Category Archives for "Diagnostic"

Why Car Smells Like Burning Plastic?

Your car can produce a variety of smells while running. The smells that your car makes aren’t always good either. Some of the smells that can be produced are burning smells, and one of those burning smells is burning plastic.

You may be having this smell from your car and be wondering what is causing it. Well, read on to find out the different causes of a plastic burning smell from your car and also how to solve them.

Why Car Smells Like Burning Plastic

Why Car Smells Like Burning Plastic?

When does it happen?

Determining when the burning smell occurs is one effective method to determine why it is occurring. For instants, some burning smells happen when you first start the car, while other burning smells occur when you turn on certain components of your car or do certain things.

It is important to pay attention to when the burning smell starts because that can help you figure out why it is happening. With burning plastic smells a lot of times it will occur when you turn on your car’s heater or other electrical devices.

Smell from Heater

the smell is coming from the heater

The smell is coming from the heater

If the bad smell starts when you turn on the heater, then there is a good chance that the smell is coming from the heater. If you haven’t used the heater in a while, then the smell might just be dirt and dust burning off.

If that is the case, then it will go away after a little use. Once the dust and dirt have burned off, then the bad smell will stop. If the bad smell doesn’t stop though or if it occurs even when you have already been using your heater, then it is coming from something else.

One of the common other things with the heater that could be causing the smell is you might have gotten some plastic debris, such as a bag stuck in the heater system.

You should check under the hood, in the engine area, and up under your car to make sure that no plastic bags are stuck anywhere. A bag that is stuck could be melting as you drive.

There are a lot of plastic bags on the road, and it is easier than you might think to get one stuck up under your car. Outside of the burning smell that is annoying, it is important to get the bags removed as soon as possible because it can damage other parts of your car.

A plastic bag can get stuck in a fan or cause something to overheat, so if you smell burning plastic, then it is a good idea to check for bags.

Lastly, burning smells from the heater could be coming from a broken heater or another component near the heater. If you check for a plastic bag and don’t find it, but have a burning smell, then you need to take the car to a shop and have a thru inspection done. When come to shop, you should ask the shop using best battery tender for car storage to recharge your battery if it need.

For instance, you might have antifreeze leaking and it burning off smells like plastic. Also, a heater component could be melting, and this could smell like plastic too.

If you have a burning smell coming from the heater and you have clean it, then it is a good idea to have it checked out to make sure nothing serious is wrong.

Electrical Short

 it is probably an electrical short

It is probably an electrical short

If you have a burning plastic smell when you turn on something else besides the heater, then it is probably an electrical short. This happens when the plastic coating on wires, fuses, or other connections wear off or burn off.

The issue is with whatever system you turned on when the burning smell starts. For instance, if you start to use your power windows and the smell starts, then it is the window system that has the short.

The reason why these occur is that the electrical wires get hot when you use the components. This heat is hot enough to melt the wire coating sometimes, and this melting is the smell that you smell.

The wire coating is easier to melt as it gets older. This is especially true if the wire coating gets cracked or damaged. That is because the wires inside can be exposed to things that it is not supposed to and heat up easier or cause a spark.

The good thing is that if the burning smell is occurring from an electrical short, then all you have to do is replace those wires. The hardest part with electrical issues is tracking them down though.

Bonus: You can find a short with a multimeter. This a the best automotive multimeter for you.

That is why it is extremely important to pay attention to what you are doing when the bad smell starts. The better you are at paying attention to what system is causing the smell, the more money you will save on fixing it.

It can take a lot of time looking at the electrical system if you can’t give the mechanic an idea of what part of the car to start looking at to find the short.


Bad smells can come from your car for a variety of reasons, and there can be a variety of bad smells. After reading this though, you now know what causes bad burning plastic smells and how to fix them.

You know that if you have a burning plastic smell, it is very important to pay attention to what you turned on in your car when the smell started because that will make fixing it either.

A lot of times it will be your heater or another electrical component. If it was something besides the heater than it is a short in a wire and you just have to replace the wires.

If it was the heater however then it could be a few things. If could be dirt burning off or a plastic bag that is stuck. If the heater has been running for a while though and you have checked it for a plastic bag, then it might mean a bigger component is broke.

You will need a mechanic to look at it to make sure it isn’t leaking antifreeze or that a vent or the motor isn’t melted. A mechanic will find the problem if it is one of those things and you can have it fixed. The key is to stay on top of things if you have a burning plastic smell and don’t ignore it or things could get worse.

7 Reasons Why Car Sputters When Starting?

So, your car is sputtering when you start it. Well, you are in the right place. In this article, we will look at all the possible reasons why a car might sputter when starting it and the solutions for them.

There is a whole lot of potential reasons why your car might be sputtering when you first start it, but after reading this article, you will know how to troubleshoot it and also know what to do to fix the problem.

Read on to learn more about why your car might sputter when you start it.

Car sputters when starting

Car sputters when starting?


There are all kinds of reasons why a car might sputter when you start it and then be fine after it gets going. Before going into detail about the reasons we will list them out for you, so if you think a particular problem causes yours, then you can start their first.

The main reasons why a car might sputter when you start it are:

  • Weak Battery
  • Bad or Dirt Spark Plugs or Fuel Injectors
  • Bad or Dirty Sensor and Clogged Air Filter
  • Bad Fuel Pump
  • Exhaust Leak or Leaking Gaskets
  • Failing Catalytic Converter
  • Malfunction Ignition Switch

These are the main problems, and we will look at each one in-depth below.

1. Weak Battery

The first problem could be that you have a weak battery. If the battery is just charged enough to turn the car over, then the engine might sputter at first before it gets going.

Once the engine is running, then it doesn’t require as much power from the battery, and that is why it might even out. Also, once the engine is running, it starts to charge the battery with the alternator.

If the sputtering was from a weak battery, then it will probably only happen once, because after driving the battery will get charged. If the battery is not holding a charge though, then it could keep causing the car to sputter when you start it.

To see if the battery is weak turn on your headlights before starting the car and if they are dim, then the battery is weak. Try charging it or testing the battery to see if you need a new one. Replacing the battery will fix the sputtering if that is the problem.

