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Haynes’ World: when a simple fuse change is anything but

Changing car fuse
BMW 2 Series headlight

Car: BMW 2 Series

Owner: Rob Keenan

As a current or prospective Haynes Repair Manual owner, you’re likely to be more than capable of changing a fuse.

I thought I was, too, when one for my 12V socket blew. My car has two fuseboxes; all I need to do to access the one in the boot is lift out the floor and there it is (shown below), along with the battery and puncture repair kit. There's also a handy little 'fuse map' card tucked down one side, to help you work out which fuse box you should go hunting for.

Fuse box BMW

Naturally, the blown fuse was in the other fusebox, which is under the bonnet.

No problem, I thought. This is going to be a two-minute job. So I popped the bonnet and quickly realised that this wasn't going to be a job at all. At least, not until I drove 80km to get home to my tool box.

Cowling over fusebox

The engine bay fusebox is below a section of cowling that is fixed into place with several fasteners. They're plastic and only need half a turn to release, but none of them would budge with fingers. So I was left in the ridiculous position of having to get out my socket set.

With the fasteners released, the plastic cowling could be swung to one side and the lid removed. Except this was also a bugger of a job because there's a strut brace running right over the top of the box (the silver thing at the top of the pic shown below), so the lid can't come out altogether and has to be tucked down one side of the box until it needs to go back on.

Engine bay fusebox

Fortunately, the blown fuse wasn't critical to the running of the car. But if it had been a fuse for a fuel pump or some other critical component, I'd have had to call out a breakdown service. And having heard some UK rescue horror stories from colleagues, who knows how long that would have taken? As well as being pretty embarrassing.

If I'd been a Scout, I expect none of this hassle would have befallen me. But with lesson learnt, my socket set now travels with me wherever I go.