problem can be critical to getting the job done.
Keep in mind every mechanic will have their own style and method when it come to finding a problem.
Some will use the simplest of tools while other will use more expensive diagnostic equipment.
The main goal always is to get the job done so using whichever tool you feel best with is the best way to go.
List of Home Automotive Electrical Testing Tools
- Multi Meter
- 12 Volt Light Tester
- Amp Clamp
- OBD2 Scan Tool
A multi meter can do most all of your electric troubleshooting needs from testing voltages to continuity.
An expensive meter is not needed and most any cheap low-cost unit will work.
Of course, if you already have a nice meter all the better but for working on cars and trucks most any meter will be fine.
Read Here For Our Picks of Multi Meters.
A 12 volt light tester is used by many mechanics’s as their main electrical tool.
Since a vehicles electrical system uses 12 volts finding if a wire has voltage is easy with a 12 volt light. One side is grounded to a negative source and the tip can probe wires to see if voltage is present.
This makes them a handy cheap quick tool to find if their is voltage on a wire when there should be.
Many techs after using a 12 volt light for awhile can tell by how bright it glows if the voltage is high or low.
An Amp clamp is an easy way to see how many amps are passing though a wire by simply clamping around it.
There is no need to cut into or disconnect a wire the clamp goes around the wire and will display the amps passing though it.
This is a quick way to see if something is over or under amping.
Not all amp clamps will work with DC voltage so be sure any unit bought has DC voltage in its specifications.
An OBD2 scan tool should be part of any mechanics tool box.
A scan tool will check the computer for any error codes and display them and the problem if there is any.
This can help you narrow down a problem very quickly as the engine code will point to the problem.
In the past automatic diagnostic scan tools were expensive dedicated tools, and while an expensive OBD2 scan tool can still be bought cheaper smartphone units have become available.
Smartphone OBD2 scan tools are low-cost and can greatly help diagnose a vehicle on the cheap.
Read Here for Some Low Cost OBD2 Scan Tool options.
The above are some of the basic tools mechanics use when finding a problem with a car or trucks electrical system.
There is no doubt more ways to get things done so what works for one person often doesn’t work as well for the next.
There are many mechanics who only use a 12 volt light tester and others who only use a multi meter.
The bottom line is what works best for you to get the problem fixed and the vehicle back on the road.
Do you have a favorite automotive electronics tool? Let us know in the comments below.