Let use the best battery tender to recharge your car battery if it is weak, it will help your battery keep working

2. Bad or Dirt Spark Plugs or Fuel Injectors

The next thing that could cause your car to sputter when starting is bad or dirty spark plugs. This is because it takes a spark to ignite the fuel to get the engine going and if the spark plugs are dirty, then it may not be giving enough of a spark causing a rough start.

As the engine is going, it may not be as easy to notice the sputtering from all the other engine noise. You can change or clean your spark plugs if you think that is what is causing the sputtering and if it is, then the sputtering will stop after doing that.

The fuel injectors could also be dirty which could lead to not enough fuel being squirted into the cylinder. Cleaning them is also a good idea if you think the issue is happening when the fuel is being ignited.

3. Bad or Dirty Sensors and Clogged Air Filter

All kinds of sensors are also involved when starting the car. You have the oxygen sensor, the mass airflow sensor, and the fuel injection sensor.

If any of these are dirty or going bad, then you will not get a proper mixture of gas in the cylinder when going to start the car. This will lead to the sputtering when you start it.

Clean all the sensors and make sure that they are not the problem. If the problem continues after cleaning or replacing them, then it was something else. Tied into the dirty sensors is a clogged air filter.

If the air filter is overly dirty and the proper amount of air can’t pass thru, then it will lead to sputtering issues. Replace the air filter or clean it to make sure that enough air is getting thru.

4. Bad Fuel Pump

The next thing could be that you have a failing fuel pump. The fuel pump is what moves the gas from the tank to the cylinders. If it is getting weak, then it might not be moving the proper amount of gas thru.

Also, if it is the fuel pump, then you may have sputtering when your gas is low, but not when it is full. One way to see if it is the fuel pump is to spray propellant into the cylinder as you go to start the car.

If it starts fine with that, then you can bet that it is the fuel pump going out and needing to be replaced.

5. Exhaust Leak or Leaking Gaskets

The next thing that can cause a sputtering is an exhaust leak. The exhaust leak can be anywhere. It can be at the manifold or farther along under the car.

Exhaust leaks are noisy and also dangerous as the exhaust is hot and can melt surrounding plastics or come into the vehicle. Leaking gaskets on the engine can also cause sputtering because it can affect the fuel mixture.

Exhaust leaks can be found by hooking up a blower into the tailpipe and then spraying the exhaust down with water. Anywhere that bubbles there is a leak and it needs to be fixed.

6. Failing Catalytic Converter

Another part of the exhaust process is the catalytic converter, and if you have one that is failing, then it can cause the engine to sputter.

That is because clean gasses are not countering the gasses that the engine is putting off and some might be going back into the engine causing it not to run smoothly.

If your catalytic converter is going out, toxic gases may also be going into the cabin of the vehicle. It is a good idea to have the catalytic converter replaced if it is failing.

7. Malfunction Ignition Switch

The last potential thing we will look at is a bad ignition switch. If the switch is not working right then, it might not be sending the right signal to the engine to turn it over all the way.

This can lead to sputtering when you go to start it because the proper amount of charge isn’t being applied. This is one of the last things to check though because if it is the ignition switch, then most likely the car won’t start at all.

How do you know?

So, with all these possible causes for a car sputtering when starting, how do you know where to start with fixing the problem? Well, most of these issues will cause a check engine light to come on.

If your check engine light is on, then you should use an OBDII scanner and read the code. You can then look up what the code means and start with fixing whatever problem is being given.

The only think on here that probably won’t send code is a weak battery so if you don’t have a code, then start with the battery first. Everything else will cause a code, and then you will know what to fix from there.


A sputtering car on start can be annoying because there are so many things that could be wrong with the car. Luckily most of the fixes are affordable ones and won’t cause you to have to get a new car.

Just check the engine code and see what the problem is and then replace or clean the bad part. A vehicle that sputters when starting is a pretty simple problem to fix and while annoying it won’t cause you to have to miss work.

Just be sure to deal with it as soon as you can because a sputtering car is losing gas mileage and could be putting toxic gasses into your vehicle. Luckily now you know everything you need to know when it comes to your car sputtering when starting it.

Car Still Won’t Start After Replacing Battery?

A dead or bad battery is a common reason why a car will not start. A car uses the power from the battery to engage the starter to get the car’s engine to turn over. This takes a lot of power, and a weak or bad battery is not capable of doing this.

A lot of times you can use another car and jump the battery to help get it going to get to a place to have the battery replaced, but what if your car still won’t start after having the battery replaced.

Well, to find the answer to this question keep reading and we will go in-depth to the different reason why the car still might not be starting and some solutions for them.

Replaced Battery Car Won't Start

Car still won’t start after replacing battery?

More: If you want to buy a excellent maintainer tool for recharge your car battery, this is the best battery maintainer for you


A lot of times to figure out what is wrong with a car that won’t start, a lot depends on the sound that the car makes while you try to start it. If it makes a K-K-K-K type sound, then chance are the battery is bad or not connected right.

The first thing to check after replacing a battery and the car still not starting is the battery wires. It is more common then you may think that the battery did not get connected right.

The leads could have come loose or not be making good contact. Check them again after replacing the battery and see if they are in fact tightly connected.

The next thing could be that you replaced it with the wrong type of battery or a battery that is not strong enough. If the new battery doesn’t have enough cold cranking amps, then this can prevent it from starting the car.

Recheck the new battery and make sure that it is at least equal in strength to the old battery that you had. If it is, then you can move on to the next stage.


The other thing that could lead to the K-K-K-K sound is a dead battery. The battery may be new, but if you have been driving the car, then it might have got drained, and if the alternator is bad, then it won’t have been getting recharged.

The alternator not working normally triggers lights on your dash, so if you see lights come on, especially the battery one look in the manual and see what they mean.

If you have an alternator that is failing, then it doesn’t matter how new the battery is because it won’t be getting charged as you drive and therefore won’t be able to start the car.


If the sound you get is a Grr-Grr-Grr type noise, then chance are it is not the battery that is the problem causer at all. A growling Grr sound when trying to start the car is an indication that the starter is bad.

If the start is bad, then it will need to be replaced. There are also a few other sounds that come with a bad starter.

