How to Replace an Electrical Fuse in a Car

by Contributor

Fuses protect all the electrical devices in your car: In case of a power surge, a fuse will "blow" so that the extra electricity doesn't reach the device. Replacing a fuse is easy, and you'll feel good diagnosing and fixing something yourself.

Turn off the car before beginning work.

Look under your car's dashboard, just below the driver's left knee.

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Find the fuse box. It's usually a small square or rectangular plastic box. There will be a cover that pops open, with perhaps a tab keeping it closed. It can be opened without any tools. Many cars have a second fuse box inside the engine compartment. If the fuse you're looking to replace isn't in the fuse box inside the car, check for a second fuse box.

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Remove the cover from the fuse box. The cover should contain a chart telling what each fuse controls, or there may be a clear plastic cover over the fuses that gives this information.

Find the blown fuse. It will look like the filament in a burned-out lightbulb - the metal strip will be broken and the fuse may look a little blackened.

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Grasp the burned-out fuse on either side with your thumb and forefinger, and pop it out with a small pinching motion. Most cars have a small, plastic "fuse remover" in one of the slots. If it hasn't already been lost, you can use this to remove the fuse, or even a small screwdriver if you can't get it out with your fingers.

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Take the fuse to a hardware or auto parts store. Get an identical replacement.

Replace the fuse by seating it in the slot from which you removed the burned-out one and pressing firmly with your thumb. It should snap into place.

Start the car and test the feature that had burned out - the headlights, the fan or the interior lights, for example.

Replace the fuse box cover.

Tips

  • check Many cars have a few slots for extra fuses - just be sure to use the right amperage (there will be a little number in the fuse indicating amps).
  • check There are three types of fuses: cylindrical glass fuses with metal ends; square plastic fuses with two metal prongs; and cylindrical plastic fuses with no covering over the filament. All of the fuses in your car will use one of these three types.
  • check Once you know which type your car uses, it's not a bad idea to buy a box of assorted fuses, of various amperages, to keep in the glove box.
  • check If you replace the fuse and it keeps blowing, there may be an electrical short somewhere. Make an appointment to see your mechanic.

Warnings

  • close Don't replace burned-out fuses with new fuses of different ratings (that is, don't use a 15-amp fuse to replace a 10-amp fuse).
  • close On older cars, fuses may crack when removed. Be careful not to cut yourself on old fuses.

Items you will need

About the Author

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