I sat down in the car, banged on the steering wheel, and sure enough… no sound. When I researched how to repair the car charger in her Cavalier, I remember reading that some people had problems with both the horn and the car charger cutting out at the same time.
When I asked her if the charger worked, she said it had stopped working too. She didn’t know when, or if the two were related, but I’m fairly certain they stopped working at exactly the same time. That made this a fairly simple problem to diagnose. Both the horn and the car charger are on the same circuit in the 1997 Chevrolet Cavalier’s electrical system. If the fuse blows, both of these things will stop working at the same time.
Where’s the Fuse Box and the Fuse?
There are two fuse boxes in your ’97 Cavalier. The one we’re looking for is to the left of the steering wheel. Open the driver’s side door, and on the side of the dash you should see a little panel labeled as a fuse box. Pull the panel off, and you’ll see a handful of colorful fuses.
We’re looking for one of the blue, 15 amp fuses. If you look on the back of the panel that you pulled out, it should have a diagram of the fuse box. The one we’re looking for is labeled “CIG” (for Cigarette Lighter) on the diagram, and it’s pretty much smack dab in the middle of the fuse box.
How Do I Test and Change the Fuse?
While the problem is probably the fuse, it could be something else. So you need to pull the fuse out, test it, and see if it works.
If you go to an autoparts store, you should be able to find a basic fuse replacement kit that includes a fuse tester and an assortment of replacement fuses. I paid $8 for a basic kit at Autozone. The fuse tester is probably also a multi-tool labeled as a “fuse puller.” With mine, one end had two metal prongs to test the fuse and the other had was like a set of plastic tweezers that made it easy to pull out the tiny little fuse.
There are several kinds of automotive fuses. Buy the one that looks like the fuse that blew. Your cigarette lighter fuse should be an ATM. The ATC fuses are a similar size and shape, but not quite the same.
Once you’ve got the fuse puller/tester, open up the fuse box and pop out the questionable fuse. Adjust the metal prongs on your fuse tester to the right width, and touch the two metal ends of the fuse to the two metal probes. If the green light on the fuse tester turns on, you should start looking for another problem. But, chances are pretty good that the green light will stay off… which means you’ve got a blown fuse.
Push a new, blue, 15 amp fuse and you should be good to go. With my neice’s car, I popped the fuse in and everything was fixed. A quick bump on the horn and a test of the car charging port proved that the only problem here (for the time being) was a blown fuse.
Remember, though, that this could simply be a symptom. Sometimes fuses blow because of a fluke; sometimes they’re symptomatic of an underlying problem. If the fuse blows again within a short amount of time, you should start investigating for another issue (like a short somewhere in your electrical wiring).