Turn signals and brake lights have stopped working

  • 170,000 MILES
I am a very bad mechanic, but I am willing to dig into it and try to figure it out as best I can. I know very little about cars and why things work the way they do, so if I say something stupid or ask a stupid question, that is why.

During the summer, the turn signals and brake lights started having an issue where they would intermittently not function correctly. There was a clicking noise (almost a grinding noise) coming from the flasher relay. I could put my hand on the flasher and feel it vibrating as it made the noise. At first, it could be fixed by a gentle tap on the relay. Weeks later when it happened again, I replaced the relay, and that seemed to fix it for about a week. I then replaced all of the fuses, just in case. It worked for another week or so. When it happened again, I cleaned the contacts as best I could between the flasher relay and the fuse box. That seemed to fix it for several months. However, the problem has returned, and nothing I am doing seems to be making it work again.

The Problem:

Intermittent problem with the turn signals not working has become permanent. The dash indicator comes on, but does not blink. The turn signal lights on the back and front of the bus do not light up at all. The brake lights do not light up either.

Attempted So Far:

During the summer, I replaced all of the fuses in the fuse box. I replaced the flasher relay. When the problem still occurred, I removed the flasher and scraped the connections on the relay and in the fuse box. I observed that all wires in the fuse box connecting to the relay socket were secure and not loose. I used compressed air to blow away any debris that might be interrupting the connection. This seemed to solve the problem, as I have not had any more issues from August up until Late December.


What other things could be causing this issue, and in what order should I be checking them. I attempted to trace the wires coming out of the flasher's connectors to see if there is a loose/broken connection somewhere, but I need to be able to take the whole dash off to follow them. Should this be my next step? Is there something easier I could start with? Should I try a different flasher? There is another relay next to the flasher that I have no idea about (it's the silver one a couple of pictures down). Is this something I should try to replace even though it doesn't click or vibrate when the problem occurs? Why do the brake lights not work when this is happening?

I have a page on my website with this information and pictures of what I am looking at if that would be helpful.


Thank you for any help!
Friday, December 23rd, 2011 AT 9:20 PM

1 Reply

  • 6,110 POSTS
Check to see if power is reaching the individual bulbs. Next, check to see if power is reaching the switch and relay.

Unfortunately, your vehicle is too old to have any information in my reference material. If you live in the U.S. A really good investment would be to buy a Chilton's or Haynes manual.
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Saturday, December 24th, 2011 AT 9:00 PM

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