The Best Tool For Mechanics to Diagnose Electrical Issues | YourMechanic Advice

The Best Tool For Mechanics to Diagnose Electrical Issues

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Most mechanics agree that one of the most frustrating problems to diagnose is electrical gremlins that always seem to pop up at the worst time for car owners. Although today's modern cars, trucks, and SUVs are assembled with highly complex electrical systems, they still work under the basic principles that older vehicles used to power systems. Due to this fact, most ASE certified mechanics still use the basic probe electrical tester to diagnose most electrical issues found on modern and older vehicles.

What is a power probe electrical tester?

A power probe is a brand name for an electrical tester that was developed many years ago and designed for mechanics to measure the true RMS value of alternating current. Today, there are multiple manufacturers and tool companies that sell electrical current probes that are designed to check three primary electrical signals:

  • Identifies a positive circuit
  • Identifies a negative circuit
  • Identifies an open circuit

One of the most common circuit failures on cars, trucks, or SUVs is a faulty ground or a blown fuse. The power probe electrical tester has an easy to use power test feature that can detect whether the circuit has a resistive or bad ground, or if it's a complete circuit. This allows the mechanic to trace and identify the problem circuit and eliminate good circuits which expedites the diagnostic process and discovers the true source of the electrical problem much easier.

What electrical problems can you diagnose with a power probe?

A power probe electrical tester is designed to connect to the vehicle's battery and often has a 20 foot or longer cable that allows a mechanic to use it from bumper to bumper. By connecting to the positive and negative terminals, mechanics don't have to spend additional time looking for good ground connections, which can lead to false continuity readings in standard electrical probes.

In general, there are five individual components that contribute to electrical issues:

  • Diodes
  • Switches
  • Relays
  • Fuses
  • Wires

There is a green LED light that tells a mechanic that the circuit is open (meaning there is a problem that needs to be fixed) or that it has continuity (meaning the circuit is good). This device also has an auxiliary ground lead that allows mechanics to activate electrical switches and test them instantly. Most mechanics use a power probe to complete multiple electronic inspections including:

  • Activating electrical systems that have positive and negative source voltage
  • Testing sensor
  • Tracing electrical signals and capturing glitches in the electrical system of a vehicle
  • Electronic fuel injector testing
  • Testing trailer lights, brakes and turn signals
  • Complete electrical resistance testing

A power probe electrical tester is extremely portable, allowing mechanics on the road to simplify the process of diagnosing and repairing electrical issues when time is limited and their customers need to get their vehicles back on the road. If you’re already a certified mechanic, you enjoy working with customers on the road and you’re interested in working with YourMechanic, submit an online application to work for YourMechanic for an opportunity to become a mobile mechanic.


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Chris

21 years of experience
1861 reviews
Chris
21 years of experience
Mini Cooper Clubman - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Silverado, California
He arrived early, went straight to work, and it should have been quoted higher as it’s a Mini which takes longer than the average break job. He didn’t try to get more than the quoted amount. He even set out to replace a running light for me when he was finished. I thought there would hard sales telling me I needed more work but there wasn’t. Because he didn’t try to sell me more work, I will use him again. When I hired a mechanic I don’t want a salesman. 
Land Rover Range Rover Sport - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Irvine, California
Chris again has provided great Service. Everything was great. I was very happy with the work and will definitely have him return for any other work.

Bryant

11 years of experience
408 reviews
Bryant
11 years of experience
Ford Fusion - Brake Pads Replacement (Front, Rear) - Indianapolis, Indiana
Bryant has done great work on my car before, the latest work is no exception. He's very flexible, and goes the extra mile to get you back on the road.
Scion iA - Brake Pads Replacement (Front) - Carmel, Indiana
This is my first time using this service. I am very happy with it. Bryant was very knowledgeable and did quality work. I will use this service more regularly.

Edmar

21 years of experience
184 reviews
Edmar
21 years of experience
Chrysler 200 - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Euless, Texas
Edmar always does a very good job. He's done a few different things on my car the last two years. Each job was performed very fast and top quality. Thank you once again.

Mazyar

7 years of experience
255 reviews
Mazyar
7 years of experience
Jaguar XF - Brake Pads Replacement (Rear) - Lawrenceville, Georgia
He was early, courtesy and actually helped me save some money since i didn't need all the work that i thought i needed done. Honest guy. Very knowledgeable. Great attitude.

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