How To Understand Wiring Diagrams for Car Electronics

Automobile electronic wires

Every car owner/driver should have a basic knowledge of the wiring diagram for his car's electronics. After all, you don't want to get stuck in a situation where your headlamps suddenly give up on you and there isn't a mechanic in sight.

  1. Know the type of wiring diagram. The electronics of a car's wiring and schematic diagrams for car electronics come in various forms. For example, the chassis electrical will probably be included in the block diagram and schematic diagram in most repair manuals. On the other hand, some repair manuals may contain a chassis electrical in the main part of the manual but only illustrate a block diagram.
  2. A block diagram is a diagram illustrating a general description of a system and its functions. The major components of a system and the interconnections of these components in block form is shown, and each block is labeled for identification purposes. Through the block diagram, one can see how the components for the car's electronic circuits are connected. However there isn't much detail illustrated.
  3. On the other hand, a wiring diagram or wiring schematic illustrates the details of the components, the color code, the connector, and even the wire gauge. Hence, if you need to find a wiring diagram for a car or a car component, be sure to get the schematic diagram. Most auto stores have car wiring diagrams. These are also available in the reference section of the local library.
  4. Take note of the diagram symbols. Note that there are no specific standards for showing a connector in wiring diagrams. Connectors usually are depicted as a box or put in brackets; a letter or a number may be used to show the pin location. The main connectors or the bulkhead connectors are usually shown on one side of the page and are shown together. These interconnect the engine compartment with the passenger compartment and the rear compartment. Thick lines symbolize the wiring harness. Thin lines, on the other hand, symbolize a single strand wire or multiple strands of wires. As previously mentioned, wires are color coded for easy reference.
  5. Get the proper tools and have them on hand. Among the indispensable tools and equipment are:
  • A set of colored markers – Most wiring are color-coded. It will be easier to understand the diagram if you follow the actual color-coding scheme of the system.
  • A magnifying glass - It is not unusual for wiring diagrams to contain small-font letters and numbers. A magnifying glass will surely be handy.
  • Multiple copies – Having multiple copies lets you lay the pages side-by-side so you can see the whole diagram.

Remember these items, and the next time your tail light gets broken; you'll be saving a lot of dollars by replacing it yourself.

Useful Links:

Vehicle Wiring Diagrams

Vehicle Specific Mobile Electronics Wiring


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