The first is no sound at all. If when you turn the key, no sound is made, then it might be a bad starter, but could be a few other things that we will get to later. If you have no sound though, then you can have the starter tested to see if it is bad.

Lastly, if you hear a grinding, clashing, or banging sound while trying to start the car, then it could be an indicator that some of the teeth on the starter are broke. A

sound that sounds like shifting with a bad clutch could mean that the starters drive gear might be damaged, or the flywheel on the vehicle may have damaged teeth.

If you have any clashing, knocking, or metal scraping sounds when trying to start the car, then you need to have it checked out to make sure more damage does not occur.

Reasons why cars can not start

There are many reasons why cars can not start

Fuel Pump

Another problem when the vehicle doesn’t make a sound when you try to start it could be a bad fuel pump or fuel pump relay. When you turn the key to the on position, you should be able to hear a soft whine of the fuel pump intake turning on.

If you don’t, then the fuel pump motor might be weak or dead. If the fuel pump is just weak, you might be able to tape on the fuel tank near where the pump is at to get the motor going, but this won’t always work if it is to die.

A dead fuel pump will need to be replaced but check the relay first to make sure it wasn’t just a blown a fuse.

Also, make sure you have enough gas in the car for it to be able to start. Sometimes you don’t have enough gas for the fuel pump to suck it up. This can especially happen when parked on an upward slope.

The gas might be in the back of the tank and not going into the fuel pump. One last problem that the fuel system might be having that prevents the car from starting is frozen lines.

If it is cold and water got into the gas system, then the lines can freeze, and this can prevent the fuel from getting to the engine and being able to start.

Bad Spark Plugs

Talking about the fuel, the problem could also be that it isn’t igniting properly. If you have old spark plugs, then they may not be firing a good enough spark to get the engine to turn over.

Spark plugs usually last for 100,000 miles, so it can be easy to forget to replace them. Check them if the engine is not turning over and making a misfiring type sound.

Also, bad spark plugs will cause the engine not to run smoothly, so before you get to the point where the car won’t start, if you notice rough idling or riding, then check the spark plugs and make sure they are still good.

Security System

The last possibility of why a car with a new battery might not start is that the security system got engaged. If the steering wheel will not turn, then the anti-theft system got tripped.

To get the wheel to unlock you need to nudge it some. This will help loosen it from the locking pawl and will allow the car to start.

Another security feature that may keep your car from starting is if it has a proximity key. Make sure the key is in the car or on your person or else the car won’t start. If you are rushed, then you might have forgotten it in the house or left it in your pants or jacket from the night before.

Before freaking out, make sure you have it on you because the problem might be as simple as just not having the proximity key in the car with you.



There is a lot of reason why car still won’t start after replacing battery. The critical thing is to stay calm and work your way thru the problem.

First, make sure the new battery is connected right and is the right one. Then, if your car has a proximity key, make sure it is with you. Next, listen to the sound the car makes when you try to start it.

If it is a K-K-K-K sound, then the battery is weak or not connected. If it is a Grr sound, then it is most likely a bad starter. Clashing sounds can also be the starter or flywheel.

If no sounds happen, then it could be the starter or the fuel pump not working. Depending on the sounds you get, you can have an idea of where to start for checking things so you can get your car running again quickly and without spending too much more money.

How To Find Ground Fault With A Multimeter?

Multimeters can be used for all kinds of purposes. One of those is locating a ground fault in a circuit. After reading this article you will know what a ground fault is, why it is bad, and how to use a multimeter to find one.

We will go thru the steps required to safely find a ground fault so it can be fixed and not cause harm.

How To Find Ground Fault With A Multimeter

How to find ground fault with a multimeter?

Ground Fault

Before going into how to find a ground fault with a multimeter though, it is a good idea to know what a ground fault is.

A ground fault is when wiring is worn, chafed, pinched, or bad and current is getting out of the system and into the ground.

Normally current either gets to the ground thru the circuit and a dedicated wire or the current doesn’t go into the ground at all, but instead stays in the circuit.

Dangers of Ground Fault

The reason why ground faults are dangerous is that if current is getting out it means something is damaged in the system. The thing might still function properly, or it could not have enough power going thru the circuit and the item might not function right.

Ground faults are also dangerous because if you are working on the item that has a fault and touch the part where the fault is, then the current can go thru you.

This will only happen if the thing is on though, so if working on something make sure it is off. You may touch the bad wire though unknowingly with normal use and get shocked. Even worse, depending on what the bad wire touches it could cause a fire or worse shock.

If the wire with the ground fault touches water, then it can shock everything in the water. This is why you need to find ground faults as soon as possible, if you suspect one.

Using Multimeter To Find Ground Fault

Using Multimeter To Find Ground Fault

Using multimeter to find ground fault

One of the easiest ways to find a ground fault is by using a multimeter. This is good because a lot of people already have multimeters on hand. Continue reading this and you will learn the steps required to safely find a ground fault.

Any multimeter will work for finding a ground fault. You don’t need the most expensive one on the market and there are a lot of different ones on the market.

All you need is a multimeter that is reliable. Make sure the object that you are going to be testing is unplugged and off. Then also make sure that the probes are connected to the multimeter.

Once his is done set the multimeter to the ohm setting. If your multimeter has more than one position for the ohm setting, then set it to the 1x position.

After you have the multimeter on and set up, it is time to do the ground fault test. Touch one probe to a terminal and touch the other to the device housing or mounting bracket.

Now, you move the first prob that is touching a terminal to another terminal. If the multimeter reads anything besides infinity during any part of the test, then there is a ground fault.

If you are testing something with multiple circuits, then you can use the multimeter to determine which circuit is bad as well.

If for example you have a battery that is connected to a fuse, then you can connect on probe to the battery side and then one to the fuse side. Start turning off fuses unitil the reading is correct or the infinity symbol and then you will know which fuse is bad. Talk about battery, if you need a tool to maintain your car battery, i recommend you using the best battery tender, i used it and it is great tool to do that.

The thing about finding ground faults in a circuit that can be annoying is figuring out which one it is, but it really isn’t that hard. You just have to test each on until you find the bad one.

This requires being patient and taking your time. If you stay patient and take your time though, then you can find which circuit is bad and know which one to repair, instead of having to fix them all.

