Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

How a Car Turn Signal Works

turn signal

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.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How Long Does a Vacuum Brake Booster Check Valve Last?
The braking system on your car requires a lot of pressure. The vacuum booster is one of the main sources of this pressure. This booster will take the pressure that...
How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
Veteran and Military Driver Laws and Benefits in Idaho
The state of Idaho offers a number of benefits and perks for those Americans who have either served in an Armed Forces branch in the...


Related questions

Q: brake lights and turn signals on all the time and break lights don't work.

Hello. From what you describe, it appears that your vehicle may be experiencing electrical issues. If the brake lights are staying on at all times, then the first thing I would do is check the stoplight switch. If it is...

Q: Turn signals dont work and neither do the turn indicators on the dash

The most common cause of no turn signals is the multifunction switch not making connection and even melting the connector. Replace the multifunction switch and check the connector and replace it if it is melted.

Q: Why doesn't my turn signals work unless I press the emergency lights first and why does my hot & cold meter not moving

Hello there, you have a few different faults with your 2001 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. If the turn signals do not work without the hazard lights than the most common failure would be a turn signal stalk failure, wiring harness fault,...