Back-To-Basics: Broken Wires

Sometimes going back-to-basics can make the difference between a quality repair and a failed repair. Thousands of feet of wire is used in modern vehicles. Driven by consumer demand for more tech features, along with the incorporation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), we won’t likely be turning back on the amount of wire used. With all of that wire, some organization is needed to keep things straight. Wires headed to the same destinations are bundled into wire harnesses. While this is great for keeping all these wires under control, it can make it difficult to find an electrical problem after a collision.

When many wires are grouped together it will make the harness less likely to be completely severed if it is impacted by a collision. Sometimes a few of the outer wires will be cut, or maybe the harness doesn’t even show signs of damage. However, an impacted wire harness can have wires that are crushed or damaged, which can restrict electrical flow. Wires can even be completely severed inside of the harness, even though there are no breaks in the outer casing.

A crushed harness can cause many problems within the vehicle’s electrical system. It is often assumed that a sensor has failed, or it is a control module that is causing the problem. However, after the new parts are installed, the problem still exists. Many sensors and control modules monitor voltage, and a crushed wire with broken strands inside may cause a different voltage reading. This is why it’s important to properly diagnose the problem before replacing parts.

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