Working with high voltage vehicles: Special tools and equipment 

When repairing high-voltage (HV) vehicles, many Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) specify the use of special tools and equipment when handling and repairing these vehicles. There are also some specialized tools that are variations of everyday tools that we find in the repair facility. These tool variations are there to keep the technician safe during the repair process. 

First and foremost, anytime a technician is working around the HV system, personal protective equipment (PPE) should be used. Many OEMs provide PPE guidelines and requirements when it comes to these vehicles. Some examples of PPE that are typically required are: 

  • HV dedicated leather gloves 
  • Rubber lineman’s gloves, which must not be expired and are to be tested before each use 
  • Safety glasses or goggles 
  • Arc flash face shield 
  • Overalls designed specifically for HV 
  • Insulated footwear 

Special tools and testing equipment are also something that may be required when repairing an HV vehicle. These tools can include: 

  • Insulated hand tools, such as wrenches and screwdrivers 
  • Battery lifts with the appropriate weight rating 
  • HV DVOM (minimum CAT 3) 
  • Insulation tester 
  • Milliohm meter 
  • Two-pole voltage tester, with a minimum of CAT 3 

Many OEMs specify what tools are needed on their service site, in vehicle-specific, and in some cases, on their tool and equipment website. It is crucial to always follow OEM procedures when repairing HV vehicles to ensure a complete, safe, and quality repair. 

To learn more about working with HV vehicles, consult the I-CAR Canada course catalogue and view the many Hybrid and Electric Vehicle courses available.