Blowing the fuse: how, when and why
Have you Blown a fuse?
Usually, something will simply stop working to indicate that a fuse has blown. For example, it could be the turn signals, the backup lights or some other electrically-powered item. The solution is replacement of the fuse. This is what the Service Manager at Suburban, a full-service Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep and RAM car dealership in Farmington Hills, MI, says to do.
During the course of owning a car, there's a strong chance that a fuse will blow out. You'll know when this occurs because a device or component in your vehicle won't work. Engineers design cars to do this to prevent potential engine fires.
Finding & Identifying a Fuse
If you think a fuse might be the issue when something stops working, the first step is to find the fuse and see if it's blown. Your owner's manual can help you find the fuse box and once you have located it, you have to determine which fuse has to be removed for inspection. Say, for example, your interior lights do not illuminate.
The owner's manual will usually have a chart that will show you which fuse protects your interior lights. Once the fuse is identified, you have to see if it's failed. This is usually easy. If the metal link inside the fuse is separated, your fuse is "blown". If not, then it's still good and may be reinstalled.
Two Kinds of Fuses
In general, many cars on the road have two types of fuses. Older vehicles have glass, tube-like fuses with stainless steel caps on their ends. These kinds of fuses were quite common a couple of decades ago and are rare now in cars. Today's vehicles have a very interesting style of fuse that uses a colored plastic housing with the fusible link encased in its housing.
Potential Replacement Required?
If your fuse is blown, the next step is finding a replacement. Some cars come with a supply of spares; otherwise you will need to make a quick trip to the auto parts store to buy some. The most critical element to fuse replacement is using the same amperage rating as the blown one. If you look at the fuse's top, you'll see a number. That is the fuse's Amperage Rating.
A Brief Look into the Replacement Process
So, once you determine the fuse is blown and have obtained a suitable replacement, it's time to reinstall the new one. Don't worry, as it is quite a simple process. But you can head to the garage if you feel more comfortable. Putting the new fuse in is the easiest part although occasionally a fuse puller (usually provided in the fuse box) will assist you. Put in the new fuse, start the vehicle and see if the device works. If it doesn't you likely have other problems to deal with and it might be best to have a certified mechanic look at it for sure.
We recommend always keeping a few extra fuses in your glove box!
Source: Suburban, Farmingon Hills, MI