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JLeslie's avatar

Any way to muffle the sound from the turn signals on my Ford F150 truck?

Asked by JLeslie (47786 points ) June 29th, 2014

The sound of the left and right turn signals is very loud. It drives my husband batty. Is there a way to make the sound not so loud? We already asked the dealer and they said they can’t do anything.

We googled some forums and plenty of people bitch about how loud the signals are, but we can’t find a solution for it.

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21 Answers

hearkat's avatar

Ha! Many of my patients notice that as one of the first things they can hear again after getting hearing aids. My mother-in-law texted us a couple minutes after they left the office because she was so thrilled that my father-in-law could now hear the turn signals with his new hearing aids, and she didn’t have to tell him to turn them off anymore.

They are loud for a reason – so that we are aware that they’re on, and can turn them off if they shouldn’t be on. I am not sure if there are NTSB regulations for how loud the signals have to be, though. If you roll down the windows or turn up the tunes, you’ll drown them out. Or you could get earplugs for in the car.

JLeslie's avatar

@hearkat I don’t want to silence the signal, these are just unusually loud.

livelaughlove21's avatar

Hm, my husband has had three F-150s and none had loud turn signals. Maybe it’s only the newer models. What year is it?

I’d think that, if the dealer can’t do anything, you’re just going to have to deal with it.

hearkat's avatar

@JLeslie – I understood that you weren’t trying to silence them, but I think they are not meant to be adjusted. You may need to talk to Ford at the corporate level.

I’ve been in cars that will actually emit a beeping sound if the blinker doesn’t shut off, which is really annoying – but that’s also a pitch that folks who can’t hear the clicks aren’t likely to hear either. I think it was a Chevrolet model.

snowberry's avatar

@hearkat Yes, my car does the beeping alarm if the signal is left on too long.

Jonesn4burgers's avatar

Over the years I’ve had a couple of cars lik that. I never found anyone who knew a solution. You can buy earplugs, or just rest easy knowing you do a good job of cleaning your ears.

JLeslie's avatar

My husband is hoping someone knows where the sound comes from, and he can maybe put a piece of fabric over it, or some other way to muffle it.

@livelaughlove21 2011. I don’t know if the dealer can’t or won’t. There might be a specific reason they don’t.

@hearkat We have 5 cars, just bought a new one yesterday, and have probably owned over 20 cars in our adult lives, forget about driving cars as teens and rental cars, and the truck is the only one I am complaining about, because it is that much louder than any car I have ever owned. A beep if it was left on too long would be more acceptable probably than the signal itself being so loud. I am not freaking out about it, but my husband hates it and asked me to ask the collective.

It would be nice if it was adjustable so people who need it loud can make it loud, and people who don’t could turn it down.

LuckyGuy's avatar

At one point there was talk of saving ~$1.50 per vehicle (a significant sum) by sending the signal through the radio speakers. The plan was to bypass the radio controls so it did not matter if the driver had the radio on or off or blasting away. I do not know if that was implemented. A glance at a wiring diagram will tell you.
(I don’t have one. Sorry.)

XOIIO's avatar

You could probably wrap a bit of foam and tape it over the, er, can’t recall the correct term lol, “clickers” to mute them a bit.

jerv's avatar

The blinker relay in many American cars is rather loud. In fact, there’s aftermarket ones available that are even louder, the intent being to alert the elderly (who are often hard of hearing) to the fact that their blinker is still on.

There’s no way to adjust it. You may be able to find a quieter relay, but aside from that, you’re dealing with the fact that it’s a Ford. American cars are designed for old people.

@livelaughlove21 “Loud” is subjective. My ears are sensitive enough to certain sounds that what you would consider “barely audible”, I would find deafening.

XOIIO's avatar

@jerv Huh, figured there would be a more automotive term for it rather than relay.

