Did You Blow a Fuse?

During the course of the ownership of a car, there’s a strong chance that a fuse will blow out. You’ll know when this happens because a device or component in your car won’t work. Engineers design cars to do this to prevent overheating and potential fires.

How do you know if a fuse has blown? Most likely something will simply stop working. For example, it could be the backup lights, the turn signals, or some other electrically-powered item. The solution is to replace the fuse.

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In general, most vehicles on the road have two types of fuses. Older cars have glass, tube-like fuses with stainless steel caps on the ends. These types of fuses were very common a few decades ago and are rare now in cars. Today’s cars have a very different style of fuse that uses a colored plastic housing with the fusible link encased in the housing.

If you suspect a fuse might be the culprit when something stops working, the first step is to locate the fuse and see if it has blown. Your owner’s manual can help locate the fuse box and once you’ve located it, you have to determine which fuse needs to be removed for inspection. Say, for example, the interior lights don’t illuminate. The owner’s manual will usually have a chart which will show you which fuse protects the interior lights. Once the fuse is identified, you need to see if it has failed. This is usually quite easy. If the metal link inside the fuse is separated, the fuse is “blown”. If not, then it’s still good and can be reinstalled.

If the fuse is blown, the next step is finding a proper replacement. Some cars come with a supply of spares; otherwise you’ll need to make a quick trip to the auto parts store to get some. The most critical element to replacing a fuse is using the same amperage rating as the blown one. If you look at the top of the fuse, you will see a number. This is the fuse’s Amperage Rating.

So, once you determine the fuse is blown and procure a suitable replacement, it’s time to reinstall the new one. This is the easiest part although sometimes a fuse puller (usually provided in the fuse box) will help you. Put in the new fuse, start the car and see if the device works now. If it doesn’t you likely have other issues to deal with and it might be best to have a certified mechanic look at it.

Source: Arrigo Fiat of West Palm Beach

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