How a Car Turn Signal Works

A requirement for all automakers is to equip each vehicle with proper, standard lighting. Every vehicle is equipped with several lighting systems including:

  • Headlights
  • Taillights and brake lights
  • Corner marker lights
  • Hazard or warning lights
  • Turn signal lights

Turn signal lights are important for the safe operation of your vehicle. They indicate your intentions to change lanes, turn a corner, or pull over to the roadside. While not everyone uses their turn signals as regularly as they should, their usage dramatically reduces the number of accidents and driver errors.

How Car Turn Signals Work

Turn signals require electrical power in order to illuminate the turn signal light bulbs. The circuit is protected by a fuse in the power junction block in case of an electrical fault. When the turn signal lever is activated in either direction, a circuit is completed that allows power to flow to the front and rear turn signal lights on the selected side.

When the signal lights are turned on, they are not illuminated constantly. They flash in a rhythmic pattern to draw the attention of other motorists and indicate your intention. This is achieved by routing the power to the turn signals through a flasher or module that sends pulses of power to the lights instead of a steady stream.

When you complete your turn and turn the steering wheel back to center, a cam on the steering column catches on the turn signal lever and cancels the turn signal operation. If the cancel cam on your steering column is broken or you only take a slight turn, the signals may not cancel on their own and you will need to turn the signals off by moving the signal lever on your own. Make sure to get your turn signal fixed as soon as possible.


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Joel

30 years of experience
66 reviews
Joel
30 years of experience
Ford Mustang - Turn signal light is not working - Peoria, Arizona
Joel was great! He was very helpful and very knowledgeable about my vehicle. He was friendly and courteous. He knew immediately what was wrong with my vehicle and took care of the problem right away. I would highly recommend him to my family and friends!

Pardeep

21 years of experience
863 reviews
Pardeep
21 years of experience
Toyota 4Runner - Turn signal light is not working - San Jose, California
Pardeep arrived on-time, was friendly and clear about how he would tackle my lighting problem with my SUV. Huge shoutout to how candid he was with what he saw was wrong and clearly describing his thoughts on how to fix the lighting problem. Too many times in the past with other mechanics, I feel they didn't take any time to explain in understandable terms what they are going to do and how they are going to fix it. In the time he was here, I greatly appreciated his clarity around what was covered within the service he was schedule for and what may not be. This allowed me to have options around what I could pay to fix. At the end of the service, I agreed to the additional work and he was able to completely fix my lighting issue. His clarity and professionalism really gave me the confidence that he wasn't wasting my time. I plan on booking him again if I have any other issues with my SUV.

Roberto

12 years of experience
197 reviews
Roberto
12 years of experience
Ford Explorer - Turn signal light is not working - Humble, Texas
Excellent and Perfection. Roberto is truly a inspiration. I always recommend Roberto to others when I find out people are having issues with their vehicle. Your Mechanic is definitely #1. I trust only Your Mechanic. The BEST hospitality in the comfort of your Home.

Reginald

37 years of experience
59 reviews
Reginald
37 years of experience
BMW 325i - Turn signal light is not working - Los Angeles, California
Reginald was incredibly helpful in helping me to diagnose several issues in my car, as well as repair issues to help me pass a break and light test. He even went so far as to come to the brake and light testing location so that he could ensure that the car passed and be there if anything else needed to be fixed on the spot. Absolutely would recommend him to anyone who is looking for an honest and knowledgeable mechanic!

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