I primarily write about computer hardware and software on this site however the intention has always been to write articles that assist people in resolving problems. A couple days ago my wifes car, which is a 2001 Honda Civic, started having multiple problems all at the same time. These problems included the air conditioner compressor not kicking on, the power locks not working, the emergency brake light was constantly on, and the dome light no longer came on when the doors were opened however the dome light itself still worked. After a little research I found out that all of these issues combined point to the MCU (Multi-Control Unit) being the problem. The bad part is the MCU is built into the fuse box so below is information on what I had to do to replace the fuse box.
Replace A 2001-2005 Honda Civic Internal Fuse Box:
The model Honda Civic’s (2001-2005) have two fuse boxes. One of these fuse boxes is located in the engine compartment and the other is located underneath the steering wheel. It ended up being fairly easy to replace the fuse box so I wanted to share my experience to hopefully save someone else a couple dollars along the way. Please note that I am not a car mechanic and not an expert by any means fixing cars but it seemed ridiculous to pay someone hundreds of dollars to fix something I was able to do myself in less than 30 minutes.
2001 Honda Civic Fuse Panel:
Steps To Replace Honda Civic Fuse Box Below Steering Wheel:
- Disconnect Battery: First you will want to disconnect the car battery and leave it disconnected during the entire process. You are supposed to wait at least 10 minutes after disconnecting the battery to make sure that there are no issues with the airbags.
- Remove Plastic Cover: Now remove the plastic cover that is directly below the steering wheel. The panel has two locks that should be turned to release it and then it can be pulled out of the way.
- Remove Fuse Box Screw: The actual fuse box itself is held in with one screw which is noted in the example image below with a white arrow. Remove that screw and then you will be able to slide the fuse box down a little bit which will let you remove the wires a bit easier.
Before you remove any wires make sure to first take pictures and then to label each plug of wires that you remove.
- Label Plugs: This is not required but I would suggest that each plug that is removed is labeled so you can verify they are going into the new fuse box in the right location. I would also suggest taking pictures just in case any of the labels come up missing you have an idea of where everything was plugged in via the images.
- Remove Wire Plugs: Now remove all of the plugs from the fuse box. There is a little clip at the top of each plug that once it is pushed in allows you to remove them from the fuse box fairly easily. There are plugs on both the front and the back of the fuse panel so my suggestion would be to remove the plugs facing you first and then remove the plugs from the rear of the fuse box next.
- Remove Fuse Box: Once the last plug is removed the fuse panel will slide out easily.
- Replace Relays: Remove the black boxes from the old fuse panel and place them securely into the new fuse panel. The relays will actually click in place when they are inserted properly.
- Attach Wire Plugs: Going off of the labels you made start attaching all of the plugs to the front and the back of the fuse panel. Take your time and make sure each plug goes into the new fuse box completely.
- Move Fuse Box Into Place: After all of the plugs are attached move the fuse panel back in place and then insert the screw you initially removed.
- Attach Battery: Reattach the battery connections underneath the hood of the car.
- Test AC/Locks/E-Break: After the positive and negative cables are attached to the battery start the engine and test to make sure that your air conditioning is now operational again. Also test to make sure that the power locks are working and the emergency break light is no longer illuminated at all times.
That is it. The entire process of replacing the fuse panel in my wife’s 2001 Honda Civic EX took me about 30 minutes. One other thing I would mention is be sure to get the correct fuse box. I initially tried to get a fuse box from a junkyard which confirmed they had one for $100 when I called them. Once I showed up at the junkyard they gave me a story about having to match fuse box serial numbers, etc., etc. They also now said they would be required to order the part and it would cost me $125. I decided to call a friend I had at a Honda dealership and was able to order a new one from the dealer for $149. He simply needed to know the year and if it was an EX or not.