JLeslie's avatar

@LuckyGuy My husband had tried the volume for the radio hoping it would affect it, but alas no effect. Now that I read your answer, I am curious to put my ear to the radio speakers and see of the signal sound is coming from there. Since the volume dial had not affected the signal we assumed the sound does not come from the same speakers, but possibly that is the wrong assumption. Also, actually, it would make sense for it to be louder when the radio is louder. Our radio automatically gets louder on our convertible when you drive faster with the top down.

@jerv Interesting that it might be some sort of relay. That might be very helpful information. Thanks.

XOIIO's avatar

@JLeslie That sound is pretty much universally a relay sound, there is probably just some timing circuitry inside the can along with it, either that, or a type of metal that flexes with heat that is used to time it, maybe by shorting it, and when it heats up enough it flips and triggers the relay.

livelaughlove21's avatar

@jerv As @JLeslie said, they’ve owned 20+ cars. These signals are clearly louder than any of those vehicles. It’s not that she finds them all loud; these are louder. “Loud” being subjective really makes no difference here. She’s got a 2011 while my husband has only had a 2001 or older, so I wouldn’t be surprised if the newer models have louder signals.

Personally, I have my radio up so loud in my car that I don’t even hear my turn signals, though they are louder than any car I’ve owned. It’s also the newest car I’ve ever owned – a 2013.

kritiper's avatar

Pull the flasher out and wrap electrical (or duct) tape around it, then put it back it.

rexacoracofalipitorius's avatar

It sounds like this is a newer vehicle. Older ones would use an electromechanical relay to actuate the turn signals (the part is sometimes called a “blinker”, but it’s a relay).

On newer vehicles, it’s likely that the electromechanical part is replaced by a solid-state one, which is cheaper and more durable. In fact it is probably not a replaceable part, but instead part of a “turn-signal assembly” or some such. As @LuckyGuy points out, there is a trend towards modern cars making their own artificial sound effects (or “sound enhancements.”) To affect this you’d need to alter the programming of whichever computer is responsible for the sounds and the amplification, or disable the amplifier responsible, or disconnect the speakers. Again, you’d need a wiring diagram.

JLeslie's avatar

We just went out to the truck and the sound definitely does not come from the radio speakers, it just comes right out of the dash.

It’s almost comical. My husband was practically upside down under the stearng wheel telling me to put the signal on, take it off, put it on again. Nothing. We tried to listen, I even listened where the air bows for the air conditioner.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

There’s a trap door on most Ford truck to the right of the steering under the dash. There should be two relays one is BLUE that is the “Flasher Relay”. Go to an auto parts store and get a cheap replacement ( should be $8 to $12 ) see if the cheap replacement is not so loud.

CWOTUS's avatar

As far as I know, we’re still required to know how to use hand signals in order to qualify for driving privileges. That is, we’re required to know how to make them and how to interpret them. So he could always just forgo the convenience of the stalk-mounted lever and electric light signals, and just signal turns by hand. No, I don’t recommend it, but it’s an option.

I think that earplugs might result in a moving violation, should you ever be pulled over for some reason. I doubt if they’d be a primary infraction (as headphones would be), but anything that blocks the driver’s hearing or vision is going to be looked upon with great disfavor by highway safety officials and cops.

Or he could learn to drive the way so many already do, and just not use turn signals at any time.

funkdaddy's avatar

The noise probably comes from the gauge cluster and is “artificial” as noted above, it’s not the relay clicking.

He’d have to pull that whole cluster out to find it, is it annoying enough to spend a couple of hours on? I know he enjoys cars, but this seems a little different.

Probably something like this – depending on year

Loud turn signals and chime – How to quiet them down

LuckyGuy's avatar

Even though it appears you have a turn signal relay (old technology) I’d like to add a bit more about the system I mentioned. It does much more than just make the turn signal clicker sound. The radio speaker combination can also be used in place of: the key buzzer, door ajar warning, seat belt warning, forgotten headlights on, low coolant, low fluids, check engine light, etc. All the signals can have a different tone patterns and volume. .This is much cheaper, more reliable, and offers better performance and flexibility than the old mechanical methods. Technology presses on.

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