Ever banged your horn expecting a blare but heard nothing? Not many things hurt more than your horn going AWOL on you, right? If you’ve never been in these shoes before, I hate to be a prophet of doom, but your car will inevitably develop faults as it ages. And car horns are not exempt.
In this post, we've compiled a list of the seven most common car horn issues you can encounter and their causes. But just before we jump into that, let’s see how you can tell that it’s a case of a bad horn or something else.
How to Test Your Car Horn
Although the whole process of testing a car horn may seem daunting to the uninitiated, it’s not rocket science. And learning to do this test will help you know if the problem lies in the horn or elsewhere. To diagnose your car's faulty horn, you'll need your car battery and two alligator clips. If you don't already have alligator clips, go get a pair from the nearest auto parts store.
Step 1. Open the car bonnet and locate the horn. You will find it behind the bumper cover, attached to the radiator core support. For easy access, you will likely have to unscrew your bumper from the fenders.
Step 2. Remove the two wires connected to the horn and ensure you keep them apart. Separating the wires and keeping them from touching each other apart is crucial.
Step 3. Take an alligator clip and connect one end to one of the horn terminals and the other end to one of the battery terminals. Repeat this process with the second alligator clip. The instant the end of the second clip touches the second battery terminal, they should blare. If the horn doesn't make any sound after setting up this connection, it is a giveaway that the horn has gone bad.
7 Most Common Car Horn Issues (and What Causes Them)
There are several reasons why your car horn doesn’t let off any sound. If your car horn isn’t working, it could be that the horn itself is faulty, the clock spring placed behind the steering wheel is bad, or for some other reasons. Here’s a rundown of possible issues and their causes.
1. Blown Fuse
A blown fuse is often the cause of horn malfunction. Horns depend on electric power to function. If the fuse is blown, then electricity can’t get through. Consequently, the horn won’t work. Possible causes include an overloaded circuit, a short circuit, damaged wiring, or a damaged electrical outlet. To confirm if your fuse is bad, you need to check your car’s fuse box.
2. Bad Relay
The horn relay is an electronic component that is part of the car’s horn circuit. If you find the horn fuse to be optimal, then it’s highly likely that the issue is with a defective relay. Unfortunately, you cannot inspect your relay visually. However, almost all relays are identical. So if you suspect that it may have gone bad, simply swap one for the other and then honk your horn to see if it responds.
3. Faulty Horn Switch
This is a switch located in the area where the horn is honked. Most cars have this in the steering wheel alongside the airbags and other electronics. It is best to visit a technician if this seems to be the issue. In short, you shouldn’t tamper with these components lest you set off the airbag unknowingly.
4. Airbag Issue
Horn malfunction could also be an issue caused by an expanded airbag. This can meddle with the car horn system causing it to fail. If you think this is the situation in your case, it should be easy to tell since the airbag dashboard light would probably be on.
5. Faulty Clock Spring
A clock spring is a device installed behind your steering wheel that allows the airbag and horn wires to stay connected when you rotate the steering wheel. Many times, the clock spring is the problem.
6. Damaged Wire
Sometimes, a damaged wire might be the issue. In such cases, you only need to wipe the wire connector clean and reconnect it.
7. Defective Horn
Lastly, if the issues listed above don’t seem to be the problem, then it could be that the horn itself is defective.
More often than not, these issues are more electrical than technical, as we can see from the post. For further electrical problems that might occur in your car, refer to this article to ensure you are not caught unaware.
When car horn issues arise, you will be tempted to pass on or delay the repair. After all, it's just the car horn and not a critical part like, say, the breaks, right? Allow me to remind you that a car horn is a safety feature built into cars to call other drivers and road users' attention to prevent accidents and road-related injuries. In short, your car horn is critical for safety. And so, if it ever develops a fault, you want to fix it ASAP.
When you can’t identify the issue with your car horn from the problems explained above, waste no more time and visit a reputable technician straightaway. Can’t find an auto technician? Access our Directory at once and locate the car professional you need. And don’t forget to key in your city or zip code to narrow down your search to those nearest you.
For more helpful tips on how to manage your car, please don’t hesitate to visit our blog.
By Damilare Olasinde