The national cost for an electrical system inspection with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $26 and $1020 with an average of $65.

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What is an electrical system inspection and how does it work?

A modern automobile contains miles of electrical wires that connect to hundreds of components that make its systems function as they should. Practically every operation on a vehicle is actuated, controlled, and/or monitored by way of electrical circuits made up of computer modules, fuses, relays, wires, sensors, switches, and more.

Over time, as your vehicle ages, these circuits become prone to malfunction. Poor electrical connections due to corrosion, vibration, aging plastics, and other environmental factors can lead to a breakdown in a circuit and failure of the components in that circuit.

For instance, a faulty oxygen sensor (attached to your vehicle’s exhaust system) might actually be related to a bad wire leading to the sensor. A problem with the traction control system might be the result of a bad wire leading to a wheel speed sensor - or a blown fuse. Since every vehicle system has an electrical component to it, a problem with the electrical system can lead to false readings and system failures.

An electrical system inspection involves locating and repairing issues such as these to ensure proper operation of your vehicle and its various systems.


How is a an Electrical System Inspection done?

To complete an electrical system inspection, a technician may perform any or all of the following actions:

  • Check and clean battery cable connections
  • Test the battery
  • Unplug and inspect any wiring connectors leading to components causing issues
  • Inspect wiring harnesses and connections relating to any component causing issues
  • Connect a diagnostic scan tool to the vehicle’s data port and perform function tests of any system causing problems
  • Connect a diagnostic tool to the vehicle and view live data to ensure feedback is being transmitted from various sensors and actuators, to confirm the circuits are functional
  • Use a multimeter to check for proper voltage, resistance, and other function

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How do I know if my vehicle needs an electrical system inspection?

Virtually every vehicle function relies on electricity in one way or another. Whether it is being powered, controlled, or monitored by electricity, every system is affected if there is a problem in its electrical circuitry.

In fact, an electrical problem can cause a problem that appears to be something else. Your window might fail to move up or down. The problem could be with the window regulator, or it could be with a switch, wire, or fuse. Your transmission could fail to shift properly. The issue could rest with the transmission itself or with a sensor or wire. Many vehicle problems can stem from a fault in the electrical system.

Your vehicle may need an electrical system inspection if a technician suspects a problem with the electrical components themselves. Actually, some sort of electrical inspection occurs anytime a technician needs to pinpoint a problem after using a diagnostic scan tool.

Some of the more obvious signs that your vehicle might need an electrical system inspection include:

The lights are flickering or not working at all

The radio, horn, or other electrical component fail or work intermittently

The check engine light comes on

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Other questions customers ask

What is the electrical system in a vehicle?
The electrical system in a vehicle consists of anything that passes electrical current through it. This includes commonly known items such as the battery, alternator, starter, and ignition coils, as well as more obscure parts such as sensors and hidden actuators inside the body panels, engine, and transmission.
How do I know if my car's electrical system is bad?
If your car's electrical system is bad or has issues, you may notice things such as your lights dimming, the engine being hard to start, or the dashboard gauge showing that the alternator is not properly charging. You may also smell plastic burning if any wiring is getting too hot or overloaded.
What are the most common car electrical system problems?
The most common car electrical system problems are issues with the battery, battery connections, starter, alternator, or ignition system.

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