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My Car Horn Is Not Working: How to Fix It

BY: Keith Benline
Woman driving a car on her way to work

Modern vehicles come with all the bells and whistles regarding safety features, but one feature in particular is standard on all vehicles: the horn. A car horn on your steering wheel is a useful tool for alerting other drivers to road dangers or getting another driver’s attention.

Having your car horn in working order is extremely important, which means knowing how to troubleshoot potential issues is something all drivers should be able to handle.

Car Horn Safety 101

Before working on your car horn, taking a few precautionary measures is important to avoid getting hurt. First and foremost, take the time to unplug your car battery so that no electricity is running to the steering wheel.

The horn button uses electricity to function, which is why this step is so important. You should also refer to your owner’s manual to ensure there are no special items to handle before beginning the dismantling.

On top of this, as with other repairs, ensure you have the proper equipment you need. Safety goggles and gloves should suffice for personal protection, but be sure you also have screwdrivers and other necessary tools at the ready. Finally, be certain that your vehicle is in a safe location to have work performed on it where the sensitive parts that will be exposed won’t be contaminated.

The Initial Troubleshooting Process

The first step in fixing your car horn is to troubleshoot the problem affecting the component. This means opening up the wheel and associated parts to try to identify what is going wrong with the horn. Firstly, take a look at the electronic connectors to the horn to inspect for corrosion, as this can lead to a bad horn. Assuming corrosion isn’t the root cause, remove your steering wheel cover to see if there is a problem with your horn button itself.

Before going further into your troubleshooting, refer to your owner’s manual to locate the fuse box that connects to your horn. Once you have found this box, inspect for a blown fuse that could be the cause of a car horn not working.

This horn fuse being blown will result in a lost connection to the horn and could be why no sound occurs when the button is pushed. Assuming none of the above appears to be the cause for why your horn isn’t working, you’ll need to dive a little deeper into the reason.

Diving Deeper into Your Horn

With all of the surface-level troubleshooting out of the way, it’s time to look for more specific reasons why your horn may not work. Generally, the following are the most common causes of a faulty horn:

  • The horn relay
  • The actual horn unit
  • The clock spring

For those unfamiliar with what a horn relay does, the relay is an electromagnetically powered device that converts the signal of the horn button being pushed into sound. The horn relay is typically inside your car’s fuse box, and the telltale sign of a bad relay is a clicking sound from under the hood when the horn button is pushed.

Alternatively, the actual horn unit is exposed to the elements as you drive daily, and this debris can quickly build up. A quick way to test whether the unit is damaged is to use your key fob to activate the horn. Assuming it works when you click the key, you know the problem is elsewhere.

Finally, another major reason the horn may not be working on your car is if the clock spring is damaged. This simple yet important part stabilizes the electrical connection in your wheel when it is turned so that you can still honk the horn even if your wheel is at an angle. The easiest way to tell if the clock spring has an issue is if the horn only works when your wheel is facing straight or if your horn sound is weaker during turns.

When to Seek Professional Help

The fact of the matter is, any repair to your horn beyond replacing a fuse or adjusting the wiring tends to be best left to the professionals. The airbag and other crucial components, which are sensitive and should not be tampered with, are stored within your wheel. Attempting to DIY a broken car horn can easily lead to additional issues with the electrical system, battery terminal, and more if you are not careful.

Ultimately, if you are not confident in your ability to fix the car horn, leave it to the professionals in a repair shop. While the cost may be a nuisance, repairing other issues that resulted from you trying to fix the horn could be far more.

Regardless of whether you choose to fix the horn yourself or use the services of a professional, remember that while the car horn isn’t necessary to your vehicle’s ability to drive, it is an extremely important part that is legally required to have so do not delay in getting it fixed.

Warranty Considerations to Keep in Mind

A faulty car horn is the perfect example of an unexpected repair that can lead to a surprising repair cost. While it may seem relatively simple to fix, a car horn can cost as much as $200 on average to repair. Having an effective extended warranty can take away this cost, but it can also take away the costs associated with other electrical repairs.

Extended warranties offer financial protection against repair costs when the cause of that repair being necessary is a covered mechanical breakdown. Many warranty contracts offer coverage for a vehicle’s electrical systems, and whether a horn is included in that depends on the terms of the contract. Generally, if it is covered, smaller components such as the horn switch, relay, electrical contact, horn wire, and more will be covered.

Protect Your Vehicle with Endurance

Any issues with a vehicle can quickly give you a headache due to the time it takes to repair and the cost associated with the fix. Fortunately, an effective extended warranty (more accurately called a vehicle service contract or VSC) can take away concerns regarding repair costs by covering that expense. The customizable VSCs offered by Endurance provide contract holders with a slew of coverage ranging from basic stated coverage to near bumper-to-bumper coverage.

Regardless of the type of warranty contract you choose, major components such as the engine, transmission, and air conditioning are covered. In addition to this, each extended warranty contract comes with Elite Benefits, which offer bonus perks such as 24/7 roadside assistance, up to $1,000 in total loss protection, key fob replacement, and much more.

To learn more about how Endurance can help protect the parts under your hood, call our award-winning customer experience team at (800) 253-8203 to request a FREE quote. You can also shop online now to get an instant price quote.

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