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Chevy 2012 equinox electrical issues

My friend has a equinox that has developed electrical issues. An example is you start the car an the hazard warning lights are on, radio is on full and wipers are going. None of this was turned on when leaving the car. Center console display is randomly going off.
I checked recalls an it has none pending.
My first thought is to check the fuses. Does anyone else have any ideas?


Blown fuses won’t cause this. this is a wiring or switch problem. If the radio has controls on the steering wheel, it could be the complicated connection between the rotating steering wheel and the rest of the car.

If the hazards were not involved…I’d think kids or a friend are pulling a prank on your friend.

I agree that it is in the steering wheel.

If you do not have the expertise…I’d leave this to a pro because of the danger of having the air bag go off while you probe around in there.


Thanks for the replies - I have follow on questions

Could this issue spread to the ignition switch and hence be dangerous by causing engine shut offs whilst driving?

Is it possible to shut off the electrical to the steering wheel and so fixing the problem ( via a fuse or alike)?

How expensive a fix is this most likely at a repair shop? $100-200?

As long as the key itself is not turned to the lock position you will be safe.

But I should add that when the engine shuts down you will lose the power assist for the steering and braking.
The loss of the power assist will still let you steer and brake, though it will be harder to use either.

I would get this fixed because if is a risk to continue to drive this…notr only to your friend, but to others on the road.


Without actually knowing the real problem price guessing is useless. The other thing you need to be aware of that your friend needs to have professional advice because if you lead him/her astray they will never forget it.

If the emergency flashers really are having a problem like you stated then I would look into that area first and see if that leads to the problem with the radio. The flashers should have power to them at all times, even when the ignition is turned OFF. So if they turn on with the ignition then something isn’t right there.

“As long as the key itself is not turned to the lock position you will be safe”. Uh, no. True, they will still be able to steer, but there will be no air bags due to the key being turned off. Air bags only work when ignition is on.

Does this Equinox have an aftermarket “security” or remote start system?
If it does, then it is entirely possible that these electrical issues are the result of that garbage electronic system having been cobbled into the vehicle’s wiring harness.

The problem with the work-a-round of disconnecting the electrical system to the steering wheel is that it could disconnect the airbag too. But there’s a good likelihood the problem is somewhere in that area There’s a spiral wiring arrangement inside the steering column area that allows the wiring connections to be made from gadgets on the steering wheel to the rest of the car, and still be able to turn the steering wheel. That’s a common source of problems.

Besides that and the other good ideas above, here’s some other ideas to ask your shop about

  • Faulty battery or battery connections

  • Alternator is faulty, producing electrical power with electrical spikes & other electrical noise. Shop’s have a simple way to test for that.

  • Bad power or ground connection to some electronic controlling component like the body control module.

  • Bad main power ground, either from the battery to the chassis, or the motor/transmission to the chassis, or engine computer/sensor ground.

  • A cracked fuse can sometimes be the cause of something like this, but that is pretty unlikely.