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Turn Signals Stopped Working

Turn signal circuit

Nothing is more frustrating than a random electrical problem that is keeping you from enjoying a drive. Especially with an older vehicle you're keeping just for those nice Sunday afternoons or occasional "fun commute" days. The trouble is, the longer a vehicle sits (no matter its age) without use, the more likely it is to have corrosion issues and electrical connection problems. One of the more common is failed turn signals and brake lights. Let's assume the brake lights are working, but the turn signals (and emergency flashers) are not.

Turn the ignition key to "on" or start the vehicle. Then run the turn signals one after the other, looking to see if the indicator on the dash displays the left, right, and hazard signals as it should. If not, you likely have a problem right at the signal switch, relay, or fuse box. The diagnosis from there is merely looking over the wiring (as much as possible, anyway) and doing circuit checks from one point to the next. On most vehicles, the turn signal relay (which will be clearly marked in your vehicle's wiring diagram) is a cheap replacement, so it might be worth replacing it to see if that fixes the issue, saving some time.

If the interior indicators work, then it's time to run the same check and walk around the vehicle to look at the flashers on the front and rear of the car. If one side works but the other doesn't, you've narrowed down your search and can begin circuit checks on that side only. If one light is not working but everything else is good, it's likely a connection to that light or the bulb itself that's out.

Most of your work will be in circuit checks. It's possible that something has chewed through some wiring, connections have deteriorated, or fuses have "rotted." Happy hunting!