Fuses can be the heart of the vehicle’s power center, keeping everything running correctly by routing electrical power where it belongs. The power center is a vast improvement over the random locations of fuses and relays in vehicles that were built pre-1980s, and are now grouped together logically and identified, making them much easier to replace than in the past.
A separate fuse panel makes finding just the right fuse that has burned out even easier. You may locate the fuse panel either around a side kick panel or under the instrument panel – and these fuses support everything from windows, power outlets, power seats, interior lights, to the horn, and more.
Fuses protect circuits from dangerous overloads that might either start a fire or damage delicate electrical components. These fuses are the first line of defense and while simple and inexpensive, are a serious safety method to keep you going on the road. Fuses come in two main sizes: mini-fuses and maxi-fuses.
Things to keep in mind when buying a good quality fuse include:
Size: Mini-fuses handle circuits up to 30 amps, while maxi-fuses can load as high as 120 amps; with the number on the fuse showing you the maximum rating for that particular fuse.
Circuit off: A blown fuse is very obvious from a visual inspection as you’ll see a broken wire inside the fuse, or for older in-line fuses you’ll see a broken filament. If you’re going to replace a fuse, always be sure that the circuit is turned off or you risk a fire or damage to your vehicle.
Fuse rating: There are 15 different fuse ratings, from a 2A up to an 80A for each different type of fuse.
Fuse color: There are colors associated with the ratings and different colors indicate different things based on the type of fuse you’re looking at. A 20A fuse is yellow for mini, standard, and maxi fuses, but a fuse link cartridge is yellow if it’s a 60A. This means you have to be extra careful to get not only the color but also the rating that you need.
Replacing fuses is a simple and straightforward task once you have determined that you need a new one.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Buy a Good Quality Fuse and was authored by Valerie Johnston.