Fixing Ground Fault

The best way to fix a ground fault is just to replace the bad wire. This is the simplistic type of ground fault to fix. If it is just one wire or a few wires that are bad or old, then you can remove them and put new ones in.

Sometimes though the ground fault is in a specific part. If that is the case, then you have to replace that whole part. It is normally not worth the trouble or safe to fix the part instead of replacing it.

Also, you should never use a part with a ground fault for the danger or damage that it can cause. Just order the new part and replace the whole thing, to fix the ground fault problem.


find ground fault

Ground faults tend to not be hard to fix, but they can be a real struggle finding sometimes especially depending on how big the system or circuit is.

The trick to finding the ground fault though, is breaking the system down into smaller sections where you can and using patients and going slow when you can’t break it down.

Then you just need a simple multimeter that is reliable to start testing. To test for a ground fault connect one probe to a terminal and the other to the case of the object and then move the first probe from terminal to terminal.

If the multimeter on the ohm setting gives any reading besides infinity, then there is a ground fault. If the system has breakers, then you can connect on probe to the terminal and the other to the breaker.

You can then shut the breakers off, until you find the one that is causing the bad reading. That way you know which part of the system you have to work on.

Once the ground fault is located, then it is easy to fix. You just have to replace the worn or pinched wires with new ones and the problem should be solved. Sometimes though it is a whole part that is bad and you will have to replace it. Grounds faults are dangerous though and should be taken serious. They should be found and repaired as soon as you are aware of one existing.

Car Battery Won’t Charge: Why And How To Solve?

Dead car batteries are an annoying thing. This is especially because a lot of times they happen out of the blue. Sometimes it is from something simple such as a light getting left on and you can jump the car and get on your way, but sometimes the battery is too dead to jump and needs completely charged.

What does it mean though if your car battery won’t charge. Well, in this article we will look at some of the possibilities of why a car battery won’t charge and some of the solutions for that.

car battery won't charge

Car battery won’t charge?

Bad Alternator

The first reason why a car battery might not be charging is that the alternator may be bad. The alternator is what converts the spinning of the engine into power that goes back into your battery.

Normally, when a car and alternator is working properly, the alternator will charge the battery as you drive, so then it will have enough power to start the car again the next time you need it too.

If the alternator is bad though, then it is not providing any charge to the battery and their for the battery is not charging.

The alternator not charging the battery could be something as simple as the connections have came undone. If that is the case, then all you have to do is reconnect things, and it should start working properly.

Vibration while driving or wires going bad is how the battery and the alternator could become disconnected. If they are not disconnected though, then their must be something else going on.

You can run a test on the alternator by a automotive multimeter and see if it is putting off a charge. If it is not putting off a charge, then it is bad and must be replaced.

 alternator going bad

If the alternator is going bad, then it may not be converting as much energy to the battery

Getting an alternator replaced isn’t that hard and if you are mechanically skilled then you can do it yourself. If you aren’t though, then any shop can do it for you. If the alternator is putting off a charge, but it isn’t constant, then you might just have a bad belt.

If your serpentine belt is loose, then it could be slipping and not allowing the alternator to work properly. If that is the case, then you will need that belt replaced. Again, this isn’t that hard of a task to have done and isn’t to costly of a repair.

Bad Battery

Another reason why the battery may not be charging is that the battery itself is bad. A lot of things can go wrong inside of the battery. The battery could short itself out or get internal damage from shocks or vibration.

To find out if the battery itself is bad you can run some test on it. If the battery itself is bad, then you will have to replace it and get a new battery. A bad battery can not be repaired.

Also, if the battery shows visual signs of being bad, then it is time to replace it. If it has corrosion or leaks, then it is defiantly time to get a new battery. If the connectors aren’t corroded to bad, then they might be able to be cleaned off and this might allow it to charge properly again.

Another reason why a battery might go bad is just its age. As a battery is used suffer builds up on the plates and forms a crust. When the battery is being charged it breaks this suffer off of the plates.

battery itself bad

If the battery itself is bad, then you will have to replace it and get a new battery

Over time though the sulfur will not come off the plates all the way and won’t go back into the solution. Also, the sulfur eats the plates and over time and recharging the plates just disappear. As the sulfur is broke off the plates int he recharging process, a part of the plate goes with it.

Think of a rusted panel and how it crumbles, well the plates int he battery work the same way. If your battery is old it won’t recharge or hold a charge and again will have to be replaced.

Bad Charger

Another final reason why a battery might not recharge is that the charger you are using may be bad, not be the right type, or not be connected right. Some batteries require special types of chargers to recharge them.

If you are using a charger and it doesn’t seem to be charging your battery, then make sure it is the right type for that battery.

Another reason why the charge may not be charging the battery is your may not have it connected right. To connect a charger to a battery you want to make sure the positive lead is connected to the positive connector on the battery.

If it is not it will not work and cause damage to the battery. You then connect the negative to the negative pole on the battery. Once connected make sure you plug the charger in and set it on the right amps or speed of charge to match the battery.

If these things don’t work, then the charger itself might be bad. Try a different charger and see if it works with the battery you are trying to charge. A battery charger could get a short in it just like a battery can or the inside components could go bad. If you want to buy a new battery charger, this is the best battery tender for you.

charger itself bad

If the charger itself is bad, you should get a new one

A battery charger has to convert the AC or DC current into current that the battery can use and this converter mechanism on the inside of the charger might go bad or stop working. This is especially the case if the charge is old, or if the charger has not been stored or used right in the past.


So as you now know there are a few reasons why a car battery might not be charging. The alternator inside the car could be bad or you could have a loose belt inside the car. The battery itself could be bad. The battery could have damage that you don’t see or it just might be old and wore out.

If it has been recharged a bunch, then it just might not be able to be recharged any more. Lastly, the charger could be bad if you are trying to use an external charger or it could be connected wrong. After you have made sure it is the right charger and is connected right, you might need to try a different charger to see if that fixes the problem.

Now you have a better understanding of why a car battery won’t charge and should be able to trouble shoot it for the situation that is at hand for you and your current situation.

How To Check Car Fuses With A Multimeter?

The electrical system in a car can be one of the most annoying systems to find the problem of something with.

