Car Horn Repair Tips

Car horn not working properly? Here's how to troubleshoot and pinpoint the problem.

FH11MAR_516_13_019-1200 car hornFamily Handyman

Required Materials for DIY Car Horn Repair

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s the list:

  • 16-gauge wire
  • Clamps
  • In-line fuse holder

Connect a Fused Jumper

Vehicle horns sit up front where they’re exposed to rain and road chemicals. Once that spray gets into the horn’s innards, it can short out the coil and kill the vehicle horn (and blow the fuse in the process). But an inoperative car horn can also be caused by a bad horn switch in your steering wheel, a broken “clock spring” under the steering wheel, a bum horn relay, a broken wire, or a corroded ground. Here’s how to check the most likely suspects:

  • Start by checking the fuse. Refer to the owner’s manual for its location. (Here are additional tips on changing car fuses.) If the fuse blows, you’ve got a bum horn.
  • If the fuse is good, jump power directly to the car horn with a homemade fused jumper (photo). If the horn makes a clicking sound, the problem could be a poor ground connection.
  • Clean the horn’s ground connection and try powering the horn again. If the horn still clicks, you’ll have to replace it.

FH11MAR_516_13_020-1200 car hornFamily Handyman

Check the Relay

If the car horn works with jumped power, the problem lies upstream. Before you waste time searching for a broken wire, try swapping out the vehicle horn relay. If the relay works, you’re looking at a much bigger problem and should take your vehicle in to a pro mechanic.

If you’ve got car battery problems, watch the video below on tips on how to replace a car battery.