My husband gets very upset with me if when changing...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1994

Dear Tom and Ray:

My husband gets very upset with me if, when changing lanes, I pull the turn indicator lever into the full "on" position, necessitating manually turning it to the off position after the lane change. He says this severely damages the mechanism, and if one is not making a sharp enough turn, so that the lever flips back to "off" as the car straightens out, one MUST only lightly tap the turn indicator so that it will return to off as soon as the light pressure is removed. I know how he feels and try to do it correctly, but sometimes if I don't concentrate fully or get in a hurry, I accidentally pull the lever fully on, and then I get a lot of sighs, shrugs, and sarcasm. Do car manufacturers really design this mechanism so that manually returning the turn lever to off is very damaging? None of the other women I know seem to have been told this. Can you tell me if this is true?

RAY: Don't worry, Pat, you're not damaging the car. I mean, sure, every time you use the turn signal mechanism, you wear it out a teeny-tiny bit. But so what? Every time you get in and out of the car, you wear out the seats a little bit, too. But what are you going to do about that? Drive standing up??

TOM: This is really a dumb thing for your husband to worry about. First of all, I can't remember the last time we replaced a turn signal lever that had worn out. But more importantly, while you're worrying about the optimum finger pressure on the turn signal lever, you SHOULD BE watching the road. How's your husband going to feel if his little turn signal lever works perfectly, but the front end of his precious little car is smashed into the back of a UPS truck?

RAY: Tell him you don't want to hear another word about it, Pat. Tell him there are more important things to worry about... like world peace and whether Murder, She Wrote is going to be back next season.
Editor: Please check the plural spelling of the French car "Deux Cheveaux."

Get the Car Talk Newsletter