Sometimes, however, the problems in the electrical system is something simple such as a bad battery or fuse. If it is a bad battery, try to use best battery tender to maintain it. It is a tool to recharge your battery.

In this article, we will teach you how to check a fuse to see if it is bad or not using a automotive multimeter.

This should be one of the first things you do if you are having issues with a specific area of your car because it is the easiest and a lot of times is the problem which will save you a headache if you just start there.

How To Check Car Fuses With A Multimeter

How to check car fuses with a multimeter?

What Is A Fuse

First, though before explaining how to test a fuse with a automotive multimeter we will cover what a fuse is. A fuse is simple a wire normally surrounded by some plastic that completes a circuit when plugged in. Most fusses have two prongs with a small wire running between them.

When the fuse is plugged into where it goes these prongs touch another piece of wire and complete the circuit. It is that simple. The thing is a fuse is designed to break through if something goes wrong. This is because when the fuse breaks or blows, it will protect the more expensive part of getting damaged.

A fuse blows when to much power runs thru it. This extra power causes the metal wire to burn up breaking the circuit. When the circuit breaks the extra power cannot get to the main part that can not handle the extra power. In cars, there are normally fuses in two spots. There is a fuse box under the hood with all kinds of fuses in it, and there is also sometimes some fuses under the dash on the passenger side.

Check car fuse

What is a fuse?

Knowing where your fuses are is important if you want to check them. Some of the fuses are a different color, and each color indicates how much power it can handle. The bigger fuses though are normally a dark gray though and not a color.

On the small fuses, you can normally see thru the colored plastic, and this allows you to see if it is blown or not without testing it. Also, blown fuses may have discoloration which is a sign that it is bad and needs to be replaced. The big fuses though you can not see the wire, however, so these you will have to test if you think something is wrong with it. Read on to learn how to do this.

How To Test Fuse

The first step before testing a fuse with a automotive multimeter is making sure that the car is off and the keys are not in the ignition. This will help keep you safe when pulling the fuse out and also protects the car. The next step is to locate the potential bad fuse. To do this, you go to the fuse box and look at the diagram or in the owners manual and find the one that corresponds to the system you are having trouble with.

For example, if your power door locks aren't working, then you will want to pull the fuse that goes with that. Then to pull the fuse, you do literally what it is called, and that is pulled straight up on the fuse. You want to make sure you pull straight up because you don't want the prongs getting bent or damaged as you pull the fuse out.

Test car fuse with multimeter

Test car fuse with multimeter

Once you got the fuse pulled you can visually inspect it. If it is a clear plastic you can try to see if the connection seems broken. If you can't see the wire through, then it is time to get the multimeter out. To use the multimeter you first have to turn it on and get the probes out. You then can set the multimeter to ohms.

This will measure the resistance of the fuse. You can then touch the probes together. This gives you a baseline reading and will tell you roughly the number you will get once you put the probes on the fuse. Once you have an idea of the reading, you should expect you can connect the probes to the fuse.

To do this, you just have to touch one probe to one prong and the other to the other prong. This will give you a reading. If the reading is close to what it was when the two probes touched, then the fuse is fine. If it does not give a reading, then that means the fuse is blown. This is because the current it is trying to send thru the fuse is not making it back thru.

To make sure the fuse is blown you can change the multimeter set to the setting to measure the current which is the arrow with a line. You can then touch the probes to the prongs on the fuse in the same way. If it beeps continuously, then the fuse is fine, but if it does not emit a sound, then the fuse is blown. Either test is a sufficient way to see if a fuse is blown.

What To Do

Replace car fuse

Replace car fuse

If the fuse is blown, then it is pretty simple to replace it. You just have to buy another fuse that is the same and plug it in (click here to check price at amazon). If the fuse is not blown, then you will have to dig deeper into your electrical problems which can be frustrating. That is why it is good to start with testing the fuse first because for most people it will only take a couple of minutes to test the fuse.

Another thing to remember if it isn't the first fuse that you test is to make sure to look at the diagram closely and that you test all the fuses that go to a particular system. Sometimes a system may have more than one fuse, so you need to make sure you test them all with the multimeter to rule out one being blown.


So now you know how to test a car fuse with a automotive multimeter. It is an easy task, and pretty much any multimeter can do it successfully. You can either use the resistance or ohm feature on your multimeter to check the fuse, or you can use the continuity setting to test the flow of current.

Either one will work and will give you a reliable reading on if the fuse is blown or not. Also, don't forget you can visually check the fuse to which might be able to save you more time in finding out if your car fuse is blown or not.

Top 5 Best Automotive Multimeters In 2019 (Detailed Reviews)

Multimeters are a handy tool around the house and in the garage. They can be used for a large variety of things, and are especially useful when working with cars.

You can use them to test different electrical systems in the car to see if there is a problem, as well as use them to check fuses or even the battery.

Finding the best automotive multimeter can be hard though since there are a lot on the market. We are here to help though. Following is a list of a few of the top automotive multimeters that we recommend.

What are the best automotive multimeter?

What is the best automotive multimeter?

Which Ones?

There are hundreds of different multimeters on the market, and they can range in price, so knowing which is a good one and which isn’t can be hard.

Luckily for you, we are going to take an in-depth look into five of the best automotive multimeters on the market. These are all top multimeters, and after reading farther, you will see why.

Best Automotive Multimeter - Top 5 On The Market:


Innova 3320

Innova 3320

Innova 3320

Starting off we have the Innova 3320. This multimeter is average size measuring 2”x10”x5” and weighing 1.25 pounds. This multimeter is UL certified meaning that it is safe for you to use.

It is convenient to use as well because it has auto-ranging scales meaning that you don’t have to change a knob depending on what you are measuring, it can sense this for you.

The 10 MegOhm input is safe for automotive and household uses (i.e., household outlets, fuses, wiring, general-purpose batteries, vehicle battery and charging system, automotive circuits and more).

The LCD screen is bright and easy to read and giving digital readings make it easy to use as well. There are also color-coded LEDs which makes quick battery checks fast (green = good, yellow = weak and red = replace).

The case is made out of strong, durable plastic, that will last awhile and can handle normal wear and tear. The corners also have rubber on them to help with drops.

