Modern-day vehicles can’t run without computers. Most cars today pack in anywhere from 50 to more than 75 electronic modules. Naturally, where there is electricity, there is electromagnetic interference. Electromagnetic interference can stop these electronic components from working properly and that’s something automotive manufacturers can’t afford. Whether you are a component supplier to automotive manufacturers or a vehicle OEM, you need to be aware of the applicable automotive EMC standards for your product and how to design your product in order to conform to these standards. 

How Do Automotive EMC Testing Systems Work? 

Automotive EMC testing for automotive components works like EMC testing for any other product – it begins right at the design stage. Here is a quick breakdown of the whole process:

  • Finalising your requirements
  • Preparing a test plan
  • Development testing
  • Validation testing

1. Finalising Your Requirements

The first step in any EMC testing system is defining the testing requirements. As you must be aware, different geographical regions have different EMC standards. In addition to the standards designed by regulators in a particular location, many vehicle original equipment manufacturers have their own specifications which may go beyond the regulatory standards. This is why you need to first identify the regulations with which the product needs to comply.

2. Preparing A Test Plan

If you are a supplier to a vehicle OEM, you will be asked to submit an EMC test plan which has to be approved by the EMC engineer at the OEM. In the automotive industry, test plan approval is a standard process. Conducting tests without an approved test plan is a waste of time as OEMs are not likely to validate the test report. 

In the case of aftermarket products, many product designers usually go for EMC testing without a plan but it makes things complicated and may lead to compliance issues. This is why it is recommended to always have a test plan in place in order to avoid any regulatory compliance issues. This test plan should clearly indicate every test to be conducted and conditions that need to be evaluated and met.

Automotive EMC Testing Systems 

3. Development Testing

Development testing is a part of the product design process. In this type of testing, all the tests are not needed and only a subset of the overall tests is conducted in order to ensure that the product design is going in the right direction. It is recommended to use the same lab for development testing as well as validation testing to avoid any surprises at the last minute. 

One of the biggest advantages of development testing is that it helps in reducing the cost of product design. In case a product subassembly needs to be modified due to failure during development testing, it is much cheaper to do it at the early design stage instead of having to restart the design process right from scratch after a failure during validation testing.

4. Validation Testing

First and foremost, you need to understand that most of the laboratories are booked in advance when it comes to validation testing. This is why it is recommended to get in touch with the lab to schedule time for validation testing. Discussing things with the lab experts will also make sure that they are ready with the right testing methods and testing standards. The expert in these laboratories can also help with the regulatory requirements.

As a part of validation testing, users are typically required to submit an approved test plan, with the device that needs to be tested, wiring harnesses, load box, computer, monitoring equipment and instructions on how to operate the equipment, among other things. It is important to frequently communicate with the lab experts to make sure that all the resources required for validation testing are available on the test start date.


The inclusion of a variety of electronic modules and computers inside the vehicles has made the vehicles safer, more efficient and in general, better. EMC testing is a regulatory necessity due to the presence of numerous electronic modules in modern vehicles. 

Automotive EMC testing involves a clear understanding of the regulatory standards that need to be met and designing a test plan focused on acquiring compliance. If you have any other questions regarding automotive EMC testing, get in touch with the experts at Compliance Engineering to learn more about the testing process.

Please call us today at Compliance Engineering on + 61 3 9763 3079 or leave an enquiry