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Made In China Vehicle Fuses

My wife drives an Oldsmobile Cutlass Ciera that is her baby. She intends to drive it until the wheels fall off. Several weeks ago she complained that there was a “burnt” smell and I investigated but never found anything. We swapped cars so I could see if I could find the cause of the smell.

I drove the car for a couple of days but never detected a burning odor. On the third or fourth day while driving on the interstate the smell became intense. I pulled over and popped the glove compartment and opened the little fuse door. Smoke was coming from a 20 amp fuse. I reached in to pull it out with my fingers and it glued itself to my thumb. The body of the fuse had melted.

I saw that the fuse had strange looking terminals that were cut on either side. The fuse never blew. When I got home I asked my wife if she had bought any fuses for her car. She had. At a 99Cent store near our home. I looked at the package and it was marked “China” with no other markings not even a number. I threw them away and asked her to never buy any part that was marked “Made In China”. She agreed but she shops at that store all the time. I started thinking this morning about the fuse and why it did not blow. It was the correct size for the slot. I have to add that she had used several other fuses from the pack and I checked then all. None had blown but all had a burn mark in the center. I replaced them with a well known brand that I have sold for years.

I would like to know if you think this was just a fluke or have others had the same experience with these fuses. I have included a picture of the type of fuses that my wife bought. They are in a plain white box with 4 different amp ratings.

Here are the fuses.

Thanks for the warning, I doubt it’s a fluke. I’ll avoid them. China is trying to catch up on testing and consumer safety, but they’ve got a long way to go. I remember a post (here?) with a link to a manufacturing plant video in China. OSHA would have shut it down in a minute.

Fuses don’t get old and expire or wear out. You must have major electrical problems if you have replaced several fuses in the car. I’d worry about fixing that more than about the quality of the fuses.

The blades on those fuses look pretty hokey and it’s anyone’s guess as to what the metal in those fuses consists of. Trash is the correct location for them.

A few years back I think it was Harbor Freight that had to stop selling Chinese fuses that were prone to failure and fire hazards. Maybe those HF fuses were sold off to the 99 cent stores…

My opinion of plain white, or yellow, boxed parts is not very high. I’ve worked for dealers and the parts dept. on occasion receives flyers advertising dirt cheap non-branded car parts which are not of high quality construction.
You may even see some of those white/yellow boxed filters in some fast lube facilities and the reason you see stuff like this is because the cost to the facility using them is beyond ridiculously cheap.

99cent stores buy their merchandise from places going out of business and sometimes items being discarded. You will find recalled items or others decent retailers won’t stock.

The food is really bad.

You get what you pay for. China produces junk like this because someone between the factory and store wants it and makes a buck. They also make excellent quality products. There is no steadfast answer unfortunately.

If you want decent fuses go to an auto parts store and buy the branded items.

I agree. The blown fuses stemmed from broken wires going to the electric windows and electric door locks. I replaced the wiring harness to the door after I found out about the problem. My wife thinks that replacing fuses is a fix but we all know better than that.

Our company use to buy a significant amount of electronic components from China…We test every component before it’s put into our products…well we started seeing significant failure rate in our testing from some of our suppliers in China (around 30%). We send them back…and wait for the next shipment…again 30% failure rate…It was costing us more to test these components then to buy higher quality products from Korea or Mexico…Unfortunately many of these components aren’t made in the US anymore.