Fun fact: There’s actually a reason why your turn signal makes that clicking noise. Yes, really.
The moment you learned how to drive, you noticed that clicking noise, right? Whenever you turn on you car’s turn signal, you had to have heard it. Some car’s have such a loud signal that it can get annoying.
What you might not have known is that the sound is actually intentional.
In fact, that sound has been in cars for more than 70 years! It turns out that the sound that syncs with those flashing arrows, dates back to the late 1930s. According to Jalopnik, it started when people were coming up with their own mechanical signals.
The publication revealed that Joseph Bell came up with the original idea of a flasher. Later in the 1930s, Buick began making that flashing turn signal a standard on their cars.
It’s the flasher aka the blinkers that are responsible for the sound.
Back in the day, some cars used thermal flashers, the publication explained. In these flashers, the bi-metallic spring would heat up when you used your signal.
Every time it works, there is a process of bending and contorting. That movement is combined with the steel heating up and cooling down. As the cycle continues, the different friction leads to the clicking noise.
The other blinker noise comes from an electronic style flasher.
This style uses a chip to send a plus to a relay (or a electromagnet). According to the publication, this electromagnet (made of coils) produces a magnetic field with a current in them.
As the magnetic field pulls and pushes it disconnects a group of contacts and cuts the current to the lights. It eventually stops sending currents to the coil, the spring closes, and re-juices the lights. That results in another click.
So the next time you hear that ongoing click while you get ready to turn, you can think about all that’s happening below the hood to make that noise happen.