Grand Am turn signals not working SOLUTION

I have a 2002 Pontiac Grand Am.  In September 2007, the turn signals/flashers would intermittently stop working.  We figured out that if you hit the hazards button, the turn signals would work again.  In June 2008, the “hazards button” method would not always work, thus creating a “hazardous” situation for the driver and other cars.  My mechanic and I were having difficulty figuring out where the flasher relay was, so I went online to try to get some advice.  I turns out that many, many Grand Am owners from 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 had this exact problem.  GM even offered to fix the problem for free for SOME owners:

2000-2001 Grand Am, Oldsmobile Alero, Chevrolet Malibu

1999-2000 Grand Am, Oldsmobile Alero, Chevrolet Malibu

The problem is that many owners have found that in those years, their car “isn’t in the VIN range,” even though it has the same problem.

BOTTOM LINE: GM knows about this dangerous situation and is not doing anything about it.  They know that those models have a problem and talk to any dealer — they fix it all the time.  GM is culpable for all accidents that occur because of this problem.  They decided they would fix as little cars as possible.

If you have this problem, call these numbers and report it (have your VIN ready)!

CHEVROLET AT 1-800-630-2438, PONTIAC AT 1-800-620-7668, OR OLDSMOBILE AT 1-800-630-6537 to see if your car will be fixed for free — if not, complain to them.

NATIONAL HIGHWAY TRAFFIC SAFETY ADMINISTRATION’S AUTO SAFETY HOTLINE AT 1-888-DASH-2-DOT (1-888-327-4236).

(Thanks Grand Am Owners Forum)

As a benefit to all owners of these cars, I have posted below instructions on how to fix this problem, since I couldn’t find any help anywhere.  I’m sure there are easier ways to do things; I had to figure it out.  Please comment below with tips and I’ll modify my instructions if appropriate.

These instructions are for turn signals not working intermittently.  There is another common problems where turn signals don’t turn off right away — that’s a different problem, but may be worth trying this because it is cheap!

TOOLS: flat head screwdriver, 7 MM socket

1. Visit your local GM dealer (doesn’t have to be Pontiac) and ask for a Hazard Switch for your car (this is the button you press to turn on your hazards).  They will probably know all about your problem.  Don’t be afraid to ask for the part at cost since this should have been a recall.  I got mine for $19:

2. I started with popping out the ignition ring. (Tip from George T in the comments: Don’t use a screw driver to remove the ring around the ignition switch, just pull the bezel with even force and it will remove it without damage.)

Sorry, my picture is bad, but I think you need to gently get pressure with a flat screwdriver to pry it out.  If you don’t do this first, you’ll see what happens — it gets broken:

3.  Next you need to pry off the bezel over the whole center console area.  I put my screwdriver to the right of the radio.  Once I could fit my fingers under the right side of the cover, I firmed pulled and the cover comes off:

4. Once I pulled the cover off, I put in the key, turned the ignition to on, put the car in Neutral and was able to pull out the console cover better:

5. Obviously, behind where the hazard button is located, is what we need to remove.  Start by unclipping the wire.  You need to push in the clip on the left and right side — enough to push the whole part back through the front, but we’ll do that after we remove in inner cover.

6. To take the whole cover off, remove the wires from the ETS button and cigarette lighter.

7. Now get yourself a 7 MM socket to remove the inner cover.  There are three screws holding it in (only 2 shown):

8. Your next job is to push in the two nubs holding the flasher in place, while pushing the whole part back through the front:

9. I had a difficult time doing this.  Many of you will think it’s easy, but I just could not get it to come out.  The black plastic is fragile — avoid breaking it.  The green plastic is fine to break, so maybe a tool to push both sides in at the same time would be best.  (Tip from Jim K in the comments: In order to squeeze the side tabs of the hazard switch to slide it out of the bracket, I taped a ¼” nut on each jaw of my channel locks, and squeezed directly behind the tabs because I couldn’t get a good grip on the tabs themself. Please read on as to why I didn’t want to break it out.) Here’s what things looks like when I finally got it:

10. You should be able to handle the rest yourself, just go backwards of the above steps.

Now a much happier car!

If your turn signal still isn’t working properly, the other big problem I read about is the multi-function switch in the steering column (attached to the turn signal stalk).  That’s much more expensive and I haven’t done it…yet!  The primary symptom of the other problem is that the flasher noise continues even after the turn signal turns off.  This website has some instructions and pictures.

