Car Fuse Check

Why Aren’t All Car Fuses Made of Aluminum?

19 Dec, 18

Your car has several fuses that allow all its features and components to work properly. A fuse is an electrical safety device that is designed to provide protection from over current of an electrical circuit.  The essential component of a fuse is a metal strip or wire that will melt if there is too much current flowing through it, which will then interrupt the current and cause problems.

When a fuse has been blown, it becomes an open circuit. After it is blown, it should either be rewired or replaced depending on the specific kind of fuse. Your car’s fuse box serves as a safety system. If your car has a short or an issue in an electrical wire or line, the fuse will burn up to keep your wires from burning up or your car catching on fire. Car fuses are made of different materials, with the elements often made of silver, copper, alloys, aluminum, and zinc. The materials depend on the amperage of the fuse.

Car Fuses Aren’t the Same

Not all car fuses are the same. Car fuses in modern cars are based on the standard ATC and ATO fuses that are called blade type fuses. This design was patented in the 1970s by Littelfuse. These fuses come in various configurations and sizes while physically resembling the original ATO fuses. The size and the number of terminals make these fuses different.

Older vehicles used different kinds of fuses, but most of auto fuses were Bosch type fuses and the glass tube fuses. Glass tube fuses are glass tubes that have metal terminal caps and have a metal strip in the center. Basically cylindrical, Bosch type fuses are made from a solid ceramic material that has a metal strip on the exterior surface.

Fuses for autos are differentiated by their current rating and their design type, which means not all fuses are the same. While any ATO fuse could be replaced by another ATO fuse, that is a dangerous practice if a fuse with the wrong amperage is used. Replacing a Bosch fuse with an American glass tube should be physically possible, but it is imperative to use the same amperage rating. Different materials are used for different jobs.

Different Kinds of Automotive Fuses

There are three ways to tell a blade type fuse’s amperage. Look at the top of the fuse to find the amperage rating printed on the plastic or stamped in it. If the rating is no longer legible because it has worn off, you should look at the fuse body color or check the diagram to see what kind of fuse belongs in that slot on the fuse box. There are several colors of fuses used in vehicles: dark blue, black, gray, violet, pink, tan, brown, red, blue, clear, yellow, green, blue-green, orange, red, amber, purple, and violet.

Many colors have two different amperages, such as 15 amp and 50 amp. The color coding is almost standard across the board for blade fuses used in cars, with some exceptions such as the 25-amp and 35-amp maxi fuses that are gray and brown, which are the same colors used for lower amperage fuses as well. Fuses are needed to operate the radio, the dash lights, and other vehicle components. Because they need different amperages and have various uses, not every fuse can be made of the same metal — each one is specially designed for its purpose.

Electrical Car Fuse

Troubleshooting A Bad Fuse

If a fuse has gone bad, you will need to replace it. If you are unable to determine which fuse is bad, you will need to entrust the task to your automotive technician. When you repeatedly have fuses go bad and need to be replaced, it could be a sign of a more serious electrical issue somewhere in your vehicle. A licensed auto mechanic will perform a thorough diagnosis and get to the root of the problem.

In Santa Barbara, CA, you can count on our German Master Technicians at Santa Barbara Autowerks. If your car needs routine maintenance or you need a more serious issue diagnosed, call (805) 966-3200 to schedule an appointment. With a team of experienced automotive technicians, we have years of dedicated experience in repairing German vehicles. We offer a 2 – year, 24,000-mile warranty on qualifying parts and provide honest, dependable service on every level.

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