What Do the Direction Indicator Warning Lights Mean?

Everyone who has been in a car knows the distinctive sound of turn signals. That sound is the result of heat bending a small piece of metal back and forth. Inside the turn signal flasher is an electrical connection that is not connected when the turn signal is not being used. One side of the connection is the turn signal bulb and the other is electrical power.

When a turn signal is switched on, electricity is sent through a wire wrapped around a small piece of steel. The electricity heats up the metal which bends and expands, linking the electrical connection and illuminating the turn bulb. Since the power is going through the connection and not the wrapped wire, the metal cools down again and bends back, disconnecting the power and switching off the turn signal bulb. This cycle is repeated each time you use your turn signal and constantly heats and cools the steel connection strip.

These days, auto manufacturers use computers to control turn signals instead of mechanical flasher units that can fail over time. Even these modern cars still use traditional sounding clickers and indicator lights on your dashboard to indicate when your turn signal is active.

What the direction indicator lights mean

The left and right flashing arrows on your dashboard are only used to show when the turn signal is active. When you switch on your hazard lights, both the turn signal arrows will flash. When the indicator flashes quicker than normal, check all of the bulbs as one has likely burnt out. The quicker flashing is caused by a change in the overall resistance in the circuit when one of the bulbs goes out. Switch out the bulb and everything should return to normal. If the bulbs haven’t burned out and the turn signal arrows are still flashing, have the rest of the circuit inspected, namely the relay and turn signal flasher.

Is it safe to drive with the direction indicator lights on?

You should always use your turn signals when driving. They inform everyone around you of your intended driving actions so they aren’t surprised if you start to merge into their lane. Always make sure that you turn off your turn signals if the steering wheel doesn’t automatically do it for you. Change out any bulbs that burn out so your turn signals stay in good working order.

If your turn signals aren’t working properly, our certified technicians are always available to assist you in diagnosing any problems.


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Behrak

9 years of experience
211 reviews
Behrak
9 years of experience
Honda Accord - Turn signal light is not working - Woodstock, Georgia
Came early, correctly and quickly diagnosed the problem. 2nd time he has come to us, both times excellent.

LAVELL

27 years of experience
121 reviews
LAVELL
27 years of experience
Jeep Grand Cherokee - Turn signal light is not working - San Francisco, California
extremely knowledgeable and very friendly! did not mind me asking loads of questions as i'm not too familiar with cars. made it feel like there was still hope for my car while not sugar coating any of the issues; very admirable traits in a mechanic. would definitely hire again and 10/10 would recommend!

Joel

30 years of experience
71 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
903 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.

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