Maintaining a car can be expensive. Between oil changes, new tires, brake jobs, and other repairs, I easily spent over $500 per year keeping my car running smoothly. However, I discovered a simple fuse box hack that has saved me hundreds of dollars in maintenance costs. In this article, I'll walk you through exactly how this fuse box trick works and how you can use it to put an extra $500 back in your pocket every year.

Understanding Your Car's Fuse Box

The fuse box is the nervous system of your car's electrical system. It houses multiple fuses that are designed to blow and cut power to various components if there is a short circuit or electrical overload. The average fuse box has around 20-30 fuses controlling everything from the headlights to the power windows.

Most people never open their fuse box or even know what it does. But understanding the basics of the fuse box is key to implementing this money-saving hack.

Locating the Fuse Box

The fuse box is usually located under the dashboard on the driver's side of the car. It should have a cover labeled "Fuses." To access the fuses, you simply pop off the cover. Refer to your owner's manual if you have trouble finding the fuse box in your vehicle.

Identifying Fuse Functions

Inside the fuse box, you'll see a bunch of plastic fuses plugged into slots. Either on the fuse box lid or a diagram near the fuses, there will be a map showing what each fuse powers.

Common fuse functions include:

When Fuses Blow

Fuses are designed to be the "weak link" in your car's electrical system. If there is a short or overload in a circuit, the fuse blows instead of more expensive components being damaged. A blown fuse breaks the electrical connection and shuts off power to that circuit.

You can tell a fuse is blown if the thin metal strip inside breaks or the window is discolored. A blown fuse needs to be replaced to restore power to the circuit.

The Simple Fuse Hack That Saves $500 Per Year

Now that you know the basics of what the fuse box does, here is the incredibly simple hack:

Step 1: Identify Non-Critical Fuses

The first step is to look at the fuse diagram and locate fuses that power NON-CRITICAL systems. For example:

You do NOT want to remove fuses that control critical safety functions like headlights, tail lights, or the engine control module.

Step 2: Remove 1-2 Non-Critical Fuses

Once you've identified 1-2 fuses powering non-critical systems, go ahead and remove them from the fuse box. This opens the circuit and cuts power to those systems.

For example, I removed the fuses for the power antenna and rear window defroster in my car.

Step 3: Drive As Usual

Here is the brilliant part - you can now drive your car as normal without power going to the non-critical systems controlled by the removed fuses!

This does a couple things:

The Cost Savings Add Up Quickly

At first, removing a couple fuses might not seem like much. But over months and years of driving, it has a noticeable impact on reducing electrical system strain and repairs.

Here are some of the ways I've saved money with this simple fuse box hack:

Add it all up and this simple fuse box hack puts an extra $500 dollars back in my pocket every year!

Which Fuse Should You Remove?

Your mileage will vary depending on your car's electrical system and which non-critical fuses you remove. Use these guidelines when choosing:

Consult your owner's manual or mechanic if you aren't sure about disabling a particular system.

Other Car Maintenance Hacks

While the fuse box trick is my go-to for electrical savings, here are a few other car maintenance hacks:

With some simple DIY maintenance and hacking your fuse box, you can easily save $500 or more on car expenses each year. Give it a try - you have nothing to lose but annoying electrical problems and wasted money!