Types of Car Fuses: Everything You Need To Know

Fuses are vital components in automobiles, and they have a wide range of use in the automotive industry. Cars, buses, vans, trucks, or off-road vehicles are fitted with several fuses that help to regulate the flow of current in various components.

Various types of car fuses are designed to control different electrical components. Therefore, your ability to identify the type of fuse in each component will help you know what to do whenever they get burnt.

What are the different types of car fuses?

There are various types of automotive fuses used in cars, trucks, ATVs, etc. These fuses are designed to regulate the flow of current through the wiring systems and circuits that control the lights, power windows, radio, horn, air conditioning system, etc. Some common types of car fuses include the following:

types of car fuses

Bosch fuses

Bosch fuses are uniquely designed for European vehicles manufactured around 1980 or at an earlier date. The fuses are fashioned like the shape of a cone having curvy ends with a 6 x 25mm dimension.

The Bosch fuses are also referred to as Torpedo, GBC, or 6AC fuses. They come in various colors, denoting their specific amp rating. These fuses were fitted into older vehicles, some of which are on the road today.

Blade fuses

Blade fuses are easy to identify due to their unique blade-like metal prongs and plastic body case. They are fitted into most vehicles manufactured around 1986 and beyond.

Blade fuses are built with a transparent plastic case, making them easy to spot when they burn. Usually when the fuse burns, it creates a breakage in the metal alloy strip that connects the two conductors at each of the two ends.

The fuses come in varying amperage with a minimum of 1 amp and a maximum of 100 amp. They are regularly used in automobiles.

Glass tube fuses

Glass tube fuses are common in vehicles made around 1986 or earlier date in Northern America. The fuses are cylindrical, having 1/4 inch diameter and varying in length. The glass tube fuses have a unique designation “AG” connoting automotive glass.

Some common examples of glass tubes are 1AG, 3AG, 8AG, etc. Although, these fuses are not so common in cars as they were in vehicles produced around 1986. They are regularly used in consumer electronics and appliances to protect them from damages that result from excessive current.

Lucas fuses

Lucas fuses are unique to Britain-made vehicles. The fuses come in both ceramic and glass tube types. The ceramic type of Lucas fuse is designed with canonical ends and a length of 1 to 1.25 inches.

The fuses usually come with the inscription “LUCAS” on them. Lucas fuses were mostly used in older vehicles that were either made or assembled in Great Britain.

Read Also: How To Tell If A Relay Fuse Is Blown?

How do I know what fuse is in my car?

Identifying the type of fuse in your car is pretty straightforward. However, the checking processes comprise simple to complex approaches. Some of the approaches include the following:

all types of car fuses

Verify from the owner’s manual

Checking your car’s manufacturer’s manual is one of the foremost ways to identify the type of fuse in the car. Virtually all information about your car is captured in the manufacturer’s manual, including the type of fuse in the car. If you can’t have access to the hard copy, kindly search it on Google.

Inspect the fuse box

Most vehicles are equipped with up to 40 or more fuses which are grouped into two fuse boxes located under the hood and beneath the dashboard at the driver’s side.

In order to locate your car or truck fuse types, open the hood and look towards the right, you will find a black box with the inscription “fuse & relay box.”

Also, you can look beneath the dashboard around the driver’s side to ascertain the fuse box with fuses that control most components within the car. After locating the fuse boxes, you can open them and identify the types of fuses there.

How do you identify different types of fuses?

There are several fuses in operation within different components in a vehicle. Unraveling the various types of fuses requires identifying the current carrying capacity, fuse voltage rating, fuse response character, etc.

Current Carrying Capacity

Every fuse is built with a specific capacity of current it can accommodate without affecting the circuit. While some fuses are designed to conduct a high flow of current, others can only accommodate a low amount of current.

Fuse Voltage Rating

Manufacturers design automotive fuses with specific inscriptions at the top revealing the voltage rating of the fuse. This number indicates the maximum voltage capacity the fuse can handle.

For instance, if you have a blade fuse with the write-up “50” volts on it, connecting this fuse to a component that requires 120 volts from the battery will eventually damage the fuse. This is because the voltage rating is 50 volts, which is lesser than the component’s voltage.

Therefore, some fuses are designed as High Voltage fuses, while others are both Low Voltage fuses and Miniature fuses.

Fuse Response Character

Technically, fuses blow depending on the rate of current that flows through their wiring. So, the higher the current, the faster the fuse is likely to burn.

Therefore, fuses with a faster response to excessive current are referred to as fast fuses or ultra-fast fuses. On the contrary, some fuses are very slow to be damaged by high currents. These ones are known as slow burn or slow blow fuses.

Slow burn or slow blow fuses have the capacity to receive a current flow above their current rating and still not burn. However, they can be damaged when the current is elevated and continually sustained over time.

Graphical Expression of Automotive Fuses

The automotive fuse type’s chart below unveils various vehicle fuses with their specific amp rating in line with their designated colors.

automotive fuse types chart

What does ATC stand for in fuses?

The acronym “ATC” in the automotive fuse means Automatic Transfer Case. The ATC fuses are fast-acting blade-style fuses designed for automotive and low/minimal voltage control circuits. 

The fuses are available in various colors; however, they are built-in similar forms and with the same performance characteristics. ATC fuses fit within the same circuits, irrespective of their varying colors.

The variance in color helps to distinguish the fuses based on their individual amp rating. The fuse terminals are made with tin-plated zinc to prevent easy corrosion and enhance swift conductivity.

What does ATM mean for fuses?

ATM simply means small minis. It is a mini blade fuse manufactured around the early 1990s. They are similar to ATC (mid-size) fuses because of their blade-style design with varying color plastic cases. The color variation reveals the specific amp rating of the fuse.