Jim Kjendalen emailed me with these helpful thoughts on why this is happening:

I looked at the data sheet for the IC in the flasher. It looks like the only way for the “flasher” to activate & click, is to see a low impedance or ground on pin 8 of the IC. Crud on the steering column [multi-function switch] as described earlier, can definitely cause this.

I would “hazard” a guess, :) that what’s burning up the flasher module is the extra blinking that is occurring. Each time you hear a click, the relay contacts are opening & closing. Mechanical relays like these have a fixed life span of so many open/close cycles after which they just wear out. Driving around with the relay clicking for hours/hours is shortening the life dramatically.

In short, I don’t think the crud itself is destroying the IC, but the excess clicking is likely wearing out the mechanical relay in the module prematurely. If you fix the steering column crud as soon as you start to hear the unwanted clicking, you probably won’t need to replace the relay.

link to the 8 pin IC http://www.atmel.com/Images/doc4726.pdf

 

[UPDATE 7/10] My car has been getting worse and worse with the turn signal clicking continuing, even with not having the turn signal on.  It is usually in the morning, and it goes away after a few minutes.  However, today it kept doing it for about 45 minutes straight!  I’m wondering whether this multi-function switch problem is actually the reason why the flasher goes bad…

[UPDATE 9/11] My turn signal is making a clicking noise again at random times… I’m going to have to mess with that multi-function switch soon it seems. With 22,000+ visits to this post since June 2008, this is no small problem..

[UPDATE 4/12] Bye bye, Grand Am. Who knows, maybe the next owner will end up reading this very page!

 

147 replies
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  1. Christine & Dave says:

    I wanted to thank you so much for your excellent instructions and pictures on how to fix this problem. We tried to find a solution at auto parts stores and other websites but I (Christine) was very persistent. I did not feel safe without my turn signals. My boyfriend (Dave) fixed the problem so easily because of you…thank you…thank you…thank you!!!! Very much appreciated :-)

  2. Brian says:

    Thanks for the post, unfortunately I had to figure out the problem before I found this post. Had the same problem with the turn signals being intermittent. I replaced the Hazzard Switch and worked great for a few weeks. Problem started again, GREAT, this time no hazzard flasher either. Guess I’ll have to get a new switch again. Sad that GM will not take responsibility unless you jump through their hoops. Thanks again for the post!

  3. George T says:

    Had the same ticking sound as many of you on my 2004 Grand Am. I removed the hazard switch which was simple and took about 10 minutes. It was Sunday and no stores were open so I decided to clean the turn signal switch. Again this was very easy to access and there was a small amount of black grease on the contacts. Just enough for one q tip. i cleaned the contacts with contact spray and problem solved. Two tips: If removing the hazard switch don’t use a screw driver to remove the ring around the ignition switch, just pull the bezel with even force and it will remove it without damage. Second when cleaning the contacts on the turn signal switch, there is no reason to completely disassemble, take all screws out and raise the side the turn signal is on and clean it that way and than reinstall all screws.

  4. Debbie says:

    My daughters 2002 Pontiac Grand AM recently had the blinkers stop working. My husband changed the light bulbs but was only able to use blinkers manually then.While trying to figure out how to fix the problem I came across this information.We called Pontiac & were told it wasn’t covered.Then received a call the next day from them saying it was.Took car into dealership and had part replaced FREE OF CHARGE.Blinkers work great again.Can’t believe how common the problem is.Thanks for the info bmorris. You have helped so many people.

  5. Jim K says:

    Brian, Awesome site. THANK YOU !!
    Couple of tips I might add for the intermittent signal operation repair. In order to squeeze the side tabs of the hazard switch to slide it out of the bracket, I taped a ¼” nut on each jaw of my channel locks, and squeezed directly behind the tabs because I couldn’t get a good grip on the tabs themself. Please read on as to why I didn’t want to break it out.

    The following is more detailed than any consumer should go, but for those die hard techs out there, I thought I’d submit what I’d found. Being a tech, I wanted to see for myself what was wrong with this thing. Sure nuff, as the GM Bulletin said, bad solder joint.(little or no solder more like it) Shouldn’t have passed a QC inspection.

