At one point or another you’ve probably had a mechanic or someone you know who knows cars talk about a blown fuse. But what are fuses, why are they important, and what causes them to blow?

In this blog post we’re going to talk fuses: what they are, why they blow, and when to see the pros (i.e. us!).

What are fuses?

In simple terms, fuses are an important part of your car’s electrical system that are meant to keep circuits from being overloaded. Your vehicle’s electrical system produces heat. Without fuses in place to curb this heat, wires and other electrical complements of your car can melt and get damaged or destroyed. In extreme cases, overloaded circuits can spark and catch fire, causing even more damage and putting the lives of your and your passengers at risk. 

How long do fuses last?

There’s debate on exactly how long fuses last, with some manufacturers claiming fuses can last, 20, 30, even 40 years. However, in the auto industry it’s recommended to check or consider replacing fuses after 10. While fuses can last more than 10 years on occasion, failing components in your vehicle can expedite this process and leave you with a prematurely blown fuse. 

How to tell you have a blown fuse

The most sure sign you have a blown fuse is if your electrical system stops working. Lights,  power windows, windshield wipes, locks, and turn signals all rely on electricity. If the flow of electricity has stopped due to a blown fuse, one or several of these features won’t be working properly. 

If you’re a “do-it-yourself-er”, the good news is that simple blown fuses are an easy fix at home.

Identifying a blown fuse

In many cases you can consult your owner’s manual to locate your car’s fuse box. Once you’ve found the fuse box, your owner’s manual will have a diagram explaining which fuses control what. Like the fuse box in your home, these fuses come out easily with a pair of pliers (or even your bare hands!). You can buy replacement fuses at most auto-parts stores.

Blown buses are often black on the inside, with the glass encasing it being clouded or obscured. Check the fuse for this kind of wear before you replace it.

Every car is different based on the make and model, and it’s important to make sure that you buy replacement fuses that are the correct amperage rating and correspond to the circuit associated with the fuse you’re replacing. Improper replacement can lead to more blown fuses and other electrical issues. 

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What if my fuses keep blowing even after replacement?

One blown fuse is one thing. But if you’re going through fuses over and over again, there’s probably a deeper issue going on with your system. if you’ve replaced your fuse, have double checked the amperage and circuit, and your fuse blows again or your electrical components don’t work, it may be because your vehicle is short circuiting. There are a 2 common factors that cause short circuits:

  1. Malfunction. Your windshield wipers, power windows, etc. require motors and other components to function properly. If these components sustain damage, these features may require more electricity to perform the same function as normal. This can lead to increased electrical flow, causing a short circuit.
  2. Frayed wire insulation or exposed conductors. Frayed, exposed wires, when they come into contact with metal or other materials that stop electrical flow, can cause your system to short circuit.

In both of these cases, it’s safer and smarter to bring your car in to an auto repair professional. You don’t know how extensive the damage may be, and getting your electrical system fixed quickly is a matter of safety, both for you and other drivers.

If you’re having issues with your electrical system, let our trained auto experts help. We offer electrical system diagnostics and repair. We’ll diagnose your issue and get you back on the road safely. You can request an appointment today here!

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