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How To Repair Electrical Wiring

author By Anna Finger
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Repairing Electrical Wires

Today's vehicles are equipped with a series of sensors, motors, switches and a computer. Most of the connections and wiring between many of these components are a calculated size that is designed for maximum efficiency. A trained technician should repair these components if anything goes wrong. Sometimes, it may be necessary to make an emergency repair.

The wiring system in a vehicle is often color-coded for identification purposes. It is the size of the wire and not the color that is important. As an example, we will use a broken wire under the hood that powers the radiator cooling fan. If there is enough wire to pull the ends together and overlap about an inch, that is enough. Otherwise, you will need a piece of extra wire the same size.

An emergency splice can be made using only a sharp tool for removing about half an inch of insulation from each end, and some tape. To connect the two pieces after removing the insulation, overlap the ends and twist one end around the other wire, then vice versa. That forms a rat tail splice. Wrap that with 2 layers of tape. For a more permanent splice, butt connectors are recommended. A butt connector is just a small piece of tubing made to fit a wire in each end and then crimped to hold the wires in place. It is covered with insulation but as an added security, tape should also be applied to guard against moisture entering the splice.

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Another more secure splice is made by twisting the wire together and soldering the two wires together. The solder creates a positive and permanent connection that is more resistant to corrosion and more likely to maintain conductivity. Heat shrink tubing creates a more secure insulation and a more waterproof connection than tape.

The heat shrink tubing should be slid on the wire before connecting. After the connection is made, by whatever method, the tubing is moved into place over the splice and heated evenly over its length. It will shrink snugly around the wire and splice.

WARNING: Take care using heat, especially an open flame, near your engine.