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What are Fuse Blocks?

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  • Written By: Lori Kilchermann
  • Edited By: Jacob Harkins
  • Last Modified Date: 28 October 2016
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    2003-2016
    Conjecture Corporation
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Fuse blocks are important electrical components intended to protect a vehicle's electrical devices from shorts or power surges. The fuse blocks contain fuses rated at different amperage values depending upon the electrical device that it is protecting. Upon a sudden voltage spike or short, the fuse will burn out, protecting the affected device.

Changing an automotive fuse is a straight-forward operation. Once the appropriate blown fuse has been located, it is pulled from its mounting location within the fuse block. A new fuse is simply inserted into the vacated location in the fuse block. It is imperative that the same amperage rated fuse is used when changing any blown fuse.

Automotive fuse blocks use fuses rated from 15 to 30 amps. This rating coincides with a particular electrical component's ability to withstand damage. The fuse blocks are designed to allow the fuse to blow or burn out before the component can be damaged. Replacing any blown fuse with a fuse of a higher amperage rating could cause irreparable damage to the vehicle's electrical component.

There are several different types of fuses located within fuse blocks. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1980 may have glass fuses. The more common plastic, push-in type fuses were used in fuse blocks from the 1980s to present worldwide. Found in limited use are mini-fuses. These fuses resemble the plastic, push-in type fuse; however, they are much smaller.

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Fuse blocks can be found in the dashboard of most vehicles. Some vehicles have fuse blocks located within the engine compartment. Refer to the operator's manual of a vehicle to find the fuse block location. It is a good idea to locate the fuse block as well as to become familiar with the fuse locations during daylight hours. This eases the difficulty of locating a particular fuse in the dark should a problem ever arise.

While the typical automotive fuse block is designed to operate for the life of the vehicle, there is occasionally the need to replace it. Many after-market companies manufacture replacement fuse block and wiring systems. Many of these are color coded with the particular vehicle manufacturer's wiring colors. Others are labeled on the wire itself as to its purpose.

Automotive fuse blocks need no particular maintenance. It is, however, important that the fuse block be kept dry and free of any debris. There should be a free flow of air provided to the fuse block to prevent heat build-up. An occasional check of the fuses to locate any loose fuse should be part of a vehicle's preventative maintenance routine.

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