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How Can I Trace a Short Circuit in My Car?

by Sheharyar Khan

Tracing short circuits in your car can be a downright nuisance for even the most skilled mechanic. If the wiring of your car becomes obsolete or one of the parts of your vehicle deteriorates, a short circuit is likely to occur. Fixing a short circuit may not be as difficult as locating one, as there are several areas in your car where a short circuit may occur. However, following certain steps will help the process of finding the short circuit go more smoothly.

Lift the hood. Find the battery. You may require the aid of a flashlight.

Grasp the screw of the cable of the negative battery between the teeth of a wrench. Hold it tightly and twist it in a counterclockwise motion. Unfasten the screw. Remove the cable of the negative battery and separate the battery from the cable.

Position your multimeter to read 10 amperes. Ensure that the meter is set correctly, as this will affect how you locate the short circuit.

Determine the position of the multimeter. The red part of the multimeter is the positive portion. Lay this portion on the negative side of the battery's cable. The black portion of the multimeter is the negative portion. Position this part on the negative side of the post of the battery.

Study the multimeter once it is placed in position and check its reading. If the amperage reads nil or 0, set the amperage back to a reading of 9. Check the reading of the multimeter a second time. Lower the amperage scale by 1 point every time you pace the meter in a different position to check its reading. For example, if the meter reads zero again, reset it to amperage of 8 and check it again. Once you have lowered the scale all the way up to the number zero itself and the meter has not found a draw, there is no existence of a short circuit. However, if at any time it shows a draw, you have a short circuit in your vehicle.

Fix the multimeter and the cables in the position in which you had installed them and ensure that they remain in place. Ask someone for help while you hold the cables and multimeter in place and the other person detaches the fuses individually. If the multimeter reading is at zero after you detach a specific fuse, determine to which part that fuse is linked -- that part is the location of the short circuit.

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About the Author

Sheharyar Khan has been writing professionally since 2004 with articles appearing in various print and online sources, including Empowered Doctor and Disney's "Family Fun." Khan holds a Bachelor of Science in engineering with a major in textiles from Philadelphia University.

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