What Do the Direction Indicator Warning Lights Mean?

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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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Number of Reviews

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Peter

42 years of experience
1275 reviews
Peter
42 years of experience
Honda Civic - Turn signal light is not working - Phoenix, Arizona
Peter is an awesome mechanic and is definitely the first person we would turn to for our cars maintenance.
Buick Regal - Turn signal light is not working - Phoenix, Arizona
Very helpful and knowledgeable, he has worked on 2 family members cars and has done an excellent job.

Julio

13 years of experience
19 reviews
Julio
13 years of experience
Ford Focus - Turn signal light is not working - Chandler, Arizona
Julio did a great job with diagnosing my rear signals and brake lights problem. He was very personable and easy to work with and explained things thoroughly and gave me options. He also advised me of other maintenance needs and prioritized them without trying to push me to fix things that weren't urgent problems. He ruled out the fuses or switches being issue and correctly identified the problem as coming from the bulbs (I didn't realize the bulbs could be multi-function so had not checked those). I highly recommend Julio Pereyda.

Matthew

13 years of experience
15 reviews
Matthew
13 years of experience
Pontiac Firebird - Turn signal light is not working - Euclid, Ohio
Matt kept me apprised of his est time of arrival. Upon arriving he immediately got to work diagnosing the issue with my repair. He pointed out to me in great detail the problems of my repair, he gave me a quote and we've scheduled the actual repair for next Saturday that coincides best with my schedule. He recommended a inspection before submitting the repair. So I am very pleased with the service Matt has provided so far. I will submit an updated review next Saturday after my repair. This is my 2nd time using the "Your Mechanic" service and just like the 1st time, this service is a "Godsend" not having to spend an entire day off sitting in a repair shop and getting an accurate assessment of my repair and an affordable price. I have already referred "Your Mechanic" to my friends and family after my 1st repair with them last year. But I will keep singing their praises for as long as they keep up the level of service I've experienced so far. Thank you once again.

Abdul

10 years of experience
416 reviews
Abdul
10 years of experience
Nissan Altima - Turn signal light is not working - Tucker, Georgia
Abdul always does a great job. Arrived on time (few mins before, actually), very professional and very knowledgeable. Highly recommend!

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