A fuse box is the box that houses the fuses and relays of an electrical system. In automotive applications, there is usually a primary fuse box that contains the high voltage engine and fuses and relays, along with a secondary fuse box that contains the fuses and relays to the accessories. Most vehicles also have a fuse box inside of the vehicle, usually located beneath the dash that houses the fuses for the interior electronics and accessories. While most fuse panels are built to last, they can sometimes encounter issues and cause problems with the operation of the vehicle. Usually a problematic fuse box will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.
1. Fuses blow frequently
One of the first symptoms of a problem with the fuse box is fuses blowing frequently. If the fuse box has any sort of wiring issues, such as a short, it may cause the fuses to blow frequently. The vehicle may blow the same fuse repeatedly for no apparent reason. The fuse box may have to be disassembled, or removed in order to determine if this is the issue.
2. Loose fuses
Another symptom of a bad or failing fuse box is loose fuses. If any of the fuses fall out or easily come loose then that may be a sign that the some of the panel’s terminals may be damaged. A damaged terminal with a loose fuse may cause electrical problems such as sudden, intermittent power loss to certain accessories or lights.
3. Burned fuses or terminals
Another, more serious symptom of an issue with the fuse box is burned fuses or terminals. If the terminals or fuses become overheated for any reason they may overheat and burn up. The terminals, or the plastic that makes up the housing may become burned or melted, which will require the panel to be replaced, and in some cases even rewired.
While many fuse boxes will last the life of the vehicle sometimes they can develop issues and require service. If your vehicle is displaying any of the symptoms above, or you suspect that your fuse box may need to be replaced, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the fuse box should be replaced.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Fuse Box and was authored by Eduardo Ruelas.