Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. What Do the Direction Indicator Warning Lights Mean?

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.

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

Auto Safety Tips
Driving is more than a way to get from point A to point B. Owning and driving a car can also be a highly enjoyable experience. Whether a person is driving...
P0291OBD-II Trouble Code: Cylinder 11 Injector Circuit Low
P0291 code definition When your vehicle’s PCM registers the P0291 code, it means that a voltage reading came from the fuel injector circuit – for cylinder number 11’s fuel injector –...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...


Related questions

Q: Indicator light on.

This is a Master Warning Light meaning to check your Multi-Information Display for a warning message. Once the warning message is corrected then the light should turn off. If for whatever reason you are unable to correct the cause of...

Q: Yellow brake light on & displays

Hello. A scan tool will not tell you why this light is on. It is on because the brakes are worn out. You need to inspect them and replace the worn out ones and install new wear sensors. These sensors...

Q: Intermittent problems with electrical system

Hello. It sounds like the problem you are having is an electrical one. It is also possible that you have an intermittent problem with the brake switch. If the instrument cluster is malfunctioning, this may cause the gas level gauge...