CarTalk.com Blogs Car Info Our Show Deals Mechanics Files Vehicle Donation

Turn Signal Problem

I’ve got a 2000 Olds Intrigue with some blinker issues. Sometimes the blinkers simply do not work - and sometimes they do. I’ve had the blinkers turn off in the middle of signaling and vice versa. the actual lights themselves seem ok (when they work) and the signaler in the car clicks as appropriate (when they should go on, and when they should go off after a turn)- I still use the signals even when they aren’t working to keep “testing” them.



I haven’t been able to pinpoint anything specifically about when this happens. Wet or dry weather, smooth or rough driving conditions, night or day, if I’m hungry or not - no pattern I can detect.



They got quite bad for a bit then I had my battery replaced a month ago or so. After that they worked great for quite a while, then went back to being shoddy.



Any ideas or suggestions on what the problem is, what I could investigate (I’m not car-smart - so nothing complicated), or how much a lame problem like this might set me back to resolve?



Thanks!

I’m guessing, from my reading, that the multi-function switch is to blame here … any ideas how much I’d spend getting that replaced?

You MAY not have to replace the multi-function switch.

See if you can remove some of the steering column cover to access the wiring connections to the switch.

If you can, spray a bit of electrical contact cleaner in the contacts/connections to see if they are just dirty.

First, have a look to see if you can get the spray nozzle (that piece of plastic tube that comes with the can) in tight to the end of the turn signal stalk to get the contacts without removing anything.

Sadly as a computer guy I don’t have any “real tools” including whatever crazy screw driver is needed to take the steering column apart.

I’ll check into some contact cleaners and see if that helps things out. the dirty contact theory sounds pretty reasonable.

I think you’ll have to remove the air bag to be able to see and spray the turn signal contacts. Disconnect the battery for a few minutes before disconnecting and/or reconnecting the air bag. IIRC it takes a small torx bit. There are two plastic caps on the hidden (speedometer) side of the steering wheel. Pop those and see what size torx it takes. I did one on a Monte Carlo two weeks ago, but I forget which size I used. That’s the way it’s been on all the GM turn signals I’ve had with similar problems, at least since air bags have become standard. You can buy a cheap set of torx bits at any auto supply, KMart or Wal*Mart.