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Removing Pins from Automotive Electrical Connectors

How to Remove Pins from Automotive Electrical Connectors

Electrical connectors are significant components of automotive wiring systems. For instance, they link different parts (lamps & lights, antenna, AC compressor, audio system, etc.) along the wiring harness. These connectors are made up of terminal pins; sometimes, you may need to remove (de-pin) them for repairs, troubleshooting or modification. It can be a delicate process, and one needs to avoid damaging the connector (and its casing) or the wires/cables.
For this reason, here is a step-by-step guide to help you effortlessly remove pins from automotive electrical connectors. It outlines all the tools needed and the process to follow.

Step-by-Step Process of Removing Terminal Pins from Automotive Electrical Connectors 

1. Gather the needed tools

The first step entails gathering all the necessary tools you’ll need to remove the terminals. They include:

  • A terminal removal tool/ de-pin release tool: It’s a tool specifically designed to help remove terminal pins from electrical connectors. They come in various styles; therefore, choose one that suits the types of connectors you’ll be working with. An ideal example is the iCrimp IWS-123D DT Series Terminal Extraction Tool Kit.
  • A small flat-blade screwdriver: It’s used to release the locking latches/pin lock retainers on the connectors. It’s also essential you choose insulated screwdrivers.
  • Safety glasses: They help protect your eyes from potential hazards such as debris and sparks when working on automotive.
  • Insulated gloves (optional): They help protect against electric shock while working on automotive live electrical circuits.

2. Observe safety precautions 

Safety first: it’s quite essential. Start by ensuring a vehicle’s electrical power source is disconnected. The best way to do it is to disconnect the vehicle’s battery, which provides voltage to connectors. It helps prevent any electrical accidents or potential damages to the vehicle’s electrical system.
Also, consider wearing gloves and safety glasses to enhance your safety.

3. Identify the type of connector 

As outlined above, you must remember that there are different types of connectors in automotive electrical systems featuring different shapes and designs. Common ones are male and female connectors, waterproof connectors, etc.

4. Locate and release the pin lock retainer/locking latch

Once you’ve identified the connector type, you should locate the locking latch on the connector. Usually, each connector has a locking mechanism latches at the top and bottom of a connector. While releasing these latches seems complex (depending on the design), using the right tools like a fat-blade screwdriver, makes it pretty easy. However, be careful not to damage the connectors, especially when you need them for reassembling.

5. Use a terminal pin removal tool to release the pins from the connector’s housing

Now that you can access the pins, you should use a de-pin release tool. Insert the tool into connectors where pins are located and lift/slide the pin lock/retainer; the tool is designed to disengage the lock retainer. Ensure you push the tool down until it stops or hear a pop-like sound. At the same time, pull the wire/cable connected to that particular terminal pin. Your terminal pin should come out easily. 

6. Inspect the terminal pin

Once you’ve removed your terminal pin and wire from the connector, inspect its condition. You may clean the dust or dirt and insert it back into the connector. In case of a damaged pin, disengage it from the cable and crimp another pin.

Bottom line

Removing terminal pins from automotive electrical connectors is a skill you need as a car owner or professional in the automotive industry. As outlined above, it’s not a complicated process, and with the proper tools, you can do it effortlessly without damaging connectors, housing, or other parts of the electrical system. iCrimp is one of the leading platforms where you can find terminal pin removal tools and connector kits for most automotive electrical applications. It also offers quality crimping tools for Deutsch DT connectors used in the automotive industry.


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