Learning how to read automotive wiring diagrams can help you pinpoint electrical problems in your car. Wiring diagrams are technical drawings that use symbols to represent a car’s electronic system. Whether your vehicle is old or new, such a diagram can be irreplaceable for helping you diagnose wiring problems.

You will need to start with a basic understanding of the electrical symbols you will encounter as you peruse the automotive wiring diagrams. The symbols are arranged in a circuit to illustrate the power state, function, and location of various components.

Google the symbols to get a good understanding of the basics like the battery symbol, switch, resistor, and ground. After the basic symbols, variations of these symbols represent more complicated parts. For example, a variation of the battery symbol is the variable battery symbol and a variation of the ground is the case ground symbol.

Symbols generally resemble the actual component or the component function. For example, the ground symbol is a vertical line with a round end on the bottom touching the first of three horizontal lines indicating touching ground.

You can look up All-Data, which is a depository of electronic auto repair schematics related to models. Each of the sections has a diagram that can help you figure out the diagram for a specific vehicle’s electronic system. Make sure you have a solid understanding of the symbols, before you attempt to diagnose your vehicle’s wiring problem.