Fuse Replacement

The quick-and-simple of automotive fuse replacement

The electrical system in your vehicle is something you never think about until something goes wrong. Wipers stop wiping. Blowers stop blowing. Mirrors stop adjusting. Then what? Any number of things could cause an electrical component to fail, but if something that was working fine quits suddenly, suspect a blown fuse. The good news is replacing a fuse is something you can easily do.

About Fuses

Anything that runs on electricity requires a complete circuit to operate. Vehicles have fuses built into these circuits to prevent potential damage to electrical components from power overload. Inside every fuse is a wire designed to separate in two when a damaging level of power courses through it. When a fuse "pops," the circuit is broken and the electricity no longer gets where it's supposed to go.

The most important thing to remember when replacing a fuse is to always replace one fuse with another of the same power rating. Think of the electrical system like plumbing, and the fuse as a pipe. Too small a pipe will not let enough water through and the pipe will burst. Too large a pipe will allow too much water and through and cause damage. The same holds true for fuses.

Modern automotive fuses are both color and number coded, which makes correct selection an easy task. Fuses also come in different physical sizes, as well as power ratings. Today's vehicles by and large use either a maxi, or mini blade-style fuse. Older vehicles used a cylindrical glass and steel fuse. No matter what style of fuse they all perform the same function.

Finding out what kind of fuses your vehicle has is as easy as finding the fuse block. Consulting your owner's manual is a good place to start. In general, fuse blocks are either located under the dash to the left of the steering wheel, in the engine compartment, or both. Fuse blocks often have a cover that needs to be removed to access the fuses.

Fuse Guide

Either on the cover or on the block itself is often a guide to which fuse does what. If your wipers have stopped wiping, look for the word "wipers" or the handy diagram that looks like a windshield wiper. If your tunes have gone out, then look for "radio" or a picture of a radio-and so on. Also in this cover, if you're lucky, are a few extra fuses and a pair of fuse pliers! If not, be sure to pick up an extra pair at the store for future use.

Once you have figured out which fuse to replace, use fuse pliers or, in a pinch, a set of needle nose pliers to remove and replace the blown fuse with one of the same size and rating. The good news is the fuse did its job; so did you, and you're done. The bad news is that even though fuses sometimes wear out on their own, if the fuse "pops" again as soon as you put it back in or try to use that component again, you most likely have a short or more serious electrical problem.

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