Image by eroyka from Pixabay
If your headlight or brake light has gone out (and the lightbulbs are fine), it might be time to replace a fuse.
In this blog post, you’ll learn:
  • What a fuse is and what it does
  • Difference between blade type fuses and glass fuses
  • About fuse color coding for blade type fuses
  • Some common questions about fuses

What is a Fuse and How Does It Work?

A fuse is a small electrical component that protects your electrical equipment from short-circuiting. If there’s too much current going through the fuse, it will “blow.” When this happens, the electrical circuit breaks, which protects the electrics from further damage. There are two main types of fuses for motorcycles:
  • Blade-type fuse
  • Glass fuse 
blade type fuse
M.Minderhoud, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons
image of glass fuse
Image by diego barruffa from Pixabay
For this blog post, we’ll focus on the blade-type fuse, since it’s the most common fuse type for modern motorcycles.

What is a blade type fuse?

A blade type fuse consists of:
  • A plastic case – acts as a body for the copper thread, and the metal connector
  • A thin copper thread – also known as the “conductor,” the job of the copper thread is to break the circuit when the electrical current becomes too strong
 
  • A pair of metal connector prongs – connects to the connection port inside the fuse box
The fuses sit inside the motorcycle’s fuse box, which in turn sits underneath your seat, right next to the battery. Now that you know where the fuses are, you’re ready to replace the broken one. But first – how can you tell what Ampere rating the replacement fuse needs?

Blade Type Fuse Color Coding

fuse color coding
Photo by Maxi Gagliano from Pexels
When you replace a burnt-out blade type fuse, you must replace it with one that matches its Ampere rating. 
  • A replacement fuse with a lower Ampere rating will have to be replaced again
  • A replacement fuse with a higher Ampere rating might cause an electrical fire
In other words, it’s not a good idea to replace a 10 A fuse with a 20 A one or vice versa. But how can you tell what the Ampere rating is for each fuse? Have you looked at your fuses and noticed that some have a different color than others? That’s no coincidence –  this color coding is there to tell you the Ampere rating of the fuse in question. This means that you can determine the correct Ampere rating for the fuse just by its color. 

Fuse Color Coding Chart:

Color:Ampere:
Violet3 Ampere
Pink4 Ampere
Tan/Beige5 Ampere
Brown7,5 Ampere
Red10 Ampere
Blue15 Ampere
Yellow20 Ampere
Clear (transparent)25 Ampere
Green30 Ampere
If you’re still unsure, the ampere rating is usually stamped on the fuse itself.

Are car and motorcycle fuses the same?

Generally speaking, yes. As long as the Ampere rating for the replacement fuse matches that of the broken one, motorcycle and car fuses are interchangeable.

How much does a fuse cost?

Blade-type fuses are usually sold in a plastic box that contains 100s of fuses. A typical 250-piece fuse set can cost the equivalent of just $20 – giving you a great deal.  Fuses themselves aren’t expensive – using the wrong one can be though.