Spending the weekend in your garage fixing turn signals instead of out riding with your mates is a real bummer. Let’s look at the quickest ways to get you back out on the road and hitting those trails.
Why are my motorcycle turn signals not working?
When it comes to issues with bike electrics, it may seem like there’s a bit of voodoo happening but following some basics can resolve the problem easily and cheaply. There’s a few common issues riders face when it comes to turn signals, including the newer LED turn signals.
Some common issues could include:
- Not blinking
- Blinking too fast
- Flickering lights
- All 4 blinking at the same time
If you’re running the older style incandescent bulb type blinkers, there are a couple of obvious checks you can do – check the bulb hasn’t burnt out, check the mount hasn’t rusted or is damaged and check the wiring has not come loose.
On the other hand, LED turn signals only require around 3W, compared to a bulb that powers up with 21W so there are some specific issues you may face. The difference in power is usually the cause of fast blinking (hyper-flashing) or not blinking at all.
The reason and solution is simple…
The flasher relay that causes the blinkers to turn on/off intermittently needs the original 21W of ‘load’ to activate the flasher. With LED turn signals only requiring 3W, there’s simply not enough ‘load’ in the system. A quick fix is to add load resistors to each side of the bike – they connect inline, usually just before each turn signal. They are a cheap item, usually sold in pairs for around $10-$12 bucks. The other option is to change the OEM Flasher Relay to an LED Flasher Relay. There’s several versions available including new electronic relays. Check what type (2 pin or 3) pin you have and consult your local dealer on which one suits your model best.
Sick of this happening?
This Guide will help!
How to correct all 4 LED turn signals flashing at the same time.
The other common issue is all 4 blinkers flashing at the same time. This happens because the incandescent bulb on your dash that indicates you are turning, has a greater ‘load’ than the LED turn signals you’ve just installed, causing the flasher relay to activate. To overcome this you need to install diodes to each wire coming from the dash bulb. The diodes prevent the power going back toward the relay – think of diodes as a one way valve.
How do I replace my motorcycle with LED turn signals?
Apart from the time, expense and hassle of replacing broken turn signals everytime you damage them in a fall, swipe of an obstacle or dropping your bike, replacing them is relatively straightforward:
- disconnect the negative cable from your battery to prevent a short-circuit.
- remove the broken or old turn signals by loosening the retaining nut and follow each set of wires back to where they connect.
- plug in one LED Resistor inline to each new LED turn signal. At this stage check they are working – LED turn signals are polarity dependent so if it doesn’t flash, swap the wires.
PRO Tip: Instead of cutting and soldering wires, purchase a set of Harness Converters for your model and get the benefits of a plug and play connection that keeps the OEM connectors intact and provides a solid and easy way to connect the wires. Some brands will even have waterproof connectors so it’s worthwhile seeking out a quality Harness Connector that has that feature.
Blatant Cross Promotion Tip: Yes we make them for all the popular brands. Check them out here.
How can I prevent my turn signals from getting damaged?
Now there is one other great option to keep you riding and having fun with your mates, without the hassle of broken turn signals. Years ago, we got sick of this happening to us, so we decided to do something about it and invented a removable LED turn signal that simply clicks in and out by hand, ensuring that no branch or other obstacle is going to ruin your day or compromise your safety when it’s time to hit the road and head home.
The design is compact and the Philips LED we use are super bright and will last pretty much forever – LED lights last around 50,000 hours – so with a correct blink rate of 90 per minute, that’s around 360000000 flashes before they will burn out. Of course that is unlikely ever to happen during the life of your bike so the real benefits of upgrading your bike with removable LED turn signals are:
- not racing around shops finding a replacement, then hanging around in the garage making you bike safe again;
- avoiding the attention of your local friendly law enforcement officer;
- giving your bike a slick micro-LED style,
- and in the long run, saving your ‘hard-earns’.
Make sure you check them out.