A car horn may stop working and no longer honks when you press the horn.
If your horn sounds weak, clicks or sounds funny the issue usually is the horn itself. In such cases replacing the horn will fix the problem.
This guide focuses on cases when your car horn does not work at all.
Fixing a horn that doesn't work is relatively easy and there are tests you can perform yourself. To fix your horn, you will need a few basic tools and a digital multimeter.
We also used a retractable test lead by Lang Tools (Part Number 1129) which made this job easy but you can use any electrical wire as a substitute.
Start by examining the horn on your steering wheel. Are you able to press the horn button at all? If you can't push the horn button (in some cases it may be integrated into the driver's airbag), that means there is something wrong with the switch.
This is not a common problem, so don't spend much time here and let's move on to the next step.
If your airbag light came on at the same time that the horn stopped working the problem most likely is a defective clock spring.
One of the most common problems that can cause your horn to stop working is a bad fuse. Check the horn fuse to make sure it's not blown. The fuse box will be either on the side of the dash on the driver's side or in the engine bay.
If you have difficulty locating the fuse box for your particular car model look it up in your owner's manual.
Look at the fuse chart on the back of the fuse cover or the owner's manual. You should see a fuse that says HORN.
Pull the fuse and inspect the wire. If the fuse is blown replace it with a new fuse that has the same rating.
Locate the horn relay. The horn relay is found in the main fuse box located in the engine compartment.
Use your multimeter to test the horn relay.
If you aren't comfortable with testing a relay, you can try this old trick. Find another relay on the fuse box that is identical to the horn relay. Let's say the fog lights relay is identical. Switch the two relays.
If you haven't had any luck with fixing the horn, we need to check if the horn itself is working. Locate the horn which is mounted near the radiator. The horn is usually between the radiator and the front grill. It will help to remove the front grill which is held in place with a couple of screws. Some models may require that you remove the front bumper to get to the horn.
Unplug the electrical wires that go to the horn. Do you have two wires going to the horn or just one?
If your horn has two wires one of them will be brown or black. This is the ground wire. You can connect the horn negative terminal directly to the body of the car or connect it to the battery negative terminal which will serve as our negative feed.
Next, use a +12 volt feed line from the battery positive termnial to the horn. When you touch the horn terminal, you should hear the horn beep.
Watch a video on how to install a new horn if yours doesn't work.
Next, we will check for power at the wires that plug into the horn.
If you don't get any power at this point, check the horn wire harness. Often you will see that the plug itself is corroded.
You may also find that the plug may be loose or disconnected from the socket, as shown in the following picture.
Check the ground connection where the horn mounts to the frame. Often you will see corrosion here. Remove the horn and clean the corrosion. This is important because horns that use only one feed line will use the mounting bracket as the ground connection. If there is corrosion at this point, this may be the reason why your horn doesn't work.
At this point there are two possible issues:
The clock spring may also be the problem. What is a clock spring you may ask.
A clock spring is a device installed right behind your steering wheel. It allows the airbag and horn wires to stay connected even when you rotate the steering wheel.
You will need to remove the steering wheel to replace or test the clock spring. Clock springs can be purchased online for any make and model and are inexpensive.
Clock springs don't need any programming.
We hope that this guide helped you learn how to fix you car horn problem. The majority of car horn not working problems are caused by a defective horn, bad relay, defective clockspring or a blown horn fuse. This article covers most horn related problems. If your horn still doesn't work after following these guide, it may be time to take your car to a mechanic. If that's the case, please come back to this article and add a comment on how your mechanic fixed your horn. That will help future readers like you.
This problem points to a defective clock spring. The airbag light stays on constantly. When the clock spring fails your airbag / SRS light will turn on in your instrument cluster. If you scan the fault codes for the airbag, you may find an error code that points to the driver's airbag. You can use an airbag scanner to retrieve the error codes by plugging it into the OBD-II port. If you don't have an airbag scanner take a look at YOUCANIC article on Top 10 Best Airbag Scanners.
Related airbag module DTC fault codes:
Driver Airbag Circuit Resistance too High
Driver Side Air Bag Circuit High Resistance or Open
Driver airbag squib 2 circuit open
If you have any of these fault codes, you most likely have a bad clock spring. Replace the clock spring, and your horn should be fixed as well.
If your horn fails, you are left without an audible warning system. Therefore you will not be able to alert other drivers or children on the road and therefore you may not be able to avoid an accident.
Driving without a horn is illegal in many states. When you get your car state inspected one of the components that are normally checked is the operation of the horn. If the horn doesn't work you will fail state inspections.
In many states, yes. Check with your state MVA/DMV to verify if disconnecting the car horn is against the law.
To disconnect the horn locate the fuse for the horn in the fuse box. Remove the fuse. The car will still operate normally without a horn. You can also remove the horn relay. You can disconnect the wires from the horn as well. Any of these methods will disconnect your horn and render it inoperable.
To fix a horn that won't stop honking replace the horn relay.
If that doesn't work then most likely the horn button/switch which is part of the airbag is stuck and making continuous contact.
Remove the airbag and inspect it. The last possible cause is a damaged wire harness which could happen if your car was in an accident.