Monday, April 29, 2013
Cyber Monday - How to check your car fuse....
There are lots of different types of fuses out there and sometimes when you're having car troubles, the fuse is the easiest and sometimes the right option especially when you're having electrical problems. But lets start from the beginning...
Fuses for cars are usually color coded and with each fuse a number is written across the top. These numbers represent the amperage for the fuse. Amperage, for those a little rusty on their physics or electrical engineering, is strength of electrical current. One way to think about it is akin to water flowing out of a hose. Water itself might be voltage, but how much water flows out or the force at which it comes out, is the amperage. Fuses can blow because parts are malfunctioning, a component got wet when it shouldn't have, or sometimes by a random power surge. It's important that the fuses are not blown for the car to operate normally, and when they are, are replaced with the proper fuse which really means proper amperage and size.
There are two main fuse boxes also known as relay boxes, one inside the car, the other, under the hood. Both of these boxes can usually be found under the dash on the drivers side of the car or next to where the door opens and, from my experience, on the right side of the car under the hood (shown on the images to the left). When you open the fuse box up, you should see a diagram for the fuses indicated what amperage is needed for that specific position along with what each fuse is tied to. It's like a map for the fuses, it shows you what fuse belongs to what part of the car and what type of fuse is needed. So when your radio randomly doesn't work, find it on the diagram or map, pop it out and check the fuse. :-)
Usually checking to see if a fuse is blown is pretty obvious, there might be a burn mark along with part of the wire missing if it is a tubular fuse or if they are like a fuse shown above, part of the 'U' might be missing. Typically removing a fuse is a pretty simple act of just pulling it out, although some cars can be tough and actually provide little fuse tweezers.
First make sure that the car is turned off and the accessories are off as well. Next, be sure to take out the fuse, if it is blown - trash it, and gently insert the new fuse in its place. Be sure that the new fuse is of the same color and rating as the old one. If you get confused, like my mom did once, don't start pulling them out and swapping them around by accident. Look at the "map" of fuses on the cover and make sure you put the fuses in the correct spot. I usually try to find a spot that is easy to find on the map and on the fuse box and from there make sure it was the right spot. An example might be where a row of fuses goes from 4 in a row to 3 or 2 in a row, then according to that spot, find where it belongs. Once complete, you can turn the battery on and check that the piece of equipment works again. If so, then congrats! You've just changed your fuse! And no need for a mechanic either! ;-)