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Car Meter Fuse Keeps Blowing

I have a 1997 Nissan Altima. About two months ago when I went to start my car I noticed my dashboard working lights didn’t come on. I drove to work (5 miles away). When I arrived at work my car wouldn’t start up again. I figured maybe my alternator or battery. I took my car to my mechanic and told him the above. I saw him taking out a multimeter and testing stuff. He eventually replaced my Meter fuse. Car started back and perfect.

Last week my dashboard stopped working (no warning lights when turning key, odometer and fuel gaze doesn’t work). I replaced my meter fuse and everything back to normal. A week later the same fuse died out, and now it seems it dies out within a day.

I’m thinking some sort of electrical issue? Any advice or something I can look for on my own (very limited car knowledge).

Yes its an electrical issue and No, it is not something one with limited car knowledge can fix. Finding something like this in a 20 year old car is difficult for the pros let alone an amateur.

Likely there is a short in the instrument panel assembly itself or in the wiring to the panel. Wiring can be easily fixed if you can find the short. The instrument panel fix is not so easy. If you can’t find a company that can fix the instrument panel, I’d guess its unlikely you can find a replacement, nor would you like its price.

Be prepared to pay a mechanic for his time to chase this down. Good Luck

The best you can do is crawl under the dash with a good light and start looking for anything unusual like wires stuck together, burning around the base of bulbs, etc., looking for what could be causing the overload. It would help if you had a schematic of the circuit in question and a multi-meter and knew how to use them. Otherwise dumb luck in spotting a problem.

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I do have a multimeter and know how to use it. I would think I could get a schematic online maybe

When the meter fuse blows my battery charges to 12 instead of 14 so I worry about driving further with it. I can just keep on replacing the $1 fuse but I’m thinking something worse will eventually happen

It’s possible you just have a worn out dimmer switch for the dash lights. They do wear out and could be drawing the extra current that blows the fuse. The schematic will show what is in the circuit and you can go from there.

My guess would be an intermittent short-to-ground where a wiring harness goes through the firewall.

If you have a shop in your area that specializes in automotive electrical systems, that might be the place to go, although your guy seems to be conversant with same and has already begun the diagnostic process.

Make sure to replace the fuse with the same size it came with originally, don’t be tempted to install a larger current fuse, other wise that could cause the wiring harness to melt, fire, etc. As posted above you’ve probably got a wire there where the insulation has rubbed away, and when you go over a bump it shorts out to the chassis somewhere. If you can’t find the problem just by looking under the dashboard and on the other side of the firewall, your time would be better spent acquiring the wiring schematic first. Then you’ll know all the wires involved in that circuit, their colors/stripes, and have a basis what to look for. BTW, a mirror can be very helpful when looking under the dashboard.

I am sure it’s only me…but what is a meter fuse?

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Yeah I don’t know what a meter fuse is either or a gas gasze. I assumed it was the dashboard lights or else it was a European term. A fuse is a fuse though.

It is not only you. I have no clue.

Re: “meter fuse”…

did some internet searches, and found lots of matches, but it seems to just be another term for “fuse”. But unclear…

For Asian cars “meter” is the term used for gauge. The fuse is for the instrument panel gauges.

My best guess was speedometer/odometer. Thank you.

Check this out-

I had presumed the OP’s term “meter fuse” was similar to the term “headlight fuse”; i.e. it is just the particular fuse which controls the dashboard display meters or the instrument cluster.

**@TwinTurbo : **Check this out-

@TwinTurbo found the kind of information you can use! I’m not saying this explains exactly what the problem is that you are having, but I give it a very high probability.

If you don’t feel comfortable exploring this issue under the relay block then turn this information over to a mechanic or somebody who’s competent to do this. This could be a real shortcut to saving time and money. :wink: