Feb 27 , 2019

How to Fix Intermittent-Wiper and Turn Signal Problems on the Multifunction Switch

Remove the Multifunction Switch

Once known as a turn signal or blinker switch, this lever now also controls headlights, high beams, emergency flashers, wipers and washers. No wonder it’s called the multifunction switch (MFS) these days. Unfortunately, the MFS has a fairly high failure rate.

The two most common failures are:

  1. A broken turn signal “canceling” mechanism that won’t shut off the “blinkers” after a turn,
  2. A partial or complete loss of intermittent wiper control.

To fix these two problems, you’ll need a shop manual, a digital multimeter and possibly some Torx bits.

Locating Your Vehicles Multifunction Switch

On most late-model vehicles, the MFS is located under the plastic covers behind the steering wheel. In that case, you can do this repair in about an hour and save the cost of an hour or two of shop time by doing it yourself. But some older vehicles require the removal of the airbag and steering wheel, and that’s a job for a pro. Refer to a shop manual to see where your MFS is located (you can find shop manuals with an online search).

Car maintenance seems daunting at first, but start small and work up the car repair ladder. Here are 100 car repair tasks and maintenance you can do yourself.

Take Off the Cover

Turn Signal Problems on the Multifunction Switch intermittent wipers

Always disconnect the negative battery terminal and wait 15 minutes for the airbag system to power down before starting work on the steering column. Then remove the screws and lift off the plastic covers.

Keep track of the screws:

Remove the screws from the bottom half of the steering column cover and note the length, thread style and location of each screw. They have to go back to the same place. Disengage the plastic snap clips and separate the two halves of the steering column cover.

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