There is a single switch to change between AC and DC which makes it fast to switch. The probes have a decent length which is nice, but the probes are where the biggest complaint about this unit comes in.

A lot of people have issues with them not being sensitive enough. Sometimes you have to fight with them to make sure they are making good enough contact to get a good reading. This can be annoying at times, but when it works, it works well.

Some other nice things about this unit are that it has customer support that you can call and get help, and it also has built-in auto turn off, so you don’t have to worry about the batteries getting wasted.

If it weren’t for the probe issues, this would be a great multimeter, but even with those issues, it is still a good one.


Innova 3340

Innova 3340

Innova 3340

Next is the Innova 3340. It measures at 12.5”x4.5”x6.5” and weights 1.12 pounds making it a little smaller than the Innova 3320 version. The Innova 3340 is similar to the 3320 but has more features built in.

The INNOVA 3340 is great for testing alternator diodes, duty cycle, solenoids, breaker points, wiring, switches, and more.

It is still UL certified making it safe for anyone to use and the case is still a durable plastic with rubber corners. The screen is also the same top quality screen, and it provides digital readouts. This model doesn’t have the LEDs for quick battery check, but it does have some other useful features.

The Innova 3340 can be used to find RPM readouts, alternator test, and temperature readouts. This makes it a very versatile tool and allows it to do multiple things with one device which is nice.

The only complaints with this unit again come with the sensitivity of the probes. Some people have been having issues of the lowest readout being in the .4 ohm range meaning that if your item puts out less then that, it won’t read it, or it will give you the wrong reading.

This is annoying, and if you are going to be using it with low sensitivity things a lot, then you might want to consider a more sensitive option.

If most of your use is going to be with things that put off more ohms though, then you shouldn’t have this issue, and that means that this is a great multipurpose multimeter. To top it off, it also comes with a nylon pouch so that you can take it anywhere.


Amprobe AM-510

Amprobe AM-510

Amprobe AM-510

Next is the Improve AM-510 with NIST certificate. It is normal size and weights 1.4 pounds. The NIST certificate means that it was tested at an outside 3rd party lab to make sure that the unit was calibrated right and gives proper readings.

This model have accurate performance for light commercial and advanced residential applications like rewiring an electrical panel, installing heated floors and light fixtures, troubleshooting and repairing home appliances, electrical sockets, and automotive electrical problems.

The unit is in a hard plastic case and is durable and will last for a long time. The LCD screen is bright and gives easy to read digital readings. It can be used to measure both AC and DC current and is easy to switch between the two.

This multimeter has a CAT III safety rating meaning that it can be used for high voltage things. It can be used for up to 600-volt items. This means any car batteries or household things will be fine.

Outside of reading the normal things of resistance, capacity, etc., it can be used to measure temperatures which are nice.

On top of all this, it has a built-in stand and probe holder to make it easier to measure things. It is like having a third hand.

The last thing that makes this easy to use is the built-in flashlight, so you can see where you are working.

The connector hole where the probes go into can also be hard to push the probes in, but after a few uses, this gets easier. The best solution is if you get a bad set of probes is just to get a different pair that will work with this unit.

Outside of the quality issues with the probes, this is a great unit that can do a lot.


Fluke 115 Compact

Fluke 115 Compact

Fluke 115 Compact

Now we are to the Fluke 115 Compact which provides the perfect answer for general purpose electrical and electronic test requirements. This model is also your average size and in a hard protective shell that will handle normal wear and tear. It comes with a soft case which is nice for carrying it around. 

It is CAT III safety rated so that it can be used for anything up to 600 volts. This means that you can measure pretty much anything. It can also be used for AC or DC and is easily switched.

The LCD screen is top quality and to make it easier to read it is LED backlit. This multimeter can be used for Resistance, continuity, frequency, and capacitance and had true RMS to give accurate readings.

The ergonomic design of the Fluke 115 compact makes it easy to use one-handed, but it also has a built-in stand to help make it easier to use as well.

It can be used in pretty much any temperature, so even if you live somewhere cold or hot, you won’t have to worry about that affecting the readings.

It is also really simple to use, and most people will be able to use it right out of the box within a few minutes. The probes that it comes with are pretty good, but some people have had issues with them not working right.

If that is the case, Fluke customer service is good, so they will get the problem fixed for you. This makes the Fluke 115 compact a powerful little tool.


Fluke T5-1000

Fluke T5-1000

Fluke T5-1000

Lastly, we have the Fluke T5-1000. This model is top of the line, but still only weighs 1.2 pounds. It comes with a NIST certificate meaning that it is calibrated correctly and going to give you correct readings.

It also can be used for up to 1000 volts and check current up to 100 A- without breaking the circuit, so there is nothing that this thing can’t measure.

It automatically detects between AC and DC making it easy to use. You can make readings with the probes which store away easily or the open jaw current measurer making it simple to use.

On top of all this, the leads and probes accept accessories to make them more useful in certain situations. You can put clamps on them, for example, to make them easier to hook onto something and stay.

On top of being able to measure all the normal things, the T5-1000 can also measure temperature. This means you can eliminate overheating as a problem right away.

This multimeter is also rugged and can handle any conditions you throw at it, so you can use it anywhere and don’t have to worry about it breaking.

The only downside to this meter is that it doesn’t come with a carrying case. They make one for it, but the H5 holster is sold separately. This is the only issue with this multimeter, and while it is nice to have the holster to make it easier to carry, it isn’t a need and doesn’t affect the function of this unit.


So which one should you get? Well, if you are using it every day, then you should get the Fluke T5-1000. That is because it can do pretty much everything and it can do it accurately.

This means that the readings you get can be trusted, and the T5-1000 is reliable. If you are just a hobbyist though, then the Fluke T5-1000 may be more than you need.

If you are only going to be using it around the house, especially for your car, then the Innova 3340 is the best bet. That is because it can still do a lot of different things.

It can measure the normal battery things as well as the alternator and RPMS. It is also a fairly reliable unit and easy to use.

None of the options on this list are bad though, so if you think one of them would work better for you, then it is safe to go with one of the others.


So know that you have read this you know more of what to look for in a multimeter. There is a lot on the market, but this list is a great starting point and will get you on the right track to finding the best automotive multimeter for you.

