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indicators not working

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  • indicators not working

    ok so my friend rear ended another car and now her front indicators. i had a look at them and the bulb isnt broken. and its only the front ones, the side and rear are working fine. but when you put the indicators they blink and click a thousand miles an hour.

    how do i fix it?

    its a daewoo lagenza. 98
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  • #2
    Daewoo, there's your problem.

    It's not your fuse otherwise all wouldn't work, AFAIK when the bulbs are going a million miles a minute it means one on the circuit is blown. They aren't expensive to replace, so I'd try that first.
    If at first you don't succeed, add duct take.

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    • #3
      Flasher relays work off resistance. What you explain is a classic characteristic of a blown bulb.

      The fronts aren't working? Either the bulbs are blown, if not, there is a wiring fault. Maybe the wiring was damaged, is shorting somewhere, or something is unplugged.

      One of the rear indicators on my bike had a problem - the bulb was fine, but the wiring had a poor connection, causing it to fail intermittently. Whenever it did, it would not light up, however the front one and the instrument panel one would come on - not even blink, but just stay on constant. Adjust/replace the wiring, ensure the bulb had good contact, and it's been fine.
      Last edited by Rake; 26-04-2010, 08:56 PM.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by Rake View Post
        Flasher relays work off resistance. What you explain is a classic characteristic of a blown bulb.

        The fronts aren't working? Either the bulbs are blown, if not, there is a wiring fault. Maybe the wiring was damaged, is shorting somewhere, or something is unplugged.

        One of the rear indicators on my bike had a problem - the bulb was fine, but the wiring had a poor connection, causing it to fail intermittently. Whenever it did, it would not light up, however the front one and the instrument panel one would come on - not even blink, but just stay on constant. Adjust/replace the wiring, ensure the bulb had good contact, and it's been fine.
        Rake is the master and just saved me having to type this exact post!

        Where would we be without Rake I ask - where would we be????
        MCM MAGAZINE ISSUE 5 OUT NOW. Have you got a copy yet? Mighty Car Mods Magazine

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        • #5


          In simpler terms .. there's a broken circuit. From a circuit / electricity perspective, a blown bulb or broken/disconnected wire means the path to earth is not there - it is the same thing, a dead end, regardless of cause.

          Just doing a quick bit of googling. A Flasher Can / Relay has a special metal strip, which acts as a switch. As electricity passes through it (thus the indicators light up), the metal strip heats up, and then the heat causes it to spring open (presumably as things expand when hot). This breaks the connection, no electricity flows, so the indicators turn off. With no current flow, the metal cools back down, and then springs back into its original position, completing the circuit, lighting the indicators back up and repeating the process.

          All this happens at a rate of around twice a second (120 times per min). The mechanical action of the relay is what also creates the "Tick tock"-esque noise. For this reason they are usually installed near to the driver, so that the sound of the relay can be heard as a reminder that the indicator is on.

          A broken bulb connection changes the flow of electricity over the whole circuit, meaning the metal strip in the relay heats and cools at a different rate. This us what causes it to flash, for example, 5 times per second.

          Afterthought edit: This is also why swapping incandescent bulbs for LEDs can pose an issue. LEDs don't have the same resistance impact as a regular bulb, and thus again can interfere with the flasher's operation.

          More and more modern cars seem to be moving towards an electronic flasher, with an artificial buzzer/beeper to mimic the traditional noise of a relay, presumably as electronics are cheap and common enough these days - certainly a lot simpler than the other electronics found in a modern car. But flasher relays are still very common as they're cheap, simple and effective
          Last edited by Rake; 27-04-2010, 07:06 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by MOOG View Post
            Rake is the master and just saved me having to type this exact post!

            Where would we be without Rake I ask - where would we be????
            If i were only more local to Rake i would definately take him out for drinks!!
            1994 Nissan Pulsar- 14.982 1/4 mile...
            2006 Mazda 6 MPS- 336.7HP, MazEdit Tune; Corksport Exhaust and Air Intake, Turbosmart BOV, Pedders Coilovers

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            • #7
              thanks rake... although it kinda went over the top of my head.
              ill just tell her to buy a new car...
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              • #8
                If it's only the indicators, and there's nothing else wrong with the car (atleast beyond cosmetics, ie structural/mechanical is all OK) theres little point putting it to pasture! Fixing it yourself would be easy (or having a cluey mate help you out). An auto electrician could probably fix it too without too much cost or effort, since it would be a super easy problem for him to fix.

                Selling or roadworthy'ing the car might also be difficult without functioning indicators..

                I'll whip up a really simple wiring diagram tonight, maybe a visual will help you understand.

                If the theory is too much for you, all you need to do is this. This is assuming the side/rear indicators work (albeit fast), and the front ones do not work at all.

                - Locate the front indicators (Easy! )
                - Look behind the bumper, remove it if you need to. Remove the bulbs. Check the bulb filament to see that it is not blown.
                - Inspect the wiring in between the globe and where the wires disappear into the rest of the wiring loom. Ensure there is no obvious damage - wires which are broken/cut, flattened, trapped between other parts, etc. There should only be 2 wires to each bulb, often wrapped in tape or enclosed in a sheath for protection.
                - Often there will be a plug on these lengths of wires. This allows you to disconnect the bumper from the car without it being tethered by the indicator wiring. Ensure these are plugged in properly.
                Last edited by Rake; 04-05-2010, 05:45 PM.

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