Troubleshooting a Car Fuse Box

A car fuse box develops minor problems like blown fuses, dislocated fuses or impaction of grime and dust along the connectors. A blown car fuse is among the most common of car maintenance problems. If you can locate the car fuse box, replacing blown fuses and troubleshooting other fuse box problems is rather easy.

Getting Started: Identifying Car Fuse Box & Car Fuse Basics

Fuse boxes are meant to protect the electrical circuits of the car against moisture-induced damage and short circuiting. Most of the car manuals have detailed diagrams regarding the position of the fuse box. It is usually located under the hood of the car. However, some cars might have the car fuse box with the panels of the dashboard.

Among car fuses, there is usually a main, battery fuse. This fuse is most likely to be blown by an unwanted electrical discharge. Please note that when replacing the battery fuse or any of the other fuses, you need an exact replacement. This means you need to match the replacement fuse with the labeled information on the existing/blown fuse. Some of the fuse boxes also contain spare fuses. However, these are prone to being ineffective after a certain period.

Troubleshooting Car Fuse Boxes with Blown Fuses

Ensure that you are wearing plastic gloves and the car is turned off. The engine too should have cooled down. After locating the car fuse box, assess it for any blown fuses. Such fuses are usually easy to identify. Most of them are likely to develop a blackened hue. However, this isn't always applicable. Thus, you need to test the fuses with a voltmeter. Handling this voltage testing device is rather easy.

You can remove the suspected fuses with pliers. Test both ends of the fuse with the voltmeter. The voltmeter should provide immediate readings for both the ends in the form of its needle moving vigorously. If this is not the case, you need to replace the fuse. A replacement fuse can be bought from any car supply store. The fuses are sold in standard amperage or voltage readings. You don’t need tools to replace the blown fuse, just insert it in its dedicated, empty space.

Troubleshooting Dirty Car Fuse Holders

The fuse holder is likely to be covered with grime and dust over a period. The grime can get deposited along the circuits and hamper the flow of current. Dust covered fuses are like to malfunction even if they are in a working condition. This is because the dust covers the conducting surfaces and acts as a natural insulator. Thus, you need to clean the fuse holder.

Don’t use hard water, harsh chemicals or abrasive cleaners for cleaning the car fuse box. Just use a dry cloth. An emery cloth is ideal for this kind of cleaning. You can wrap the cloth over the tip of a screwdriver to clean the internal, hard-to-reach fuse holder surfaces.

Troubleshooting Loosened Car Fuse Boxes

A car fuse box is likely to be secured with rivets or a fuse block mechanism. Some fuse boxes even have side clips. These contraptions are likely to get loosened due to the impact of the car’s movement. A loosened car fuse box is likely to malfunction in many ways. For starters, the fuses can be dislocated from their dedicated slots. The fuse box may get hammered against a neighboring car component. Thus, you need to tighten the entire fuse block, rivets or screws.