This list should at least help you be less stressed about the choice that you are making and if you pick one off this list, then you know you will be getting a good reliable multimeter.

What Does A Multimeter Measure?

So you have probably head of a tool called a multimeter and wondered what all in can measure. By the name you probably know that it can be used to measure multiple things, but aren't familiar with what.

Well, after reading this article you will have a better understanding of what all a multimeter can measure and also what a multimeter can be used for.

What Is A Multimeter?

What Does A Multimeter Measure

A multimeter

A multimeter is a small handheld device that is used to measure different things for different purposes. It is normally a device that most people have on their bench because it is really handy and can do a lot of things.

The come in both analog and digital versions. Are in a plastic shell and durable. Nicer ones may even have a rubber case around them to keep them from getting scratched up or protect them if they are dropped.

These are the basics of what a multimeter is physically, so keep reading to find out what a multimeter is on a deeper level.

How Does A Multimeter Work?

Before we get into what a multimeter can measure it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of how it works. A multimeter is pretty simple especially depending which one you have.

There are a variety on the market, but they all work in similar ways. Here we will look out how the most common work. The most common multimeters have two ports where you plug the leads into. The leads are wires with a metal prob tip.

Inside the multimeter is a coil which is suspended in a magnetic field. Their are also different resistors. When the probes are applied to an energy source it makes a current and this causes the coil to spin. The spinning coil then gives a reading on what ever you are measuring.

Some multimeters are digital. These work in a similar way, but the movement of the coil is able to be converted to a visible number output with computers.

The advantage to a digital multimeter is that they last longer and don't have interference issues. They also provide more accurate readings.

What Does A Multimeter Measure?

What do A Multimeter Read

What does a multimeter read?

So now that you know how a multimeter works we can get into what they read. All basic multimeters can read:

  • check
  • check
  • check

More advance multimeters can measure others things as well which we will get to farther in this article.

1. Current

Is the measure of the flow of electricity through a conductor. For a multimeter the conductor is the wire that connects the diodes and then the coil inside. This is easily calculated with the twisting of the coil or through computer processes.

2. Voltage

So first we will look at voltage and explain what it is that is actually being measured. Voltage is the difference in electric charge between two points. The way this is measured is you put the two probes on the diodes and this causes a circuit to be formed.

 When the circuit is formed energy flows from one point two the other. It passes through the multimeter and that is able to tell you how much is flowing through. This is because electricity always flow from low to high and it is a never ending cycle.

Inside the multimeter it also uses a resistor so help with the calculation. This is because there is a direct relationship between voltage, resistance, and current. If you know two, then the third is easy to find and we already know that a multimeter can find current.

3. Resistance

Lastly all multimeters can measure resistance. Resistance is ability to not have electricity flow through it. To measure resistance the multimeter just has to provide a known amount of voltage and the already knows the current.

Then it calculates the resistance since it is a direct relationship with the other two. This is similar to how it finds voltage, but just changes what part of the equation it provides. 

Multimeters do not measure all three things at the same time though. Most multimeters have knobs and you can turn that to tell it what you want it to measure.

Other Things A Multimeter Can Measure?

So what else can a multimeter measure besides current, voltage, and resistance? Well, the answer is all sorts of things. Some multimeters can be very costly, but these costly ones can measure temperature, humidity, frequency, capacitance, decibels, and even more things. The advanced multimeters are little handheld computers that really have no limit on what they can do.

What Are Multimeters Used For?

What Are Multimeters Used For?

What are multimeters used for?

This question also has pretty much no limit to it. Most normal people just use them around the house to test simple electronics like appliances or batteries, but the potential there is no limit. By the way, if you are looking for an tender for your batteries , you should look in my post about best battery maintainer to pick one. 

Electrical engineers use them all the time for common things to advanced things. They don't have to just be used in the construction or engineering field though.

Multimeters are even used in science labs for testing all kinds of things. These advanced elaborateness can measure anything and are made to be very accurate.


Multimeters are basically a bunch of tools in one. They are a voltmeter, ohmmeter, and ampmeter all combined. The advanced ones are even more than this. Multimeters can also be used to measure direct current or ac current.

Some have switches that have to be flipped to change this and others just are able to do it on their own. Some multimeters can even give out readings in multiple units. You can choose the unit that you want the reading to be given out in.


So now you know how multimeters work and also what they are used for. More importantly though you know all the things that they can measure.

Most basic multimeters can measure current, voltage, and resistance. Advanced multimeters though can be used to measure all kind of things from frequency, to temperature, to humidity, and even more.

Voltmeter vs Multimeter: What Are The Differences?

There are a few different devices to measure different things when it comes to electrical things such as batteries. You have a device called a voltmeter that measures one thing and a multimeter that measures others.

What does each one do exactly though? Well, read on to find out what each device is meant to do and also the differences between the two devices.


A analog volmetter

A analog volmetter

We will start out with talking about a voltmeter since it is the more simple of the two. A voltmeter is designed to measure the difference of potential between two nodes in an electric circuit. This is known as voltage.

Voltmeters can be designed to measure both direct current circuits and also alternating current circuits. Some special voltmeters can even be used to measure the voltage of radio waves.

The way a voltmeter works is that it has a fine wire coil that can carry current. This is connected to the power source with leads with metal tips. Some also have clamps. The fine wire is suspended in an external magnetic field.

When a current is applied this causes a magnetic field in the coil which reacts with the other magnetic field. This causes the coil to route and this rotation moves the needle that gives you the reading.

With modern technology though some higher end voltmeters are digital. The digital ones work in a similar way, but with the computer inside it is able to turn the electrical reading into a number that appears on the screen.

The digital ones are more accurate because you don't have to worry about something happening to the coil inside the voltmeter or interference with the magnetic field.


A multimeter

A multimeter

Now we will move on to the more advanced multimeter. Even though it is more advanced it actually works in pretty much the same way as a voltmeter. It still has a coil and magnetic field and when a current is applied it reacts with the magnetic field to give a reading.

The resistors though are a little different and this is where multimeters get their name because they are able to measure multiple things.

