There’s a fine line between tackling a DIY car repair and knowing when to hire a mechanic. Taking on more than you can handle often leads to an expensive repair.
However, some repairs fall within the realm of DIY. Changing a blown car fuse is certainly one of them.
Every car has an instrument panel fuse block containing several fuses that connect and protect the electrical current that powers everything from the air conditioning and radio to the power steering. If one of these features stops working – it’s likely due to a blown fuse.
Car fuses typically cost about a $1 at any neighborhood auto parts store.
Use these tips to replace a car fuse on your own.
1. Check the owner’s manual
Don’t leave anything to chance. Grab your owner’s manual and locate the section on the fuse panel.
It should explain everything you need to know, including how to access the panel, and which fuses correspond to different parts of the car.
Most fuses are located on the driver’s side dashboard, typically under the steering wheel, or in the glove compartment.
2. Remove the fuse panel
Locate the fuse panel and remove the cover. Most panels come off easily, but you may need a screwdriver.
3. Locate the blown fuse
You’ll see several different fuses. Each fuse has a specific color and number on the top indicating the amperage. Your owner’s manual should include a diagram explaining which component each fuse controls.
According to DMV.org, a blown fuse will have a broken filament or appear black inside. When you locate the blown fuse, you can pull it out with your hands. Some cars come with a special tool for removing fuses.
4. Replacing a blown fuse
When replacing a blown fuse, make sure the new fuse has the same color and amperage rating.
Replacing a fuse with the wrong amperage rating can cause serious damage to your car’s electrical components.
Some fuse panels come equipped with spare fuses. If not, you’ll need to buy one. If you’re in a pinch, you can swap in a fuse of a lesser-used device, such as the cigarette lighter, as long as it has the same amperage and color.
5. Start the engine
After installing the new fuse and closing the fuse panel, start your car and check if the corresponding electrical device now works.
If not, or if the new fuse blows right after replacement, you’ll need to take your car to a mechanic to diagnose the electrical issue.