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  How to change a fuse

In this article: Find out how to remove a fuse and see if it's blown. Get to grips with the different types of fuses, fuse box diagrams, & what to do with fuses that keep blowing.

On this page: Background | Find the fusebox | Step-by-step guide

First, a little bit of background...

A fuse contains a thin piece of wire designed to melt if the electric current passing through it is too high. If the current exceeds the fuse rating, it will blow to protect the circuit and equipment from being overloaded. Every electrical circuit in the car is protected by a fuse; your radio, the heated rear window, even the horn.

Modern cars have ‘blade fuses’ which come in three common sizes. The largest, called ‘maxi’, are used in high power circuits and are often found in a secondary fuse box under the bonnet (see page 11). The fuse box in the passenger compartment could contain either ‘Mini’ or ‘ATO’ fuses or a mixture of the two. These are used in the majority of a car’s electric systems. All blade fuses are made from coloured plastic which indicates their rating. It will also be marked in writing either on the top or on one of the metal legs.

Types of car fuse

Where can I find the fuse box in my car? A lot of cars have two fuse boxes, one under the bonnet and one inside the car. The fuse box under the bonnet tends to be for higher capacity circuits, such as the one used to start the car. The other fuse box will be located inside the car. The most common places to find it are behind the glovebox, by the driver’s legs under the steering column or behind a panel at the end of the dashboard (only accessible when the door is open).

A fuse box will usually contain a diagram (often on the fusebox lid) with symbols or writing that show the circuit a fuse covers and its rating. If you can’t work out what some of the symbols mean, the handbook should contain the same diagram with a description of each symbol.

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How do I check if a fuse has blown?

Blade fuses can be checked visually to see if they have blown. In a blown fuse the metal in the centre that connects the two flat blades will have melted.

How to tell if a fuse has blown

I have a fuse that keeps blowing, what should I do?

If a fuse keeps blowing, first check the rating of the fuse is correct. It could simply be that the fuse has been incorrectly replaced with one of a lower rating i.e 10 amp instead of15 amp. If this doesn’t correct the fault get the car checked out professionally.

TOP TIP: The fuse box usually contains a few spare fuses but it’s worth getting a set of mixed fuses to keep in the glovebox.

If a fuse has blown on an important circuit, such as the indicators, and you have no replacement, take out the blown fuse and replace it with one from a non-essential circuit, such as the interior lights or cigarette lighter. Never put in a higher rated fuse than the one you are removing or is stated in the handbook. It could allow too much current to flow and damage the equipment it’s designed to protect. (It could even cause an electrical fire.)

Step-by-step guide: Click on the images to enlarge

Find the correct fuse
Find the right fuse
Use the car handbook or the lid of the fuse box to help identify which fuse you need to remove.
Remove fuse from fusebox
Remove fuse:
In the fuse box you should find a small set of plastic tweezers that make removing a fuse much easier. Simply slip them over the end of the fuse and pull it out.
Check the fuse wire
Check the fuse:
If the fuse has blown, the thin metal wire that connects the two flat blades will be broken.
Replace fuse
Use the fuse tweezers to insert the new fuse. Make sure the fuse you are putting in is the same rating as the one you took out.



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