    Pry on the red tab in the middle of the case bottom, while pushing in on the back of switch between the pins, and the guts of this thing slide out in 1 solid piece. I looked closely at the 8 pin IC & found two pins with hardly any solder. One “popped” loose with hardly any pressure from a scribe. I re-soldered those two pins & popped the thing back together. Don’t try this without the right equipment. Holding the iron on too long can transfer heat down the metal tabs & melt who knows what kind of plastic hidden underneath.

    I’d already put a replacement switch in the vehicle so I didn’t take the time to test the old switch after resoldereing, but I’m 95% sure this was the problem. ( I never say 100% with electronics)
    If you think this is worth posting, I can send you a few photos of the IC & where to pry the switch apart.
    thanks again, jim

  6. James Sperling says:

    ok well I had both problems. The clicking noise and intermittent turn signals. So I called Pontiac and boy what a waste of time that was. “bring in so we can put on the computer” she was dumb and I guess she assumed I was too. I tried to explain the problem but she just kept giving me the “canned responses”. Pontiac wants a couple of gallons of your gas, $90 at least to “check it with a computer, about 4 hours of you time just to see if they will cover it. DO NOT WASTE YOUR TIME!! Both fixes together take about an hour all together at a total cost of about $18. SUPER EASY!!! If you are compelled to pay a dealer ship to do this repair don’t!!! Call me if your in the Ventura / LA area and I’ll do it immediately for half of what they will bob you for! 805-276-1489

  7. Alan says:

    Thank you so much for your help. I have a 2003 Oldsmobile Alero, with the intermittent turn signal problem. I believe the multi-function switch gets gummed up with grease and in turn causes the hazard switch to go bad. So I decided to go after the cause of the failure first and clean the muti-function switch while replacing the hazard switch at the same time, it only took about an hour to do both, and my cost was only $17.00

  8. Mario A says:

    Just want to say thanks for the tip. Normally I dont participate on any type of post but this was very effective for me and my 2002 Grand Am. The deal breaker here i believe is who you call. I called GM and the rep almost didnt cover it. I explained what was happening and advised that i had it professionally checked (after i read these postings of course)and could not figure out the problem. He offered to set me up with a dealer and i played crybaby role about having to flip the bill and he on his own checked for what is called a bulletin and not a recall. What you could do as well is call the local dealership(svc dept) of your make and model give them the vin and they will run to see if there are any pending bulletins. Should be free. Long story short i got it fixed for free. Now be carful wil the requirements of coverage. I was told the vehicle could not be more that 10 years old or no more than 150k in miles. Mine is 10 years old and he was not going to cover me because i missed it by 3 months. Ask or check for the manufactured date or inservice date. Mine was in may and saved my behind. In spite of the fact that it may not cote much to fix at least i didnt have to worry about it and the dealer i took it too knocked it out in about 45 mins. I hope this helps and saves somebody a little cash.

  9. Charlotte says:

    ok, so I have a 2010 pontiac vibe that has this issue, but only in the heat..took it to the dealership twice and they couldn’t figure it out…SCREAM…so using this to show to my father’s machanic to hopefully fix it!!

  10. Dan says:

    My 2001 Buick Lesabre is doing something odd. The turn signal light in the front passenger side – the one under the headlights under the amber lens – is malfunctioning some of the time. I get a rapid clicking sound when it acts up. I checked when it does this and the bulb is out. But then it stops doing that and is back on again.
    The bulb is in an awkward spot and isn’t easy to replace. It looks like you need to go under the hood and remove the entire headlight unit to get to it.

  11. William says:

    Great post, my turn signals would not work in cold weather until the cabin warmed up. Following your instructions, with the pictures, made it easy. $18.00 for a new hazard switch from NAPA and 20 minutes later, problem solved. Thank you.

  12. Dan says:

    As it turns out all I needed to do was replace the amber bulb under the headlight assembly. Taking the headlight assembly wasn’t all that hard after all. It’s a bit of a pain that GM made it more tricky than it had to be but if you take your time and pull gently to get the headlight out you are good to go.

