On this page, you’ll find tools to help make your electrical fault-finding mission and wiring repairs easier.
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Electrical Contact Cleaner
Electrical contact cleaner is an auto electrician’s best friend. Fretting or micro corrosion commonly occurs in automotive wiring terminals. And as you know, modules are super sensitive to changes in resistance. Cleaning the terminals is very often all that is required to solve irritating intermittent gremlins. Picture links to Amazon.com.
NOCO Jump Starter Pack
The NOCO jump starter pack is a serious tool, don’t let its size fool you. This little guy fights way above its weight. Capable of starting a diesel truck engine and yet small enough to fit in your glove box.
It features smart design and technology, it won’t allow you to connect its backways, and it features a no spark technology, meaning it doesn’t arc when connected to the battery; nice!
It’s powered by the latest technology lithium battery. But it’s got a few more tricks; it’s a fast charger, too (2 hours), which means you can use it to charge your car, truck, boat, mower, or snow blower battery, as well as jump-start them.
Other features include – a charge port for charging your phone or iPad, comes with an eight-mode hand lamp (500 lumens), a 12v 15amp port to power air pumps, or whatever.
I’m a fan.
NOCO Genius Battery Charger
The NOCO genius battery charger is what’s known as a smart charger, also known as a battery maintainer or trickle charger. They are smart because they detect the battery’s state of charge and automatically turn it off and on as needed. If you’re troubleshooting with the ignition system turned on, it kills the battery, especially in higher-end vehicles. To prevent this, we use a battery maintainer.
The genius will work on 6 or 12 volts, regular wet batteries (mower battery), Modern vehicle batteries (AGM), and Lithium too.
Unlike normal chargers, the NOCO genius has a neat force charge function and saves the old two-battery hook-up hack, which I like!
This makes this little charger ideal for many purposes. Hook up this little guy to your modern car battery, lawn mower battery, classic car, motorhome, boat, etc., safely over winter, and it will keep your batteries in top condition. Picture links to Amazon.com.
A Power probe is an excellent tool to have around. Great for testing circuits, relays, fuses, checking battery voltage, checking alternator output, checking the ground, and volt drop testing. I’ve had a power probe forever, and it’s still going strong.
Fuse Buddy is a useful tool if you’re chasing a battery drain or troubleshooting an intermittent blowing fuse. Remove the fuse and plug in the fuse buddy, operate the circuit, and check the amp draw against the circuit-rated spec. A circuit that’s pulling more than the fuse rating will blow the fuse, which indicates a short in the wiring or a failing component. Pic links to Amazon.com.
An inexpensive test light lights red for power and green for ground. Sharp probe for piercing wiring, where back probing isn’t possible.
The Autel MaxiCOM is a shop-level tool. It is capable of reading, clearing fault codes, coding a new battery, placing EPB module in service mode, and calibration after the repair. It is also capable of activating ABS modulator solenoids when performing a full brake bleed procedure.
Armed with this, you’ll be able to read any control module code – engine, airbags, ABS, transmission, etc. It resets service messages, calibrates systems, codes injectors, runs DPF regen on diesel vehicles, and much much more. You won’t need another scanner.
It’s not a bidirectional tool; if you need to activate components, you’ll need to move up a scanner grade. A bidirectional tool is excellent for diagnosing component or switch issues.
Fluke DVOM (Digital Volt Ohm Meter), also known as Multimeters or Voltmeters, are leaders in the game, and this one is a surprisingly good price. Fluke is a pro tool and will acutely measure volt drops and resistance, both critical measurements for fault-finding components or circuits and increasingly so as the world of transport turns electric.
Professional back probes are important when diagnosing sensitive and delicate automotive terminals. Jamming a DVOM probe into a terminal is a seriously bad idea; it will spread the contacts, and that causes a ton of problems.
Cartman Battery & Alternator Tester
Cartman battery and alternator tester. This inexpensive tool makes testing your vehicle’s battery and alternator really simple. Connect it up, red to positive and black to the negative side of the battery, and read the traffic light display. Starting and running the vehicle will test the alternator.
Topdon Battery Tester
The Topdon is a very capable and inexpensive battery tester. I covered battery testing using the Topdon battery tester, and you can check that out here “Best battery tester for home use”.
Fast, simple, and inexpensive relay tester. Tests four and five-pin relays display green light for good and red for fail.
Schumacher OBD-L Memory Saver or KAM tool. Important to fit the memory tool before disconnecting the battery. Modern cars don’t like being without power. The Schumacher is easy to use with its 3 steps guided procedure.
Power probe soldering iron kit. Butane powered for instant heat, who has time to wait for a soldering iron to heat? This kit comes with a selection of tips to suit the particular job at hand.
Klein wire strippers are just a nice tool to use; makes life a ton easier, especially when you’re under a dashboard trying to make repairs. Not an essential tool, but if you do a lot of wiring, you’ll be glad you invested.
Stabiliant 22 Cleaner
Fretting (micro corrosion) in module (computer) terminals is a common cause of intermittent electrical issues. Stabiliant 22 promotes connectivity in micro-electrical contacts. It contains a cleaner, a lubricant, and it activates as current passes through it. Used widely in avionics, marine, and video-audio equipment. It’s applied by brush (included) and allowed to dry before reconnecting the terminal.
A head-mounted lamp is like having a third hand, a real advantage when you are doing battle. This rechargeable LEd head-mounted lamp is conveniently sold and delivered by Amazon.com.
I can’t work without good light; if I don’t have good light I find the job goes downhill quickly. Enuotek built these tough; I’ve had several of these lamps, not because they break but because I lose them.
I’ve bounced mine on the ground so many times, and it survived. They are a real MacGyver of a lamp, magnet, hooks, led area light, and spotlight.
Proudly made in the USA, this anti-corrosive oil-based paste for battery terminals will prevent corrosion which is a very common cause of poor starts and premature battery failure.
Battery Post Cleaner
Battery post and terminal cleaner. Dirty terminals are a root cause of a ton of electrical issues. Stainless steel cone wire brush side for terminal cleaning and internal brush for the battery posts. Suits top and side post batteries.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.