Learn how to quickly and safely change the fuses in your car and get back on the road without letting a dealership or mechanic get the best of you.
Locating and Diagnosing
Make sure it’s a fuse issue. When one circuit has too much electricity flowing through it, the fuse blows to prevent serious damage and even fire. The best way of knowing if a fuse has blown, is if an electric component instantly stops working i.e. window stops while rolling up or down, radio stops workings, or all of the dash lights go out at once. If an electric component has been slowly getting worse, it is not likely a fuse but it is still good to check the fuses regularly.
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Find the fuse panel. The owner’s manual will tell where the vehicle’s fuse panel is. Most models situate the fuse panel on the driver’s side of the dashboard and under the steering wheel, but location varies from vehicle to vehicle. Remove the fuse panel’s cover; there will be several different color-coded fuses plugged in. These colors, along with the numbers stamped on the fuses, indicate different amperage ratings. On the backside of the fuse panel there will be a diagram that shows which fuse corresponds with which electrical component. If the owner’s manual is unavailable, try contacting a dealership for the location or a simple internet search can provide enough information to locate the fuse panel and specific fuses.
Try to test fuses before removing. Once the fuse panel is located, remove the cover and locate the fuse puller, most vehicles come with a small fuse puller but not all will have one. Before removing any fuses, it is possible to test a fuse before removing it, this requires either a continuity test light, or a multi-meter / ohm meter.
Test the suspect fuses. To test a fuse without removing it, using the two probes of either the test light or multi-meter, touch the two small metal tabs located on the top of the fuse. These tabs can be tricky to connect to, but once sure that the probes are making contact, if the fuse has continuity (test light lights up) or has a resistance reading (may read 0 or 0.001milli-ohm) then the fuse is good. If these tools are unavailable, simply use the fuse puller that was in the fuse panel, or a small pair of pliers, or just bare fingers to remove and visually inspect any fuses. If the fuse is bad, it needs to be replaced.
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Fuse Removal and Replacement
When replacing a fuse you must use a fuse that has the same amperage rating. Use the fuse panel diagram, the numbered color-coded fuses and the owner’s manual to help you determine the correct amperage for your new fuse. Once you have the right fuse gently push it into the correct slot, make sure it’s completely installed, and then put the fuse panel back on the car.
Check the circuit. Once you are done replacing the fuse, turn the ignition and check to see if the circuit giving you trouble is working correctly. If it is working, chances are you just had a temporary surge that blew the fuse. If that’s the case, then you just solved the problem.