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Signal Flasher Replacement Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for a signal flasher replacement is between $81 and $112. Labor costs are estimated between $26 and $56 while parts are priced between $55 and $56. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is a Signal Flasher?

The turn signal flasher in most older vehicles provides the tick-tock sound when the turn signal is turned on. This is not their main function, but it is an easily identifiable sound for anyone who has ridden in a vehicle in the last 60 years. The clicking sound comes from the action of the older style of flasher relays, but the real result of the relay function is to make the turn signals blink instead of come on constantly. The sound has become so expected that many vehicles replicate the sound electronically even though the turn signal flasher is computerized and silent in modern vehicles.

How does a Signal Flasher work?

Older, mechanical style signal flasher relays use electricity to heat peices of steel, which cool once they are no longer actively charged. The heating of the steel will cause movement of the electrodes, and the cooling of the steel will cause reverse movement. This allows the center electrode to bounce between the two outer electrodes, which takes enough time to cause the signals to blink. Newer models are either integrated into the body control module, instrument cluster, or multi-function switch, or they are simply integrated onto a circuit board and plugged into the power distribution center under the hood or in the cabin.

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What are the symptoms of a bad Signal Flasher?

When turning on the turn signal, the lights on the dashboard may indicate the lights are not flashing. Instead, a solid arrow pointing to the side selected will indicate the flasher relay may be defective. Also, the expected tick-tock noise of the turn signal may not be heard, but some modern vehicles may still allow the sound to be audibly displayed. Additionally, many newer vehicles will send a message to the driver instrument cluster indicating a failure of the turn signal for one or more positions. In some vehicles, the turn signal for one side may blink, while the signal for the other is solid.

Can I drive with a bad Signal Flasher?

Aside from violation of state and federal laws, driving without turn signals which function properly is dangerous. There are hand and arm signals which can be used in an emergency, but most other drivers will only wonder why your arm is waving out of the window. The safety concern is even greater in heavy traffic, especially when attempting to traverse several lanes to arrive at an exit. If the turn signals are not working properly, it is better to have it fixed right away, however, this should not affect the operation of the vehicle.

How often do Signal Flashers need replacement?

Turn signal flashers rarely go bad. They do fail, however, even the older types of turn signal flasher relays had an excellent track record for reliability. Often, water intrusion or physical damage is the cause of a flasher relay failure, and this goes doubly for classic vehicles where the signal flasher relay was clearly visible next to the clutch or brake pedal. With the caveat that any part can fail, do not anticipate failure of the turn signal flasher.

How are Signal Flasher issues diagnosed?

Signal flashers which are integrated into computerized components or circuit boards are still simple to diagnose, however they require a higher repair bill most times due to the need to replace the entire assembly they are combined with. On the other hand, signal flashers that are simply plugged into the power distribution center or junction box can be tested with any 12v battery and replaced just as easily. Testing an integrated circuit requires identification of the power wire and load (output) wire for the signal flasher where it enters and exits an assembly or control module. If the proper amount of power is fed into the relay, but the relay is either not causing power fluctuation or not sending power to the turn signals, it is faulty. This will call for the assembly to be replaced. However, a turn signal flasher that is plugged in can be removed, connected to a 12v power source, and tested with a test light. If the test light blinks, the turn signal flasher relay is good, any other result, it must be replaced.

How are Signal Flashers replaced?

As stated, there are a few types of integrated components that may require replacement due to the turn signal flasher being combined within that component. For instance, the multi-function switch or body control module may require replacement if the turn signal relay is integrated into those components. However, the classic style, or even the modern flashers that plug into the power distribution block can be pulled and replaced by hand most times.

RepairPal Recommendations for Signal Flasher issues

Purchasing a turn signal relay should be done with the understanding of how much load is to be placed on the turn signal relay. Even when purchasing a turn signal relay for a classic vehicle which uses a mechanical flasher relay. That is because if the load from the turn signal lights is not high enough, the circuit will not fluctuate. We recommend pairing the specifications for the old unit to the new unit, and avoiding purchasing aftermarket light bulbs for the turn signal if the load is not similar to the existing bulbs.

What to look out for when dealing with Signal Flasher issues

When turning on a turn signal, a fast blinking turn signal indicator is often advising that a turn signal bulb has failed. This is done electronically and automatically when a bulb has failed. Note, this does not only mean a turn signal bulb has failed, but a brake light, headlight, parking lamp, or trailer brake light can cause this situation as well.

Can I replace the Signal Flasher myself?

Except for diagnosis of integrated turn signal flasher relays, these can be diagnosed and changed easily. If the turn signal relay can be found, removed, and you have a good understanding of how to connect and test the flasher, testing and replacement will be fast and easy. However, integrated circuits will need to be tested with a multimeter, and this should be done by the DIY person with a proper understanding of electrical and computerized electrical circuits.

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