An indicator stalk is one of the most important tools required for road safety. It is the stick attached to the side of your steering column. Drivers use it to indicate when they are planning to turn by flashing the left or right rear lights accordingly to alert other drivers. Hence, any regular driver needs to know how to fix an indicator stalk.
Most indicators also include a self-canceling mechanism, which automatically switches them off after completing the turning. Some indicators may also control the car’s headlights, horn and flash.
Common problems in Indicator Stalk
Some of the most common issues that occur with the indicator stalk are:
- Failure of or issues with the self-canceling mechanism. Due to consistent use, the self-canceling mechanism mostly wears out over time and stops working.
- Broken switch or burning within the switch or overall wiring. The switch transmits electric signals from the stalk, running the entire mechanism like a regular light switch.
- Broken indicator stalk
- Wiring diagram
- Circuit tester
How to Fix An Indicator Stalk Step-by-step
1. Disconnect the car battery
Open your car’s bonnet and remove the negative lead from the negative terminal to prevent short circuits. Next, pause for 10-15 minutes to clear out the battery current. For cars with airbags, this will also prevent the airbag from blowing up.
2. Remove the airbag
Unscrew the three Allen bolts behind the wheel and gently remove the airbag. if they are broken, then remove the broken bolts.
3. Remove the shroud/steering wheel
Turn your steering wheel to align your tires straight. This step will help you fix the wheel back once you are done. Next, proceed to remove the shroud. The shroud is typically a part consisting of two halves. Locate and remove the two screws embedded within the molding, which hold the shroud together. This step should help you open and remove the shroud.
Inside, you will notice a delicate framework of multiple stalks. These must be handled with care to ensure no damage to the other stalks or even the ignition switch. For some cars, you will have to adjust the steering column to access the indicator stalk switch.
4. Check the indicator switch
Refer to the wiring diagram of the steering wheel present in your owner’s manual. Typically, three wires are attached to the indicator switch: one feed wire and two connecting it to the right and left circuits. Check if these wires are intact. Suppose you find any broken or burnt-out wires; repair them with new ones or solder as needed. If you cannot access and repair the wires without removing the switch, you can detach them first.
5. Test the indicator circuit.
To know exactly how to fix an indicator stalk, you must perform this step with meticulous attention. Test the circuit of the switch with the help of a circuit testing device. Refer to the car’s manual to locate the wiring of the indicator stalk. Most indicator stalks are connected with the help of a multi-connector plug situated under the dashboard. Disconnect said plug. After that, connect the circuit tester to the indicator stalk circuit and the output wire to the left and then the right-hand indicator. Propel the indicator stalk to the respective side accordingly.
If the circuit tester lights up on both sides, it is an indication that the switch’s internal and feed wiring are working perfectly. Conversely, if it fails to illuminate, this indicates an issue with the switch or the connection wiring between the switch and multi-plug. This indication effectively means that the switch and stalk require removal for further scrutiny.
6. Remove the indicator stalk.
Since there is a wide range of different systems in different cars, check your manual to figure out whether your indicator stalk has multiple connections and functions as a unit or it has an individual stalk structure. For the former, you will have to restore the entire unit of stalks. Whereas for the latter, you only have to replace your defective indicator stalk.
Examine the wiring from the indicator stalk to the main cable assembly point. It is usually connected by way of a multi-connector plug. Unplug the wiring and untie the cable ties attaching the wires to the steering column. In-car models with a U-shaped metal bracket screwed around the column unscrew and remove the bracket, followed by the stalk.
If the indicator stalk comes as part of a cluster, you will have first to remove the whole wheel. Next, unscrew and then detach the stalk.
7. Inspect the indicator stalk
Examine and repair or replace any burnt out or broken wires part of the circuit in the indicator stalk.
8. Replace the defective indicator stalk
If it presents damaged beyond repair, you will have to repair the indicator stalk. Check with a local mechanic or dealer to find one compatible with your car.
9. Refit the indicator stalk
Ensure correct alignment of the switch. Proceed to fix the new or repaired indicator stalk and secure it in place with screws. Test the system after reconnecting the battery to the negative terminal to ensure it is functioning properly. Secure the shroud and steering wheel system back in place.
If your indicator stalk seems to malfunction, disconnect the battery, remove the shroud and test the circuits to ensure it is working properly. By following the steps above exactly as written, you will know how to fix an indicator stalk yourself.
FAQs on how to fix an indicator stalk
What tools do you need?
All you need is a screwdriver, a circuit tester, your car’s driving manual and wiring diagrams.
How can you fix a worn canceling mechanism?
The threaded metal general canceling mechanism is easy to fix. You can unscrew and then tighten it back. Keep going until the mechanism falls back into place.