    Thanks

  13. Debbie says:

    I have a 2000 pontiac grand am and I started having this problem today and i found this page and after gettin the information off here i called my local dealership and they said it would cost me $85 an hr to find the problem I called another dearlership in the next town over and they got my vin number and said they would fix the problem for free because there is a recall for faulty turn signals. Im am thankful for the person who posted this because if i didnt see this i would have probably been out a lot of money paying the mechanic to find and fix the problem

  14. Jonquil says:

    I have been having he same problem in my 2004 grand am and this helped me out soon much thanks. I have another issue when my signals went out so did my radio and smoke came out of the steering colum. But on a good not my signals work whenever a cop is near lol

  15. Kimberley GRAY says:

    My Grand Am 2002 was having turn signal issues as well, not always working and the flasher noise sporadically. I called the number for Pontiac and was referred to GM Canada. I provided my vin to Robbyn the greatest help ever, and she checked and found that my vehicle had been pun into service on 23 May 2002 and that the recall was good for 10 years. (expires in 10 days) She recorded my call and directed me to a local dealer where I will get the work done for free. She also told me there was a Service Update notice issued in 2002 that had never been dealt with. It deals with a software update that will be done for free as well. My lucky day. Thanks guys

  16. cheryl majer says:

    I just happened to go online to see why both my blinkers don’t work. I Saw this website. I called the number and they said this car was not recalled. The would not do anything. So, I quess once the mechanic looks at it, if I have anymore issues: time to start complaining big time from what I see here.

  17. Val says:

    My turn signals stopped working on my 2001 Grand Am. So out of desperation I searched the web for an answer. After several sites I came accross yours. And I must say I love this site. You see I have been building race car engines for over three decades. However when I look at newer cars I lift the hood and nothing under it resembles an engine. It may have a few plastic covers that lead you to believe there is an engine there, but thats about all in my book. So when my signals quit, all I could think of was the nightmare was just about to begin. Pleasantly suprised I might add, VERY pleasantly suprised to see you had the fix. It took me twelve minutes and twenty dollars and i’m on the road again. So I want to thank you very much. And if you ever need to know anything about super charged alchohol burning race motors just hit me up. lol, Thank you very much !

  18. shorty says:

    I have a 2001 grand am.my problem is that my parks will not go off.i have my lights set on auto.but they will not go off and its running my battery down.this the first time i every had a problem with my car.so if anyone can help please let me know how i can get this problem fixed thank you.

  19. shorty says:

    I have a 2001 grand am.my problem is that my parks lights will not go off.i have my lights set on auto.but they will not go off and its running my battery down.this the first time i every had a problem with my car.so if anyone can help please let me know how i can get this problem fixed thank you.

  20. Carl johnson says:

    I called Pontiac about my 2003 Grand Am and spoke to a Marsella Gomez. Pontiac will not do anything for me because this is not on a recall. I filed a complaint with the NHTSA. I’m not to good at working on cars so I’ll take it to my my mechanic and have him fix it. If GM doesn’t want to fix this for free then they won’t be paid by me to fix it. I am so glad my tax dollars bailed them out.

  21. Carl johnson says:

    I had my mechanic replace the hazard light switch today. it cost me $93 (part and labor) but it is probably cheaper than a ticket and I definitely feel safer now. I hope this problem is gone for good.

  22. Stacey says:

    Thank you sooo much!!! $19.25 after tax and 20 minutes later I have turn signals again!!!

  23. Art C says:

    I will add a big THANK YOU for the original post and to those who added their helpful hints. It even took ME only about 20 mins to change out the hazard flasher switch on my 2000 Grand Am, thanks to the detailed instructions and photos. If there is one hint that I could add from my experience… when trying to get the green part out of the black assembly I fastened the green part into a bench vise so that I had both hands free to work the side tabs and push it through – it came out in about 5 seconds.

  24. Lisa says:

    I had the same issue here. My mechanic replaced the hazard switch, and then a few days later, the clicking in the steering wheel started. He replaced the turn single/ multifunction part. But the ring plate needs replacing and he hasn’t been able to find one yet. Any suggestions? I’ve tried an internet search but I must be calling it the wrong thing. Its what the spring contacts in order for the horn to work.

  25. Doug says:

    Sorry, you are talking about the horn contact ring. The clock spring is deeper into the steering wheel towards the air bag.

  26. David Moore says:

    I have a 2001 Grand Am. I had intermittent turn signals, so I replaced my hazzard switch. They worked great until the next morning at 3 am. They wouldn’t work at all. After work around 2 pm I got back into the car and they worked fine. I thought great. The next morning at 3 am, no signals again. I found that when my lights are on, either auto or manually, my turn signals won’t work. When the lights are off, they work great. Any ideas? Thanks

  27. brmorris says:

    I would probably replace the multi-function switch at that point, which seems to be at the root of the problem. I didn’t get to try because I traded it in.