ATM fuses can be found in a wide range of vehicles, including cars, SUVs, and trucks. They are designed with an enclosed element that helps to isolate electricity and prevent corrosion that results from external environmental factors.

What is an AGC fuse?

An AGC fuse is an Automotive Glass Cartridge type of fuse. The fuse is meant to provide fast-acting protection against the hazard of over-current. It protects the electrical components that it is connected to by breaking the flow of excessive current that would have damaged the components.

AGC fuses have transparent glass cartridges that make them easy to spot when they burn or blow. The fuse is designed with metal alloy strips that link one end of the conductor to the other. 

So, when the fuse burns out due to excessive current, the metal alloy strip will usually break, and you can see the disconnection through the glass cartridge.

What does TBC stand for in the fuse box?

The abbreviation “TBC” stands for Truck Body Controller in-vehicle fuses. This fuse is responsible for controlling components around a vehicle’s body, such as the lights, wipers, locks, windows, etc. Therefore, it is also referred to as Body Control Module.

The TBC fuse is built to last long; hence, they rarely get burnt easily. They are designed to use 5 volts of direct current. In that case, an accidental flow of current up to 12 volts will blow the fuse at once because the current exceeds the capacity it can handle.

What are ATR fuses?

ATR fuses are a category of automotive fuses that offer single-circuit protection. They are micro fuses; hence, they are commonly used in most newer vehicles with minimal space. The fuse comes in various colors, which helps to distinguish the variance in amp rating.

The ATR fuses are the smallest fuses within the fuse box. They were introduced in vehicles manufactured from 2010 upwards. Their ATL counterpart provides dual-circuit protection.

What is the APM fuse?

The APM fuse is a cost-effective, fast-acting automotive fuse. It is a miniature fuse with a wide range of use in vehicles, batteries, and direct current applications generally. APM fuses also come in several colors, indicating the various amp rating.

The colors and amperage of some APM fuses are as follows: Gray – 2A, Violet – 3A, Pink – 4A, Tan – 5A, Brown – 7.5A, Red – 10A, Blue – 15A, Yellow – 20A, Clear – 25A, Green – 30A, and Blue-Green – 35A.

What is an ABC fuse?

ABC fuse types are a series of low-voltage miniature fuses designed for general purposes. They are used to provide maximum protection for electronic circuits, as well as components. ABC fuses are built with a ceramic tube, nickel-plated style brass end caps, and optional axial leads.

Eaton Corporation Plc manufactures ABC fuses, and the company has continued to thrive in the electrical industry, especially after acquiring Cooper Industries Inc. – the mother company of Bussmann Cooper, under which the ABC fuses were produced.

What is a GBC fuse?

A GBC fuse is a unique torpedo-shaped, ceramic-made fuse found in most European vehicles. It is built with a heat-resistant body and higher breaking capacity to withstand the damages of excessive current.

The higher breaking capacity makes this fuse stand out among others, including glass cartridge fuses. The GBC fuse comes in various colors with their peculiarities to enable easy and proper replacement.

What is the difference between ATC and ATO fuses?

ATC – Automatic Transfer Case fuses and ATO – Automatic Throw Over fuses are both automotive blade fuses with a regular size. They can be used interchangeably, provided both fuses come with a similar amp rating.

However, a slight difference exists between the ATC fuse and the ATO fuse. The Automatic Transfer Case fuse is designed with an enclosed fuse element within the housing. This helps to protect the fuse from environmental factors that result in corrosion.

Conversely, the Automatic Throw Over fuse has an opening at the bottom, and this exposes the fuse element to corrosion.

What is the difference between ATC and ATM fuses?

ATC fuses are quite different from ATM fuses in size. ATM fuses are designed as mini fuses and as such, cannot fit properly into the space of ATC fuses because of their smaller size. While ATO and ATC fuses can be used interchangeably, ATM and ATC fuses cannot be used in the same space.

The ATM fuse was first released in the 1990s. They are built with some similar characteristics to ATC fuses. Both of the fuses are plug-in blade fuses. They are designed with two prongs and fashioned with a plastic case. However, they differ in size and fitment.

How do I know which fuse to buy?

Knowing which fuse to buy is pretty straightforward; simply refer to your vehicle’s manufacturer’s manual to ascertain the recommended fuse for each component.

Furthermore, you can also match the current fuse you want to replace with the new fuse before making a buying decision. It is best to pick a replacement fuse with a similar amperage to the old fuse. 

There’s no point fixing a 20 amp fuse on a particular circuit with the wiring of 15 amp, and by the way, mini blade fuse dimensions differ from micro fuses.

Which are the two types of automotive fuses?

The two types of automotive fuses are regular and maxi fuses. Regular are the standard versions of fuses used in automobiles, and they are designed as the second-largest category of fuses, among others.

On the flip side, maxi refers to the largest size of automobile fuses, and they are specifically built for high-voltage components. So, it is essential to ascertain whether you need a regular or maxi-fuse whenever you are performing a replacement.

Final Words

Besides understanding that fuses are vital components in your car that regulate the flow of current, it is also crucial to know the types of car fuses in order to be able to fix a burnt fuse.

It is not enough to get a car fuse replacement, but replacing a burnt fuse with the accurate type with the same amp rating is extremely vital.

If you are not sure of the type of automotive fuses in your car, you may want to follow the instructions above on how to locate the fuse box and identify them.

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Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a certified mechanic with over a decade of experience in the mechanic garage, and he has over five years of experience in the writing industry. He started writing automotive articles to share his garage experience with car enthusiasts and armature mechanics. If he is not in the garage fixing challenging mechanical problems, he is writing automotive repair guides, buyer’s guides, and car and tools comparisons.

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