So your car horn is broken…
But what should you do?
While a skilled mechanic can troubleshoot the issue and fix it within a short amount of time, you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
Believe it or not, horns function in a really simple way. There are only a number of problems that can go wrong with your horn.
Consider this article your golden resource for repairing car horns. If you found the information here useful, please feel free to bookmark this site. We cover a wide range of car repair articles for you to save both money and frustration.
Today you’ll learn:
- The 4 biggest reasons car horns fail (and how to fix them)
- What tools you need to fix your car’s horn on your own
- What replacement parts you’ll need to fix your horn
- How to take off and replace your broken car horn
Top 4 Common horn problems
The first thing we should talk about are common problems that happen overtime to car horns.
Like i mentioned in the beginning, there are only so many issues that could happen to a horn. Here are a few:
Consider yourself lucky if this is your problem. A blown fuse is something that can be fixed as easily as replacing the charging cable for your mobile phone.
So how do you know if a horn fuse is broken?
First of all, you have to locate which fuse is for your horn. Refer to HowaCarWorks’ epic guide on checking and replacing fuses for further instruction.
Once you find the fuse that is for your horn, take it out and hold it up to the light. Carefully look at the thin wire path inside the fuse. If it is solid and connected, your fuse is fine. If the line is broken at a certain point, your fuse is busted.
After that, all you have to do is order a new replacement fuse and you should be set.
Another common problem is a bad relay. You’ll find your horn relay in a similar spot as your horn fuse.
There are no visual indicators to show that your relay is broken, but you can test if they still work by following this method. You’ll need a multimeter. You can pick a good one for $10 that will get the job done here. You can also test if the relay is broken by disconnecting the actual horn module from your car and having someone honk the horn. Listen for a clicking noise from your relay. Usually when it clicks the really is still working.
Your actual horn is broken
You can test if the actual horn in your car is broken by hooking up an electrical current to it.
It will help to have an electrical probe that will help you access the positive end of your horn without damaging the wire. Just connect the probe to the positive of your horn and connect the negative to the ground terminal on your car’s battery. If you hear no noise, you’ll have to replace your horn.
The horn button (or steering column wiring) is broken
The electrical connection in your steering column could be your issue. If everything else I’ve mentioned checked out fine, this is a very possible cause.
The video above explains how to fix this issue at about the 2-minute-14-second mark.
Tools you’ll need:
- This is always a useful tool to have in your garage anyway. It will help you measure current and test if a circuit is complete.
- Socket wrench
- If you have to replace the actual horn module inside your car, this is a must. The size of socket varies depending on what bolts your car has. Try to purchase a socket extension while you’re at. It’ll make reaching into your car much easier.
Materials you’ll need:
>> Important: Please make sure to read the common horn problems above. The materials you need are completely dependent on your issue. Luckily, a broken car horn is pretty easy to diagnose (most of the time).
- Car horn
- Only buy this if you are certain that your car’s current horn is busted. Be sure you buy a horn that will work flawlessly with your car. Amazon has an awesome ‘Your Garage‘ section where you can enter the make and model of your car and you’ll be able to instantly find any sort of car part imaginable for your vehicle.
- If your horn fuse is kaput, a replacement fuse only makes sense. These are super cheap and are extremely easy to install.
- Horn relay
- Relays are just as easy to replace as fuses. If your relay is broken, you’ll need this.
- 16-gauge wire
- If you have determined any issue in your car horn that will require re-wiring, you’ll need some pretty thick-gauge wire. 16-gauge is good. Don’t settle for anything much thinner that that; It could possibly overheat and melt otherwise.
Replacing a car horn
Once you have all of your tools and materials together, it’s time to replace the horn.
Locate where your car’s horn/s are. You should find them around the area of your car’s radiator. Reference the picture on the left for what they should look like.
There are more than one horn on most modern cars. Usually they’ll be a low and high-tone horn. Make sure to buy appropriately-toned horns for your car.
Replacing them is relatively simple. You’ll have to unbolt and unwire them. This is a big reason why a socket extension is so helpful. It takes a lot of the stress out of replacing horns by making it easier to reach inside the car.
After you take off your broken horn/s, it’s good practice to check the voltage that was being sent to each horn. With a quick multimeter test, 12 volts should be going to each horn when you honk. If not, you’ve got an electrical problem.
Another trick to validate your horn being broken is to test the continuity with a multimeter. Turn your multimeter to continuity mode and put the positive probe on the positive end of the horn and the negative probe to the negative end of the horn. If your multimeter doesn’t beep, it means that there is no completed circuit and the horn is broken for sure.
Thanks for reading!
If you have any questions whatsoever about replacing or troubleshooting car horns, drop a comment down below and I’ll be sure to help.
Feel free to leave any helpful tips you have for replacing car horns in the comment section as well!