If you begin to notice some electrical problems in your vehicle, such as the dome light failing to turn on when you open the doors or the radio shutting off, you may need to check the fuses.
Fuses act as guardians to your vehicle’s electronic components. Without them, overloaded electrical currents can overheat the wires, melt insulation, and cause fires. Fuses help ensure that electrical currents stay at a functional level. If they get too high, the fuse will blow as a way to stop further electrical damage.
Fuse boxes house the fuses and relays, which help prevent damage to them from weather, water, and other conditions. We’ll discuss why fuses blow as well as how to replace them.
Common Causes of Blown Fuses:
If you are having electrical issues, then these could be the culprits:
Faulty Fuse Replacement:
There are many types of fuses in terms of both material and amperage. If fuses keep blowing, there is a chance that it was replaced with a fuse of a higher or lower amperage than needed. You should be able to locate a diagram within your vehicle’s manual that will show the required amperage rating for every fuse and each circuit that it is placed in. If you are still not sure what amperage your fuses should be then consult an auto professional to find the right fuses for the correct locations.
A Short Circuit in the Electrical System:
A short happens when there is a poor connection between two conductors supplying electricity, which then causes an overload to the circuit. This overload causes the fuse to blow to prevent the wiring from overheating and melting.
Short circuits are easy to fix but can sometimes be difficult to find within the electrical system as there are a few things that can cause them. Short circuits can result from an electrical device malfunction. For instance, internal damage in the windshield wiper motor can cause more current than normal to flow, which shorts the circuit. Conductors exposed to leaks or other elements can be another cause of short circuits as the fluid gets into the wiring and connection points.
Fraying in Wire Insulation:
If the wiring is worn out to the point of exposure, then the wire may touch the metal frame or external surface. This will lead to a short circuit as well. Even if the wire moves around a lot and only comes into surface contact occasionally, these intermittent short circuits will eventually lead to a blown fuse.
Where to Find the Fuse Boxes?
Most vehicles have two fuse boxes. You can find the first one placed in the engine compartment. This is used to protect the engine components including the anti-lock brake pump, the cooling system, as well as the engine control unit.
The second is located in the driver’s side dashboard. This fuse box protects the interior electrical system. Each fuse box has several fuses and relays inside to keep them protected from exterior elements. Fuse box repair or replacement will not usually be necessary unless there has been some severe physical damage to the vehicle or electrical issues.
How to Replace Fuses:
Use the vehicle’s manual to locate its fuse boxes. When you find the right one, take off the front panel. In the manual, you will find a diagram letting you know which fuse is designated for which component, and this will help you know which fuse has blown.
When you replace fuses, it is recommended that you use the exact amperage as the one that you are replacing. Do not mix 10-amp fuses with 30-amp fuses as this will only lead to another blown fuse and further damage to the component. So there is little confusion, there will be a range of numbers and colors in the fuse box that will coincide with the diagram showing what levels of power are required for each fuse.
After you have replaced the broken fuse, you can start the ignition to see if your work has paid off. If that same fuse does not work at all or blows again soon after you replace it, you may need to take your vehicle to a mechanic to see what is wrong with that specific electrical component.
Replacing fuses can be a pretty easy fix if you are confident, but remember that with your vehicle’s electrical system, you should always be cautious. Mishandling the fuses or fuse box could do you or your vehicle some damage, so be careful.
If you have concerns about your vehicle and are located in northern Utah, Burt Brothers has 14 locations to help with your automotive concerns and tire needs. Our ASE-certified technicians can locate the source of your vehicle’s electrical problems and get you back on the road quickly and safely. Come visit us at one of our convenient Utah auto repair locations.