Car Maintenance And Repairs

What Should You Do If Car Horn Not Working?

Mike Cross
Updated May 16, 2021
What Should You Do If Car Horn Is Not Working

Your car's horn is a safety feature built into the car to help get others drivers attention if they start to get into your lane, or in other situations to warn people around you of your presence to prevent wrecks or injury.

This is why it is important for you to have a functioning horn. Sometimes though your horn may stop working. Normally there are a few possible problems if this happens. Continue reading to learn what these problems are and also solutions for them.

What Should You Do If Car Horn Is Not Working
What Should You Do If Car Horn Is Not Working

Horn Location

The horn is located under the hood, normally behind the grill, and is connected to the battery with wires and some fuses.

Since the horn is under the hood, it gets a lot of vibration, and even rocks and debris can kick up into the horn area.

The way the horn works is when you press the horn it causes the diaphragm to vibrate, and this emits the sound of the horn.

If power is not getting to the horn, then the diaphragm can't vibrate when you press the horn. There are many reasons why power may not be getting to the horn though.

Bad Fuse or Relay

One of the most common reasons why a horn may not be getting power is there might be a blown a fuse or relay.

The fuse and relay are both located under the hood in the fuse box which is normally by the battery. The fuse is simple a little wire covered in plastic that completes the circuit.

The purpose of the fuse or relay is to protect the horn itself if a surge happens and it blows instead of causing damage to the horn.

To test the fuse or relay, you can pull the old one and replace it with a matching one. You don't even have to buy a new one at.

First, you can use a different one that is already in there. If you get the horn to sound by replacing the fuse or relay with the spare, then you know that is the problem, and then you can buy a new one.

To figure out which fuse and or relays go to the horn, you can look at the diagram that is normally on the inside of the lid of the fuse box or look in your car's manual.

The circuit could have a break or short somewhere outside of the fuse box between the horn and the battery

The next possible reason why your horn may not be working is the circuit could have a break or short somewhere outside of the fuse box between the horn and the battery.

To test this, you can make a fused jumper. All you have to do is get a wire with two clamps on it. Connect one to the terminal on the horn and then touch the other to the positive side of the battery.

If this emits a sound, then you know the horn still works and that the problem lies between the battery and the horn. If this doesn't work, then the problem may be inside the horn.

Faulty Horn

Faulty Horn
Faulty Horn

If the horn does not sound when skipping the fuse, then you need to remove the horn to go deeper into finding the problem.

The problem could still be something simple, such as dirty and rust being built upon the horn. Like it has been noted, since the horn sites under the hood, it can get dirty and wet.

The first thing to do once you have the horn out is to clean all the connection. You want to scrub and remove all the rust you can, but you don't want to submerge the horn. Then, you can connect the horn directly to the battery and see if it is fixed.

If it is fixed, then great, you can stick it back into the car, and your problems should be solved. If it isn't fixed, however, then you will need to do deeper repairs.

If the horn you have is riveted together, then it can not be repaired, and you must buy a new one.

If it isn't riveted together though, then you can take it apart and see if the horn has a broken wire inside or a fault in it. Once you have the horn open, you can look at the cables and visually inspect them. Any problem ones should be noticeable to you.

If you find a broken one, you can replace it and then put the horn back together.

This should get it working again. If you don't see any visible issues, then you can use a test lamp and connect it to different spots and put some power thru the wires.

If the bulb lights up, then it is fine, but if it doesn't, then you know that is the bad wire. If you can't find any cables that are bad, but it is still not working, then you might have to call it quits at this point and buy a new horn.

Bad Switch

So, now that you have a working horn, what do you do if it still doesn't want to work when it is in the car, and you press the button?

Well, this is a sign of a bad switch or bad wires connecting the switch to the horn. To fix this, you will have to go inside of your steering will and check the cables and switches.

If you have checked everything with the horn though, and know that it works, then this is the last area that could be a problem. Replacing the horn switch is pretty easy, but you need to make sure your horn works before you can ever know if the switch is bad.

If it isn't the horn switch in the wheel, then you also need to check the clock spring below the wheel because this can cause a horn not to function as well.


Having a functioning horn is important because it prevents wrecks, but since the horn is located in an area where the elements can get to it, it may stop working out of the blue. The simplest fix and thing you should do first is checking the fuse and relay. If that doesn't solve the problem, then test the horn with a fused jumper.

Then once you know if it is the wiring in the car or the horn itself that is bad you can figure out the next steps. If it is the wiring from the vehicle to the horn, then you need to test the wires till you find the bad one, but if it is the horn that is bad, then you can take it out and clean it.

Cleaning might fix it, but you might also have to open the horn up and replace a wire on the inside. Lastly, once you know you have a working horn, if it still isn't working, then you need to check the horn switch in the wheel and the clock spring below the wheel. These simple tips will help you figure out why your horn isn't working and if it needs to be replaced or not.

Mike Cross
Life is too short to drive with stock audio

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3 comments on “What Should You Do If Car Horn Not Working?”

  1. OK guys got mk6 tdi cr 1.6, added mfsw using correct clock ring and module, horn worked fine and so does the mfsw, after about 3 mths horn stopped working, checked horn direct to battery sounded, changed steering back, clock ring and module, no sound, fuse 17 fine, told relays 646 brought new, no sound, put mfsw back on works fine, no horn, any ideas and r 646 correct relays, vw no help just say book it in, it's a Ls10 plate, live Woking if able to help with payment, or know good place to take thanks.

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