How to Check for Bad Fuses


Over the course of car ownership you may encounter a blown fuse. A fuse protects the electrical circuits in your vehicle from short circuits or overloads by creating a weak link in the circuit. If there is a problem, the fuse will blow or burn out rather than cause damage to the wiring or to electrical components. The first symptom of a blown fuse is an electrical accessory or component, such as lighting, cruise control or radio that is no longer functioning. Know how to check your fuses in order to get your electrical components back in working order.

Things You'll Need

  • Owner's guide
  • Fuse puller
  • Locate the fuse box diagram in your vehicle's owner's guide. Look up the component that is not functioning on the diagram and associate it with the position in the fuse box.

  • Remove the fuse box access panel. Check your owner's guide if you are unsure of the fuse box location. Know that the fuse box is usually located on the driver's side of the passenger compartment under the dashboard.

  • Locate the fuse in question using the fuse box diagram. Place a fuse puller over the end of the fuse. Squeeze the jaws of the puller together so that they clamp over the end of the fuse.

  • Pull the fuse puller, while still squeezing the jaws together, straight out of the fuse box.

  • Observe the implanted wire within the plastic body of the upper part of the fuse. A wire that is separated or burnt in half indicates a bad fuse.

Tips & Warnings

  • If you do not have access to an owner's guide for your vehicle, you can still check for bad fuses. Remove the access cover from the fuse box and peer at the top of all of the fuses with a flashlight. You may be able to tell if the fuse has a burnt wire without removing it.
  • Older vehicles manufactured before the 1980s may use a glass cylindrical fuse. The fusible link, or the wire, is clearly visible through the glass. To remove a fuse, use a fuse puller designed for this type of fuse.
  • When replacing a fuse, use one of the same amperage as the original fuse. Using a replacement fuse with too high an amperage may cause the wiring or electrical circuit to overheat and possibly catch fire.

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