Funny how many names the turn signal can have: directional indicator, directional signal, blinker, flasher, etc. All of these names, however, are indicative of the component's function: to give signals by flashing a light on the left or right side of the car, depending on where the driver intends to turn. The turn signal is activated by the turn signal switch found on the side of the steering column, which is very accessible for drivers. A single touch and the switch can make as much as 60 to 120 blinks per minute possible, adhering to the standard international regulations on the many-named indicator light.
Depending on the original specifications of a car, a turn signal switch assembly may come as a horizontal lever on the steering wheel or a lever mounted on the driver side's dashboard. On left-handed vehicles, this switch protrudes on the left area; on right-handed ones, it's located on other side. This lever, also known as 'stalk,' has an outboard end that when pushed clockwise will make the right turn signal lights blink. The reverse is true for left turn signals.
All automobiles are also equipped with a car turn signal switch self-canceling feature that tends to return the lever on its neutral setting when the steering wheel is on a straight-ahead position. This feature is dependent on the configurations of both the vehicle's steering and the device itself. Some turns, like a long and large-radius one, may not need a lot of steering wheel movement to automatically bring the switch back to neutral. A little fiddling or configuring will correct this problem. It's also good to know that aftermarket auto part manufacturers are doing a lot of changes on these switches to provide car owners and enthusiasts with better upgrades in the future.
Worldwide regulations on the types of turn signal switch aren't as strict as the rules governing the color emitted by the turn signal lights. But in 1965, turn signal switches are actuated by a set of three slow-turning cams powered by an electric motor through the use of reduction gearing. This switch feature produces sequential turn signals or makes the illumination of horizontal lights sequential. This system, which was widely used on certain makes like Ford, is complex and prone to failure. It was a no-brainer then that later Ford models opted to use transistorized control module for switches.
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