How to Replace an Automatic Shutdown Relay

Automatic shutdown relays are a big part of controlling and operating electrical functions and getting a vehicle to start and run. Functions that are operated through the automatic shutdown relay consist of anything from operating a window to running a fuel pump. A vehicle relies on automatic shutdown relays to prevent electrical circuit damage to wires and wire harnesses as well as to avoid application damage to lights, window motors, and fuel pumps.

When it comes to diagnosing a bad automatic shutdown relay, you should look for common problems like failure to start, inoperative headlights, broken air conditioning, and malfunctioning heater or AC blower. Many different car functions are affected by the automatic shutdown relay.

Part 1 of 3: Locating the automatic shutdown relay

Materials Needed

  • Owner's manual
  • Pliers

fuse box sample distribution box sample

Step 1: Locate the fuse relay section in your manual. This should be either in the index or table of contents.

The image in the manual should give a diagram similar to the above, and either label each fuse and relay function or number them such as above.

Step 2: Find the proper relay. Locate the broken relay by using the diagrams shown in your owner's manual.

Part 2 of 3: Removing the automatic shutdown relay

Material Needed

  • Pliers

automatic shutdown relay being pulled out by hand

Step 1: Pull the relay out using your fingers. Once you locate the relay you are going to replace, you can pull the relay out by using your fingers in most cases.

Using the pull with a light side to side rocking motion to get it out. In some cases you may need a pair of pliers to remove it. When using pliers, be sure to grip firmly without damaging the automatic shutdown relay plastic housing. Sometimes the relay will come straight out; if not, pull with a side to side rocking motion to work it out.

Part 3 of 3: Installing the new automatic shutdown relay

sample terminal locations and relay cavity connection patterns

Step 1: Install the automatic shutdown relay. Do this by simply pushing the new relay into place, paying attention to the relay connection pattern.

This is important so you don't bend or damage the terminal or connection. The relay should easily push right into place.

The automatic shutdown relay plays an important role in a properly functioning vehicle. When an automatic shutdown relay is overlooked during diagnostics, the cost is potentially disastrous. If replacing your automatic shutdown relay is something you would rather leave to a professional, please contact one of YourMechanic’s certified technicians to perform a replacement.


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Theodore

16 years of experience
1587 reviews
Theodore
16 years of experience
Honda Accord L4-2.2L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Bellevue, Washington
Theodore was great! Friendly and knowledgeable.
Mercedes-Benz GLK350 - Door does not lock or open - Renton, Washington
Theodore was very knowledgeable. I called him in to look at my door lock problem and he was able to find out what the real issue was. In addition of that, he also spotted some damages under my door panel done by the car dealership where I bought my car, and also pointed out that the car battery that came with the car was half of the size of the factory one. I was really grateful to have him as my mechanic. He already saved me a fortune and I would recommend him to anyone that needs a helping hand. Good job Theodore!

Misty

10 years of experience
7 reviews
Misty
10 years of experience
Plymouth Voyager L4-2.5L - Automatic Shutdown Relay - Tulsa, Oklahoma
She completed the job quickly and my car runs great.

Travis

13 years of experience
579 reviews
Travis
13 years of experience
Mercury Mariner V6-3.0L - Car starts and then dies - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Travis was very honest about the fact that this car was no longer worth spending the money. We traded it for the Mazda a couple of days later. Thanks Travis.

Donald

40 years of experience
124 reviews
Donald
40 years of experience
Toyota Avalon V6-3.0L - Car Starter Repair - Atlanta, Georgia
Excellent experience with Donald! He called to let me know that he was on his way.He arrived on time. Donald was extremely courteous and professional. He did not object to me observing and asking questions as he was working on my car. Donald found a problem that was not identified by the mechanic at the dealership where I take my car . I was very impressed with him! I immediately made another appointment for Donald to repair the items that he and the dealer's mechanic had identified.

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