Ask a Mechanic: How to Fix Intermittently Failed Turn Signals?


Every week, we answer your questions about what’s going on under the hood of your vehicle and

install them to a knowledgeable mechanic in the Greater Toronto Area. In today’s column, we

discuss how to deal with a problem that only occurs periodically.

Dear, ask a mechanic,

I own a 2015 Buick Verano that I bought new. One irritant is that the turn signals work intermittently. Sometimes they don’t light up. Other times they turn on and then stop and it seems to happen more often when turning right than left. My dealer could not offer a solution because the problem is intermittent and they claimed to have no bulletin on such a problem. Unfortunately, I did not handle the issue as diligently as I should have while the vehicle was under warranty. Can you suggest a possible solution, and an approximate cost? – Pretty fed up

“Intermittent problems are the ultimate nightmare for every customer and technician,” said Robert Lirette, professor of automotive technology at Centennial College. The very first step in diagnosing a problem is to verify that there is a problem. For something that only happens intermittently, completing this step becomes difficult and can take a lot of time and money. Lirette explains that he always does a test drive with the customer in situations like this. If the problem does not appear, it is explained by the customer. Lirette said technicians also have access to BSTs (Technical Service Bulletins) which talk about recurring problems in certain vehicles. Given no bulletin exist in this situation, he believes the problem could be climate related, and environmental data should be collected to examine whether the problem occurs when the vehicle is hot or cold, during the day or at night, and whether other environmental factors are involved. Sharing a final cost to fix the problem would be difficult without proper diagnosis, says Lirette, and recommends that the driver have the vehicle examined by a trusted technician.

Ask a Mechanic is written by Nida Zafar, a journalist who grew up in a full house

mechanics in Scarborough and occasionally asks questions of his father or brother. You

can send your questions to [email protected] These answers are for informational purposes

alone. Please consult a certified mechanic before performing any work on your vehicle.


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