I had a problem with my motorcycle’s turn signals not working. First they only worked sometimes. Later on in the week my turn signals only worked after the motorcycle was left alone for a few days. I noticed sometimes the turn signals worked if I revved the engine a all the way up to the rev limiter. I feared something electronic and assumed for the worst. It turned out to be a quick and easy fix.
I was worried about a split wire. My battery wasn’t an immediate concern as myLeft turn signals were working perfectly, only my right side turn signals were effected. I tried to remember if I had extra fuses. It’s the beginning of the season, my memory and motorcycle troubleshooting skills were pretty rusty.
I called up Steve my friendly neighborhood motorcycle mechanic. He said it sounded like a bad negative ground. Again, my memory and motorcycle troubleshooting skills were rusty. I let out an “…uh?” just loud enough to be audible, but silent enough that Steve, no doubt feeling sorry for the clueless putz on the phone gave some instructions:
“Before you go ripping everything apart, unscrew the turn signal lens and take it off. Reach in, push the bulb inwards and twist to remove the turn signal bulb from the housing. Try it without one turn signal and see what happens.”
When I removed the front signal and hit the switch the rear turn signal came on, though it didn’t flash. That little light hadn’t turned on in over a week and I was fed up with hand signalling. This was exciting.
I put first bulb back in while the motorcycle was running, hit the turn signal switch, and the signals lit up as if they were brand new!
UPDATE: I suspect there was some moisture or a bad negative ground, as the problem came back after my next ride. I’m going to go back in there today with some WD-40 or some grease, we’ll see what I can find, but hopefully that’ll be the end of my problem.
UPDATE 2: If you’re reading this and thinking about replacing your turn signals, I wrote this article on how to test your turn motorcycle signals (both old ones and new ones). This is great for testing purposes but will require cutting some wires. I’m including the video below, but you can find the written article with step by step instructions here.