Having Electrical Problems? Start with Your Fuses

Many do not understand how vehicle electrical systems work. Problems with wiring or circuits can lead to an expensive car repair. Sometimes your fuses can help you to figure out what is going on.

What Fuses Do

A fuse is a safety device. It protects your electronics and wiring. Every circuit will have protection of some kind, and fuses are the most common. Although there are many different styles of fuses, they all have an amperage rating. This number indicates how much current can safely pass through the circuit that fuse is protecting.

How Fuses Work

A fuse plugs into a socket that is wired in series with a circuit. When too much current suddenly crosses the fuse, it burns up. This opens the circuit and cuts off the flow of electricity preventing damage to the rest of the system. Nothing on that circuit will work until the fuse is replaced.

What to Look For

In addition to your auto maintenance schedule, your owner’s manual will give you the locations, sizes, and functions of your fuses. If a fuse keeps burning up, it is a sign that your electronics are drawing too much current for some reason. Any of the devices on that circuit listed in your manual can be the culprit.

Replacing a fuse is a simple auto repair, but you should never ever put a fuse in that is larger than the one listed in the manual. Oversized fuses allow unsafe levels of current to flow which causes electrical fires. If the same fuse fails repeatedly, you need a professional diagnosis and car repair.