Increasing complexity of design in automotive electrical systems has been paralleled by increased demands for analysis of the safety and reliability aspects of those designs. Such demands can place a great burden on the engineers charged with carrying out the analysis. This paper describes how the intended functions of a circuit design can be combined with a qualitative model of the electrical circuit that fulfils the functions, and used to analyse the safety of the design. FLAME, an automated failure mode and effects analysis system based on these techniques, is described in detail. FLAME has been developed over several years, and is capable of composing an FMEA report for many different electrical subsystems. The paper also addresses the issue of how the use of functional and structural reasoning can be extended to sneak circuit analysis and fault tree analysis.