  28. Tom Wulf says:

    I called the number, gave them my VIN #, and they set up for me to take it to a local dealer for repair free of charge. Thanks for the great info!

  29. Brian says:

    Having the same problem wiyh my sons 03 grand am pontiac has no recall for my vin all the parts have been replaced this seems that this is going to be a constant issue. Paid good money for the car to GM should fix but they do what they want no matter how dangerous.

  30. Amy says:

    Haven’t check in here recently since life’s been crazy. I got nowhere with Pontiac and my local dealer except being out $50 for them to look at it, tell me what I already knew was wrong, and then say they aren’t going to fix it after sending me there. On top of that they lost my key to the car, wanted to just give me another remote to which I told them no they were going to re-key the whole car….sorry there are bad people in this world and I didn’t need my “lost” key floating around in their hands….and all while they lied about it all. Turn signal issue…had a friend replace the hazard switch and have not had an issue since…knock on wood. I will never buy another GM car due to their poor customer service.

  31. KeKe says:

    Thankx so much for this info! … I’ve been having this problem for a couple yrs! I will be having the multi switch and the hazard switch replaced now asap — Also could you tell me why you think the shop could not fix my dash light? they shop picked up my car from work and brought it back to me at my job and told me they could not find the problem to fix it? i thought all they would have to do was change the bulbs ??? my car is a 2002 Grand Am thankx in advance…

  32. Melissa C says:

    I too own a 2002 Grand Am and have had problems with my blinkers working at random times. After replacing bulbs and the actual turn signal lever, I started researching online and found all of these comments thankfully. I STRONGLY recommend that anyone experiencing the same issues to click on this link http://www.justanswer.com/pontiac/229q2-turn-signals-2002-pontiac-grand-se-work-sometimes.html
    THIS IS ALL THE INFO YOU NEED TO KNOW and it’s written by an actual GM representative. The first and only thing I did was go to the local dealerships website and request a service appt. I copied and pasted the code info and part # to the application form for service and sent it. The same day someone from the dealership called to confirm my appt. and said “bring it on in and we’ll take care of it for you.” I’m relieved to know it’s much easier than it seems (from reading all of these comments) and that I didn’t have to notify Pontiac. No runaround no fuss. So I’m just hoping now that this works, fingers Xed. I will repost a follow up when my car is ready!

  33. Doug says:

    I am replacing the multi-function switch on the top of the steering column on a 2001 Grand AM.
    Does this just drop into place, or is there anything to look out for?
    When you drop the multi-function switch into place, there is a spring activated pin in the upper left inner corner. Does this go behind something? Does it sit on top of something? Do I need to push it in? Not sure what to do with this when I put it back together—where is the pins’ designated location inside the steering column????

  34. CC says:

    Seconding what Melissa said. I have a 2000 Grand Am and just got my car back from having this repaired for free by the dealer because I mentioned this Special Policy Adjustment. ALSO — it might night show up when they look up your VIN. Make them look up the actual policy. It’s what I had to do, and so far, so good!

  35. jim says:

    I have a 2004 Grand Am. Turn signals only work when the emergency flashers are on, however, the emergency flashers do not work. I replaced the emergency flasher button, nothing changed. I put in a new multi-function switch, nothing changed. All of the bulbs work.

    Any ideas what to try next?

  36. Mark says:

    I found the contant clicking problem was in the turn signal handle in the column. I have 3 cars used for drivers ed. The turn signal handle switch has grease on it, and the contact on the handle is brass. Over time, the brass collects between the on and off positions and will allow it to arc across. What I do, is to take it out, wipe it down good, and usually dont put any grease back in. This has solved a continually reoccuring problem for my cars. Unfortunately I spent a lot of money on other parts and having the cars fixed at a pontiac dealer first.

  37. Ken says:

    Very good instructions, I replaced this switch in less then 30 minutes start to finish. Now everything once again is operating as it should.

    Great Article

  38. Mike says:

    Great article the switch from GM is $67.00 dollars at dealer cost not $19.00 so went with aftermarket one for $23.00

  39. Ron & Stef says:

    Hi!
    Just wanted to thank you for this site! It’s Father’s Day 2014 and I just fixed this exact problem on my Dad’s 2000 Grand Am. Your pictures & instructions were extremely helpful.

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