What would be a fair amount to pay to fix a turn signal?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Nov 01, 1997

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 1989 Buick Century. Recently, the left directional flasher went
out (i.e. stopped flashing). The local service-station mechanic didn't
have a clue. He said about an hour's labor plus parts. I took it to
another station and was told anywhere from $3 to $125. Then I called two
Buick dealers and they couldn't give me a firm estimate either. What
would be a fair amount to pay to fix this problem? No one can tell me.
-- Jerry

RAY: In many cases, Jerry, this problem is caused by a burned-out bulb
in one of your directional lamps.

TOM: The flasher is affected by resistance. And if one of the bulbs
burns out, the resistance changes. Then the flasher either flashes very
rapidly or stops flashing to let you know a bulb is out. So by turning
on the blinkers, and comparing the right side, which is working, to the
left side (look carefully, because each lamp contains several bulbs),
you should be able to tell if you're down a bulb.

RAY: And if that's the case, you have a $3 fix.

TOM: If it's not the bulb, then it probably is the flasher
(occasionally, we do see a flasher that works on one side but not the
other). The flasher is a round, ice-cube-sized relay that plugs in under
the dashboard. And you can find it by listening for it. Lie on your back
on the driver's-side floor with a flashlight, turn on the blinker to the
side that works, and listen for the little box that's clicking.

RAY: When you find it, pull it out, bring it to your local auto-parts
store, and say, "Give me one of these."

TOM: Then plug the new one back in, and you'll be all set. By the way,
that's also a $3 fix.

RAY: If it still doesn't work, then you have a problem with your wiring
or with the directional switch. And that's the $125 (or more) solution.
Good luck, Jerry.

* * *

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