Most multimeters can measure voltage, ohms, and ampere. You just use a dial to set it to what you want to measure. With multimeters though there are a lot on the market. (Click to get a best automotive multimeter for your car).

Advanced multimeters can do all kinds of things. The price range can vary, but the advanced ones are nice. They work in a more complex way and are normally digital.

Advanced multimeters can measure all kinds of things from temperature, to humidity, to frequency, and even more. Multimeters are used in all kinds of settings and they even have lab grade ones.

Other Differences

What is the difference between voltmeter and multimeter?

What is the difference between voltmeter and multimeter?

So now you know the basics of a voltmeter and a multimeter. You know how they work on a basic level and what they can do. Here in this section though we will go into even more detail of the differences. 

A voltmeter is basically one part of a multimeter. This means that voltmeters are generally cheaper than multimeters. A voltmeter only measures volts where multimeters can measure multiple things.

With this information you can also assume with good reason that voltmeters can be used for less things than multimeters. Voltmeters are good for electrical work, electrical enginering, and household appliences. Multimeters can be used in pretty much any field.


So as you can see both these tools have their purpose. For most people a standard voltmeter will probably get the job down for things around the house, but it doesn't hurt to have a cheaper multimeter around just in case.

If you work in science or labs though, then you may use an advanced multimeter. Voltmeters and multimeters really aren't that different. They both work with coils and magnetic fields, but a voltmeter is just one part of a multimeter.

The best battery tender also popular tool, you need to have one to maintain you battery. 

Now you should have a better understanding of when you might use a voltmeter verses a multimeter and have a better understanding of the differences between the two.

How Many Amps Is A Car Battery?

This article will look at how many amps are in a car battery.

It highly depends on the battery, each battery should have a rating, some batteries can deliver a very high current, c. 1000 amps for short periods. Batteries are more commonly measured in Ah (amp hours). 

So, we are going to be focusing on amp hours and not cold cranking amps in this article.

An amp-hour (Ah) is how many hours a car battery can put out one amp for one hour, so if the car battery is 40 amp hours, then it can put out one amp of power for 40 hours. 

After reading this, you should be able to figure out how many amps is a car battery.

how many amps is a car battery

How many amps is a car battery?

Check Battery

The easiest way to figure out how many amps our car battery is is by just looking at the tags on it.

Car batteries can range from 40 amps to as high as the low hundreds, so there is not one set amount of amps in a 12volt car battery.

Most batteries, however, don't have wrote on them how many amps they are. This can make it hard to figure out how many amps your battery has. One rule of thumb is the bigger the vehicle, the more amps the battery has.

Choosing a tool to recharge your battery is not easy, take a look to my post about top rated best battery tender to choose the good one. 

Use a Chart

Since your battery probably doesn't have wrote on it how many amps it is, then you might have to use a chart and get an estimate. The battery will have written on it the class of battery it is, and this will help you figure out the amps.

Once you know the class you can look up battery amp charts and see a close estimate of how many amps your particular battery has.

Using a Resistor

Using a Resistor

Using a Resistor

Another more scientific way to find out the amps of your battery is by using a resistor. You hook this up to the battery, and it applies a draw on the battery.

You want to make sure your battery is fully charged when you start to get the most accurate estimate. The resistor should be 1ohm, 200watts. 

After connecting the resistor, you will want to check it every hour or so and see how long it takes the battery to drop from 12.6 volts to 12 volts. This is about a 50% drop in power.

Once you have the time that it took for that to happen. You take the current measured thru the resistor and multiply it by the time that it took to drop to that point, so if it took 10 hours for it to drop to 12volts, then you have a 120amp hour battery.

This test should be done at around 77 degrees because if it is warmer or colder, it will affect the discharge of the battery. Also, the voltage should drop around .1 volt every two hours or so.

If it is dropping faster or slower than that, then you might be using too much or too little voltage to get an accurate estimate.

Using a Voltmeter

If you know the amps your battery is supposed to be and want to see how many your battery has in it, then you can use a voltmeter. You do this by taking your voltmeter and connect it to the battery.

Some nicer volt meters have clips that hook right on to the battery. Others though have metal rods that you have to hold on to the battery post. For these you might need two people, but probably not.

Using a voltmeter

Using a Voltmeter

Once you have the voltmeter connected it will give you a reading. For a car battery that it's fully charged it should read around 12-13 volts.

This is because each cell in a battery is 2.1 volts and six cells are adding up to 12.6volts, but there is some leeway depending on how old the battery is. 

So reading it, some have needles, and some are digital. The digital ones are easy since they display a number, but the needle ones are a little harder. For a needle one, you have to look to see where it lines up and read the volt number.

Some voltmeters have more than one number, so you have to know which one is for volts. Once you do that, you have to do the math to find out how many amps are in the battery if that is what you are worried about.

Some voltmeters do have a spot to tell you amps, so if your has that number and that is what you want to know, then you don't have to do that math to convert volts to amps.

If you have to do the math, then you need to know the maximum amps your battery holds, and that varies from battery to battery, so you will have to read it.

Once you know, you can take the volts that it has and divide it by 12 or a full battery. You then take that percentage and multiply it by the number of amps your battery can hold to find out the amps your battery has.

You can also use a car battery tester or a automotive multimeter to check how many amps your battery has in it.



Just because the reserve amp hour on most batteries is low doesn't mean you shouldn't be careful with them.

Most car batteries can deliver a lot of amps at the beginning for a short period when cold cranking, so when working with your battery trying to find the amps out you need to be careful and use safety precautions. 

Wear insulated gloves, and make sure that no wires are exposed that could lead to you getting electrocuted or a short happening.


So after reading this, you now know that car batteries come in a wide range of amps. Most, however, are in the range of 40amps to 120amps or so, and the bigger the vehicle, the more amps the battery can hold.

Also, the amps we are talking about finding in this article is the reserve amps and is much lower than the cold cranking amps. You have learned that the best way to find the amps is to read the battery and if it doesn't say to find the class level of the battery and use a chart to find the amps that it has.

If you can't do that though, then you can use a resistor and apply a charge to the battery and see how long it takes to drain. You can then do some math to estimate the amps.

Lastly, if you know the amp your battery should be and want to find out if yours has that much, you can use a voltmeter and some math to check that.