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Fuse and Accessories: Safeguarding Electrical Systems in Vehicles

Fuses and accessories go hand in hand. Your vehicle uses fuses for essentially every electrical component, from headlight to radio to air conditioning. To ensure you get the most out of your fuses, you must protect them against overloads and watch out for system malfunctions. 

Fuses are your first line of defense when wiring or electrical accessories go on the fritz. The fuse is there to sacrifice itself during a surge or short circuit. By burning out or blowing, the fuse protects your vehicle against further damage, including electrical fires.

Types of Fuses and Their Applications

While referred to under a blanket term, fuses actually come in different styles and serve multiple purposes. A fuse kit often has a variety of fuses to cover most repairs. To understand the variety of fuses, consider the four most common types:

  • Blade fuses: These compact rectangular fuses are easily recognizable by their colored plastic tops. The fuses handle low-amp circuits and are best for radio systems and interior lights. They come in micro and mini versions to suit different fuse boxes of various sizes.
  • Cartridge fuses: These fuses are also rectangular, but they have a plastic shell that protects vehicle wiring harnesses against overcurrent. They are usually used in higher-voltage applications and found under the hood of most modern vehicles.
  • Glass tube fuses: While not often found in modern vehicles, glass tube fuses are still standard in classic or muscle cars. The fragile nature of the fuse is why it went out of style.
  • Resettable fuses: These are passive safety devices that protect against overcurrent or overvoltage events. These fuses are excellent options for applications that require frequent power cycling.

Maintaining Fuses and Understanding Fuse Rating

Fuses have their limits. When fuses are reaching the end of their life, you might notice symptoms like dimming lights, inoperable components, or electrical silence. To diagnose any issue, you can use a multimeter to identify any weak circuits or fuses. 

To resolve fuse problems, you must replace the culprit fuse. However, before you swap out the fuse, make sure you know its amp rating. Every fuse is tested for a specific amperage; if the rating is too low, it cannot power your accessories or systems. If it is too high, it might result in an overload.

Upgrading Electrical Systems With New Fuses

Owning a car and personalizing it is all about adding accessories. Some people may want brighter headlights or a more powerful sound system. Additions to the electrical system are all well and good, but at a certain point, you are pushing your system beyond capacity.

If you want to add more power, you must increase the capacity of the fuse box. You can do this using a fuse tap and installing a greater electrical capacity. Electrical modifications are often best left to mechanics.

Do you want more power in your vehicle? Does your existing electrical system keep blowing fuses? Consult a licensed mechanic to learn more about electrical capacity and how you can expand your vehicle’s. 

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Jon Victor

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