A multimeter is a tool that makes life easier when testing electronics or wiring in a vehicle.
Checking if a battery has a charge, or testing the alternator are common problems that can be quickly checked with a multimeter.
A good meter for automotive work will have basic requirements that most any meter should have.
Multimeter Features Used in Automotive Repair
1.. Checking Voltage
A meter should be able to read voltage mainly DC voltage since this is what a cars electrical system runs on.
Setting a meter to DC voltage and placing the leads on the positive and negative terminals will show a batteries charge.
When a battery is low on a charge a battery charger can be used to give it a charge and than see if the battery is holding the charge or not.
If it doesn’t hold a charge than it needs to be replaced.
Another common use of a meter is to test if the alternator is working correctly. This is done by placing the leads on the battery terminals and while the car is running watching what the voltage is.
Most vehicles idle at around 14 volts which would indicate the alternator is good.
Continuity is simply testing if there is a break in a circuit or wire.
For example a fuse can be tested by putting the leads on both legs of the fuse. The meter will stay at zero if it is bad, if it is good than it will show a number higher than 1.
A good multi meter will beep while doing a continuity test which can help greatly in hard to reach components.
A break in the wiring can also be checked to see if there is a bad inline fuse or a wire simply has a break in it.
Resistance is testing how much an electrical current is being blocked from flowing through a circuit or wire.
Using Resistance is not used a lot in automotive repair but is still used in certain cases.
For example some fuel pumps can be tested for Resistance to see if it is good or bad.
If the Resistance doesn’t fall within a certain range and is too high or too low than it indicates that the fuel is pump is bad.
So what are some good multimeters for automotive repair?
Here are some of our favorites. As always be sure to read the reviews on Amazon or elsewhere to be sure it is a good fit for you.
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Our Picks for Best Multimeters for Automotive Repair
Etekcity MSR-C600 Digital Clamp Meter Multimeters, Auto-Ranging Multimeter AC/DC voltmeter with Voltage, AC Current, Amp, Volt, Ohm, Diode and Resistance Test Tester
The Etekcity MSR-C600 is a good meter for those on a budget.
Most DIY jobs dont require a expensive meter and a low cost unit will do most things required.
The amp clamp on the Etekcity MSR-C600 is a nice feature which let you see what amps are being pulled by simply placing the clamps around a wire with AC voltage.
Fluke 115 Compact True-RMS Digital Multimeter
The Fluke 115 is a high end meter that is over-kill for most auto repair problems.
It is built for durability and accuracy and is mainly used in HVAC where accuracy is important.
For this who want a quality top end meter than this is a good one to get.
30% OFF HOLDPEAK 90BS Digital LCD Auto-ranging Multimeter With Diode And Continuity Test ¨C This Multi Tester is For Electronic Measurement With Data Hold, Backlight, Solar And USB Charger
The HoldPeak HP-90series is a good mid range meter.
If you dont want a cheap meter but dont exactly want a high dollar unit this one is a nice compromise between the two.
Most any meter can be used in automotive repair.
Getting a cheap unit is always a option just remember their not built for lots of use and the buttons will start to go bad when used a lot.
Low cost units are good for the occasional use, while a better mid to high range units best if it is to be used a lot.