When I got my first car twenty years ago, I was clueless when it came to maintaining it and keeping it in a roadworthy condition. As a result, I had to pay for costly repairs that could have been avoided if the car had been looked after better. I learned my lesson and started reading everything I could about basic car maintenance. I started this blog to share what I've learned in the hopes it will save other new drivers making costly mistakes. I blog about a variety of topics, such as troubleshooting uneven tyre wear, the benefits of regular servicing and maintaining your car during the winter months. I hope you find my blog useful.
The electrical system in your car is very important to keep your car running and functional. It's a large system with many individual parts that need to be looked after in order for your car to be functioning properly. Performing auto electrical repairs by yourself can be a dangerous task even if you are experienced in similar procedures, and if you need to do it, there are a few things regarding safety you should think about before you start repairing.
Disconnect the battery
You should always disconnect one of the battery cables from your car battery when performing any type of electrical work in your car. If the cables can't be disconnected, you should try to break the circuit by removing power fuses. If nothing else works, then you might need to remove the battery altogether. You need to do this when performing electrical work on your car as you otherwise might get a shock or even become electrocuted. This can lead to serious injury and also ruin the electrical system in your car beyond repair. Remember that just disconnecting the item you're repairing might not be enough to break the circuit and therefore still be dangerous.
Watch out for airbags
You should also be careful when doing work under the instrument panel with your electrical system. Disconnect the circuit and wait some time before opening the panel to do any type of electrical work. This is mainly to avoid accidentally setting off the airbags. You could also disconnect your airbags before doing any electrical work under the instrument panel, as static electricity in other wires can set the airbags off. The danger lies in crossing cables, as this might cause the airbags to inflate, which can be very dangerous if you have your face close to them. Whiplash and impact injuries can easily be caused by having your head too close to the airbags, and if it happens, you'll have to go to the hospital.
Don't work on it while it's running
You should also remember to never disconnect any electrical cables or circuits when they're active. You should therefore never attempt to, for example, disconnect a battery while your car is on. This can create a sudden break in voltage that can damage your equipment severely. You might also get injured yourself if you're handling electrical equipment that is turned on, as the sudden stop of the electrical charge can emit a quick increase of voltage before shutting down that can give you a nasty shock or even electrocute you.