Here we are in mid January and my wife informed me during a drive the other day her steering wheel heater was dead on her 2014 Dodge Charger. The car has software buttons on the touch screen to activate the heater and when pressed, it goes on and within 2 seconds turns off.
I began doing research for causes and typical issues are the clock spring in the steering column, computer control module among other items. A day later we were out with the kids and i was bummed the steering wheel heater was broken and from the back seat the kids said hey.. our rear seat heaters are dead too. It immediately dawned on me to check the fuse box!
Where are the fuses?
Like many modern cars there are multiple fuse boxes in and around the vehicle. Some are under the dash board, some in the engine bay, and in our case the seat / steering wheel heater are in the trunk.
To access the fuse box you need to remove everything from the trunk and lift the trunk floor (as if you were accessing the spare tire). Under the trunk floor you will find the spare tire, battery and a small black box next to the battery.
The fuse is located at the front left of the fuse box, look at the diagram above for exact placement. There is also a fuse diagram on the inside of the box cover along with a handy dandy fuse puller. I immediately knew this was the issue due to the discoloration of the 25 amp fuse.
Making the Repair
There are a few things to think about before changing the fuse. The fist and most important question is WHY did it fail, and why did it fail by melting
Its hard to see in the above image, but the fuse did melt. I have some theories as to what happened.
- The fuse was not inserted properly at the factory and vibrated / arced its way to an untimely death
- The fuse itself was defective and simply failed
- The three heating elements – steering wheel, both rear seats decided to draw a little too much current (one time problem)
- One of the three heating elements is simply bad and has a short
The fist and easiest thing to do is replace the fuse and see what happens, There are quite a number of different blade style fuses for automotive use.
This particular fuse is a Low-profile mini fuse. The Charger has quite a number of this style, having a kit on hand with various current ratings could prove useful. This kit from Amazon is around $8.00
Result – Heater working!
After swapping out the fuse and closing up the trunk I gave the heaters a try. Under full load the fuse was holding and everything seemed to be working as designed. I will do some further troubleshooting by only using the steering wheel heater for about a week, then add one of the back seats and finally add second seat. This way if there is a failure in one of the heating elements we may be able to determine which one is causing the issue.
This was a super easy issue to fix and $8 in fuses is a huge savings over what the dealer would have charged. The only thing the dealer could probably do that I can’t is monitor the current load as the heaters turn on and off. If the system reports a high load with one of the elements, it could indicate a short circuit or be defective and need replacing.
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