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Electrical Systems

The electrical system on vehicles can be summed up as the central nervous system of the vehicle. It allows for push button operation of accessories and communication of components to monitor the input and control the output of many systems.

It is not a whole system but rather a network of smaller systems combined. Some of these systems operate independently while others rely on the integration of multiple systems.

On high-end vehicles fiber optics are used to transmit data and signals instead of copper wire.

Whew!

Types of Electrical Systems

It is hard to define one system alone. Most of them overlap because they control mechanical or hydraulic parts. This is where you will have to do some research of your own.

Know the electrical systems on your vehicle in three easy steps:

  1. Find your owner’s manual.
  2. Flip to the index and find “Fuses” and/or “Relays”. Some may title it “Circuit Protection”.
  3. Go to that page and look at the systems listed for each fuse or relay.

Go ahead, I’ll wait…

Did you find them? There is quite a bit of them huh? See why it would be crazy to define all of them here? Furthermore, each manufacturer has designed and engineered each system according to how they want it to work. Some systems have options and upgrades available at the time of purchase on select models. The variations are too great to begin here.

If you did not or cannot find your owner’s manual check out the table below.

Manufacturer VIN Free Notes
Acura No No 1990-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Audi No No Paper owner’s manuals are available for purchase.
BMW No Yes 2004-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Buick No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Cadillac No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Chevrolet No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Chrysler No Yes 2004-current models are free. 2003MY and earlier are available for purchase.
Daewoo No No 1999-2002 models. Purchase owner’s manuals from “Order Accessories” link.
Dodge No Yes 2004-current models are free. 2003MY and earlier are available for purchase.
Ford No Yes 1996-current models.
Geo No Yes 1993-1997 models. Geo models are listed under Chevrolet make.
GMC No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Honda No Yes 1990-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Hummer No Yes 2003-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Hyundai Yes Yes 2003-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Infiniti No Yes 2006-current models.
Isuzu No No Isuzu Web site directs you to Helm, Inc. for manual.
Jaguar No Yes 2002-current models.
Jeep No Yes 2004-current models are free. 2003MY and earlier are available for purchase.
Kia Yes Yes 2005-current models. Requires free sign-up. Owner’s manuals are printable but not downloadable.
Land Rover No Yes 1998-current models.
Lexus No Yes Requires free sign-up. Owner’s manuals are printable but not downloadable.
Lincoln No Yes 1996-current models.
Mazda No Yes 2002-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Mercedes-Benz No Yes 2000-current models.
Mercury No Yes 1996-current models.
Mini Yes No Must join the owner’s lounge to obtain owner’s manual.
Mitsubishi No No Purchase owner’s manuals through Helm, Inc.
Nissan No Yes 2006-current models.
Oldsmobile No Yes 1993-2004 models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Pontiac No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Porsche n/a n/a No online owner’s manuals, but has warranty information
Saab No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Saturn No Yes 1993-current models. Must have a Yahoo ID to log in.
Scion No Yes Interactive tutorials for current models only. Free owner’s manuals for audio and nav components only.
smart No Yes 2008-current models.
Subaru No Yes 1998-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Suzuki No No Paper and downloadable owner’s manuals are available for purchase.
Tesla No Yes Owner’s manual download link is on homepage.
Toyota No Yes 1996-current models. Requires free sign-up.
Volkswagen No No Paper owner’s manuals are available for purchase.
Volvo No Yes 1990-current models. Requires free sign-up.

MY- Model Year

 

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