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After checking bulbs and fuses, what could cause a failed turn signal and brake light?

The left rear signal and the brake lights do not work. The running light and reverse light does work. I have replaced the turn signal bulb but not the brake light bulb. I have checked both fuses in the engine compartment and under the drivers seat. What should I check next and how do I check it? I am not very good or knowledgeable when it comes to trouble shooting electronics. My next thought is to replace the brake light bulb and to replace the turn signal relay.

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Wireing harness short

Posted on Jan 19, 2013

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Left bleaker and break light not working. Turn signal works bleaks faster than right side.


Has the vehicle been in an accident on the left rear side. First check the bulb to be sure it is not defective, trade it out with the side that works properly to test. If the bulb works well then My thought are you may have a shorted wire. The turn signal flasher works by heat build up within the flasher the heat is caused by the load of the bulbs, the load heats the metal spring causing it to open the circuit then as quickly as it cools down the circuit closes again lighting the bulbs.
There is also a possibility of a defect in the turn signal mechanism on the steering column. The turn signal switch on many models does three different things on many models that use the same bulb element / or bulb for brake and turn on rear of vehicle. It controls the circuit for brake light by sending power both left and right side rear when turn signal is in neutral position then when turn signal is in left turn the switch cancels brake light power to left side rear and supplies flasher power to left side while maintaining brake light supply to the right side rear, and so on opposite when the right turn is chosen on turn signal switch. The turn signal indicators on the dash normally run off the same circuit as front turn signal bulb only which is also controlled by turn signal switch. Front has turn signals but no brake light.
I think there is an additional load on the left side rear turn circuit and it could be either a wire that is shorted or the turn signal switch if the same bulb element is used for both functions.
Often times if trailer lighting is connected the flasher will also blink a little faster because of the extra load of additional bulbs.

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How do i replace left rear brake light bulb


1) Open trunk
2) Remove small round plastic access panel with a flat tip screw driver by prying open
3) Remove flat tip screw holding tail light assembly
4) Remove tail light assembly by pulling outward, careful not to break plastic guide/nub
5) Disconnect wiring connectors
6) Remove plastic housing access plate on back of tail light assembly by twisting/turning tabs until they click and then lift access plate from tail light assembly
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Hi, the likely problem is the turn signal switch. The signals and brake lights use different fuses. You can get an owners manual here:
http://www.extendedgmwarranty.com/owners-manual/chevrolet/1996-Chevrolet-Cavalier.pdf

A new switch is about $40, and it isn't too hard to replace. Make sure you get one that has the same controls as yours does. To replace the switch, remove the covers from the steering column, disconnect the switch and unscrew it from the column.

Please let me know if you have questions, and thanks for using FixYa.

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1 Answer

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If the left turn signal has a slower speed than the right turn signal, this is a symptom of a bulb or bulbs burnt out.

Usually, the wiring is not a problem, but I would not rule wiring (or sockets) as a problem out.

Good luck on this repair.

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Found very detailed assistance and instructions, FREE on the Ranger Station Forum. It is nice being able to go on-line and find lots of free information from fellow American Ford Ranger owners and not be asked for $$$.

If you want the details let me know and I will send it to you for $19.95 or $39.95 if you want immediate response.

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Did you ever figure this out? I've got the same exact problem with my tahoe.

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