You get in your car to head to work, and as you use your turn signal, you notice it’s blinking fast! There aren’t any lights out, so what gives? If you are currently faced with this problem, fear not. We can help with your dilemma. By following these 5 tips, you can soon be back to driving safely.
5 Reasons Your Turn Signal Is Blinking Fast
Turn signal blinking fast? No worries! Let’s explore the reasons why this is happening so that we can help you get back on the road.
Reason 1: Incorrect Bulb
Let’s start with the most obvious. Let’s assume for a moment that you just replaced all of your flashers with new bulbs. Although the bulbs looked to be correct, they could, in fact, be the incorrect wattage.
This can cause your blinkers to flash faster than normal. A common reason for this is vehicle owners “upgrading” their lights with LEDs. While it’s true that they use less power, they have a tendency to cause improper action.
As much as you might not like it, you’ll have to either go back to traditional light bulbs or find ones that are absolutely the correct wattage. Thankfully, this is about as easy a fix that there is. If this isn’t your issue or you still have fast-blinking lights, head on to the next solution.
Reason 2: There’s a Short
You’ve checked your bulb to ensure it’s the correct type, and it looks to be in good shape. The next reasonable possibility is that there is a short somewhere in the wiring. This could be caused by a number of things.
The wiring could be torn somewhere, causing the signal not to relay. This happens when the exposed wiring comes in contact with your vehicle. Alternatively, rust or corrosion could be to blame.
If you’re dealing with corrosion, clean the light bulb socket by using electrical contact cleaner. You can pick this up at your local auto parts store. Depending on the amount of corrosion, you may need to use a wire brush or knife to scrape off any thick areas.
If the wiring is torn and exposed, you can one of two things. The first is to simply wrap the exposed area with electrical tape. For a safer, long-term fix, replace the bad wiring altogether. Like most people, you’re probably going to be a hurry to fix the fast-blinking turn signal.
Patching it up with electrical tape should serve you well in the short-term. Once you have the free time available, consider doing a full replacement of the damaged wiring.
Reason 3: Improper Relay
Almost all vehicles have their own specific flasher relay. This relay is designed for your vehicle’s turn signal configuration. Vehicle manufacturers base these relays on the wattage of the blinker bulb. How many lights flash simultaneously and how fast the blinker flashes are also affected.
Depending on the type of vehicle you own, you may have more or fewer blinkers than others. Some cars have only two in the front and two in the back. Others have additional blinkers on the side mirrors or elsewhere on the vehicle to alert fellow drivers.
If you have recently replaced a flasher relay, there’s a very good chance that it is the wrong kind. This happens when a relay is used that wasn’t designed for that specific vehicle. Even a “universal” relay can cause a blinker to quickly flash.
Even though the replaced relay is for the same make, it may be for a different version, like a hatchback. If you’ve had your vehicle for a while and the turn signal just started acting up out of the blue, you may proceed to Reason 4. The solution to this issue won’t apply to you.
Using your vehicle’s manual or online guide, locate the relay cluster. Once found, you need to find the turn signal relay. This should also be listed in your owner’s manual. If not, you may need to purchase a service manual for your specific make and model. However, there’s a good chance that you can find this information online for free.
After locating the turn signal relay, remove the old one, and replace it with the new relay. You can’t mess this up, as these relays install only one way. Here is a video you should look at if you need help getting through the process.
Reason 4: Incorrect Circuit
This issue is becoming more and more common as people add aftermarket lighting to their vehicles. If you recently did something like this, it is quite possible that you’re dealing with an incorrect amount of lights in your vehicle’s circuit.
It is important to replace your flasher relay accordingly any time you add lighting to your vehicle. If not, you will surely experience issues. Fortunately, you can remedy this by hunting down the correct flasher relay.
If, however, you cannot find a suitable relay, try adding a series of connected resistance to your circuit. This often brings your blinker speed back to its normal timing.
Reason 5: Bad Relay
As we just discussed, the relay is responsible for the speed of your turn signals. If there is an issue with the relay, you may experience undesired signal speeds. This may be the cause of your troubles, even if you didn’t add lights or replace the relay at any point in time.
To test your flasher relay, you will need to access your vehicle’s junction box. You will also need a testing probe and a multimeter. If you don’t have one or the other, you can pick these up at your local auto parts or big-box store.
The location of the junction box varies depending on the make and model of the vehicle.
In some models, it is next to the steering wheel column. In others, it’s located somewhere near the vehicle’s battery in the engine compartment.
Thankfully, your vehicle’s owner’s manual should give you the exact location of the junction box. If you don’t have your vehicle’s original owner’s manual, there’s a good chance you can find the information you need online.
Once you have accessed the relay, start up your vehicle. With the test probe, you want to clip it to a good ground. Now, check the main wire that connects from the relay using the probe. If it lights up, you know the relay is good.
If not, switch on the multimeter. You want to make sure it is set to “Ohms”. Next, place the test wires across both power/control terminals. If the relay is good, you shouldn’t get any continuity to register. If it does, you know you need to replace the relay.
Once you have successfully replaced the relay, your turn signals should operate as desired. Remember, just because your relay has been working fine ever since you owned your vehicle, it doesn’t mean that it can’t go bad.
Fortunately, checking the status of the relay in your vehicle is fairly painless. Taking the time to test it can save you further troubleshooting. Replacing the relay is equally straightforward. But if you don’t feel safe doing it by yourself, find someone who will do it for you at a reasonable price.
As you just learned, there are several things that can come into play regarding your turn signals. But knowing where to look and what to replace can save you hours of research and troubleshooting.
If you’re still having a problem after trying the above tips, have your vehicle inspected by a trusted, professional mechanic. Wiring can do some funny things. It pays to have someone who knows what they’re doing diagnose your turn signals.
This too can save you a lot of time and energy, as they may know what to look for when you have exhausted your efforts.