Change a Car Fuse

Picture this. It’s a beautiful night and you and your sweetie are driving down a pretty country road. The bliss of the night is interrupted by a high-pitched scream. The scream wasn’t Sweetie; it was you because the car just lost all power to the headlights.

Since the car is running fine the only conclusion to make is there is a blown fuse. Luckily a few tips and tricks of the trade, not to mention knowing where to look, will fix the problem in a jiffy.

The first thing to do is be prepared. The Boy Scouts are on to something with that one. Being prepared means having the correct fuses for your vehicle on hand, not in the garage at home. They won’t help you there. Ten dollars or less spent at the auto store will provide your car with a spare set of fuses for any emergency.

It’s a good idea to store these in the glove compartment if your car isn’t equipped with a place in the fuse panel to store them. The glove compartment is an ideal location to keep the fuses clean and dry.

Newer model cars and trucks rely heavily on their electrical systems. Ask anyone who has worked on them. Some of these models have up to three different fuse boxes.

An easy way to determine which box to check and which fuse to change is using the owner’s manual. There should be a chart detailing those specifics included. If the chart is missing, the fastest way to find the faulty fuse is to test it with a test light or voltmeter.

Now, if the Boy Scouts’ rule has been forgotten, the option left for you is to check them by sight individually. To test if the fuse is blown, connect the ground wire of your test light or voltmeter to a chassis point, one with exposed metal is a good choice. Then touch the tool’s probe to the fuse’s conductor.

A working fuse will show voltage power on both sides. Obviously the faulty culprit fuse will be missing its charge on one side. Fortunately changing the fuse involves removing the bad one and plugging in a new fuse.

Pay attention here. Make sure the fuse you are using to replace the bad one is the correct amp. If you use a fuse with too high amperage it is possible to start an electrical fire in your vehicle and do more damage than a simple blown fuse is worth.

Fuses typically come in three sizes, mini, normal, and maxi. The fuses that are mini and normal are color-coded. The wrench thrown in is that the maxi sized fuses are color-coded differently.

This being the case it is imperative to check that the amperage on the fuse is correct for location. Don’t even trust a trained mechanic, they make mistakes too. Just because that was the last fuse put in doesn’t mean it was the right amperage.