- car advice
What areas of the car do auto electricians work on?
Updated 10 Oct 2019
This question comes up a lot and that’s because the line between auto electricians and mechanics can sometimes be a little fuzzy. So what is the difference between the two?
An auto electrician has expertise in the technical aspects of a car’s electrical systems. They are fault finders and handle electrical, wiring and installation of electrical components on your vehicle. A mechanic, on the other hand, excels in repairing and maintaining vehicles and is the source of wisdom on all things mechanical such as the engine, brakes and gearbox.
These two distinct trades exist for a reason and when it comes time to assess an electrical issue or install an accessory that needs power to work, then it might be the skills of an auto electrician that you require.
The obvious electrical items on the exterior of the car would typically be your lights, electric mirrors and, perhaps, a keyless entry system - assuming you’re standing outside and need to get in! What you won’t see is the anti-lock brake system (ABS), electronic transmission, the accident-detecting sensors surrounding the car. You might include the anti-theft sensors here too.
What’s on the inside? The obvious things are lighting, the dash lights, seat warmers, stereo system, air bags, air conditioning (A/C), indicators and so on. What you might not consider is the electronic throttle - that uses sensors to determine the fuel/air mixture and air flow into the engine - and other drive-by-wire (DbW) features, and even seat belt tensioners.
When we open the bonnet, the first, and most obvious, electrical item will be the battery. However, there’s plenty more stuff in there that might require the skills of an auto electrician including the alternator, the fuel injection system, the starter motor, A/C compressor and plenty more.
The above items come as standard on a majority of vehicles but additional, or aftermarket, items can be fitted. There are a dizzying multitude of items that can be added - from new stereos to drive lights; light bars to navigational equipment; tracker devices to breathalyzers to dash cams, seat displays and in-car entertainment. All can be installed by an auto electrician.
If all that isn’t enough, there’s also the car’s computer systems (such as the engine control module) and the wiring harness to think about. The wiring harness connects all these electronic components together, and if you consider that it can weigh in at 40kg and contain more than 1,500 wires that when laid end-to-end stretch to 1.5km you get an idea of how complex a vehicle’s electrical system can be.
So, when it comes time for an electrical item to be repaired, or an accessory to be installed, you might think about contacting an auto electrician. And you can book the services of just such a specialist through AutoGuru to ensure you get the ultimate professional installation.
Looking to have electrical work done on your car? AutoGuru can arrange a specialist auto electrician to do this for you.
Rachel spent her early adult life around cars, motorsport and hands-on with her own cars. This interest moved into various careers within the Automotive industry. Joined with her passion for writing, Rachel loves putting the two together to share her experience, so we can all become AutoGuru’s.