Maybe it was the fact it was a Monday morning. But it seemed some of our customers were just “having one of those days”. Another good customer of Varney Value came through our doors… after being stopped by the local police! The problem? No tail lights. Adding insult to injury, was the fact the customers teenagers were in the vehicle. While they thought the situation was amusing, the customer was not happy!
Who would have thought that something as small as a automotive fuse, could cause such a big problem. Even though vehicles are becoming more complex and sophisticated, fuses are still in the realm of something you can check – and replace – yourself!
Your first step is to reference your owners manual. There will be information about your vehicles fuse panels. In most cases, the fuses you need to change most often will be located inside the vehicle. Some vehicles still have panels located under the dash on the drivers side about halfway between the steering column and the parking brake pedal. Other locations may be an access panel that is on the side of the dash on the drivers side. It should be well marked and the cover simply pops off . Other locations may be under the hood of the car. The fuses there will be in a fair sized plastic black box in an easy to reach place, most likely on the drivers side. The cover will even say “fuses”.
The owners manual will also tell you which fuse powers what component and the diagram will mirror the fuse panel layout. Just about every vehicle now has fuse panels with numbers next to them, so locating the correct one is even easier. Simply find the appropriate term in the diagram along with the fuse location number, do the same with the fuse panel, and bingo! You found the fuse you need to replace!
Checking & replacing the fuse is also a fairly simple process. In some cases, you can pull the fuse you need to replace out with your fingers. If you have big hands like some of the technicians in the garage, you’ll need a fuse puller. Many cars even come with one of these tools tucked into the panel itself. If you don’t have one, they’re available at any parts store. However, if you’re in a pinch, an old fashioned pair of tweezers work great! Just get a good grip on the fuse and give it a pull – it should come out easily.
Once you’ve pulled the fuse out, take a look at it. Chances are it will look like there’s a broken or split piece of metal inside the fuse. That means that one is shot! Replace the fuse with one that is the same physical size and has the same amperage number on top of the fuse (5, 10, 20, etc). That way you won’t have any more problems down the road. You can push the new fuse in with your fingers. It only goes in one way, so you don’t have to worry of whether it’s in correctly or not.