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How to fix a car horn and what it will cost

A working horn on any vehicle is crucial for any roadworthy vehicle. The horn’s purpose is to alert other drivers or pedestrians of the vehicle’s presence and helps to avoid potential accidents and collisions. Fixing a non-working car horn on any car is a fairly simple process but diagnosis of the fault is necessary to get the most accurate quote for fixing your car’s horn.

Cost to Fix a Car Horn

Fixing a faulty car horn can cost anywhere from a few quid to over £100, depending on the fault and who carries out the repair. For example, it will only cost around £3 to fix a blown fuse yourself. On the other hand, if you need a new horn and go to a dealer it can cost £125 or more to fix your car horn.

What does diagnose cost to see why the horn isn’t working?

If your horn doesn't work, the first step is to figure out what's wrong with it. You can either check the fuse and relay to try and diagnose the problem yourself or take your car into the shop.

Nimblefins spoke to several independent garages to get a price including VAT for diagnosis of a BMW vehicle to verify the faulty horn. It costs in the region of £50 to £85 to diagnose a broken car horn.

Average cost to diagnose a car horn that doesn't work
London£85
Manchester£60
Glasgow£50

If you want to try diagnosing the problem yourself you can examine the fuse and relay, as they are common causes of a non-functioning horn.

1) Check the fuse

It is very important that, prior to starting work with the fuse box of your car, you must turn the car’s engine off and take the keys out of the ignition—running electricity could potentially shock or electrocute you so this step is vital.

You can find out the location of your vehicle’s fuse box in the owner’s manual. With majority of cars you will find that the fuse box is located on the dashboard, near the driver’s side. The second fuse box is found in the engine bay of the car. It’s best to start with the more accessible one near on the dashboard. The fuse box in the dashboard may involve removing a panel so you can access it. Look for a small lever on the dashboard that you can tug to open the panel. You might find that with some cars the fuse box is located in the glove compartment.

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.

If you want to leave this to the professionals, it should cost under 20 quid to have an independent garage fix your car's horn fuse.

Average Cost of getting a fuse replaced by an independent garage
London£18.44
Manchester£14.10
Glasgow£7.00

2) The horn might not be working due to a relay fault

Once you’ve checked the fuse and all is well in the fuse box, check the horn relay. The relay is located in the engine compartment fuse box. You can use a multimeter to check for faults or if you prefer, you could simply switch the suspect relay with a good one, but they must be identical.

To do this, you must find another relay on the fuse box that is identical to the horn relay then switch the two relays. If your horn works but the other relay function stops working, then it means that the horn relay was defective. Two things to bear in mind if you are going to check and replace the relay is:

  • Simply looking at the relay will not ascertain whether it has blown
  • It’s important to replace the faulty relay with one that has the same amperage.

Having an independent garage fix your car horn relay will cost anywhere from £42.50 to £125 or more—we found significant regional differences for this repair.

Average Cost for fixing a defective horn relay
London£125
Manchester£42.50
Glasgow£63.00

Once a new relay has been fitted in the place of the faulty one, test the horn to see if it is working. If the horn is still not working, then the actual horn may need replacing.

How to replace a faulty car horn

If you think your car needs a new horn, you can either go to the professionals or attempt it yourself. As always, when starting to work on the car, ensure the engine is switched off and the key is taken out of the ignition to prevent shocks and electrocution.

The location of the actual horn part of the car is behind the front grill of the car. To access the horn to replace it, you need to take the grill off. Each car’s grill come off slightly differently, by either detaching clips or brackets that are holding it up. To do this safely, use a screwdriver to wedge into the gap and apply gentle pressure to pull it apart.

Often, you’ll find it easier to take your grill off if you open the bonnet and push the clips or brackets from the inside. If you find the grill has been screwed on, then, one removed, keep the screws safe so you can put them back on after the horn has been replaced. It may be easier to remove your grill by opening the hood so you can push it from the inside.

Some cars may have screws that need to be removed to take the grill off. Keep the screws safe for when you need to put the grill back on.

How to fix your car horn

  • 1) Locate the horn, which looks like a small metal disk with two cables joined to it.
  • 2) The horn might be of the left side or right side of the front screen.
  • 3) Unbolt the connections of the horn and keep them safe
  • 4) Purchase a new horn that is compatible with the make and model of your car
  • 5) Install the new horn to the bolts you took our initially
  • 6) Ensure the horn is secure so it doesn’t move around when you begin to drive
  • 7) Insert the two cables into the new horn before testing it
  • 8) Test the horn
  • 9) Put your grill back on to complete the job

Average Cost to Fit a New Car Horn

Average Cost of having a new horn fitted into your carIndependent GarageDealership
London£89.30£110.87
Manchester£71.48£110.87
Glasgow£70.25£110.87

FAQs

An independent repair shop or a dealer can fix your car horn. Alternatively, if you're mechanically savvy you can follow the steps above to check the fuse and maybe even replace the car horn yourself.
Replacing a blown car horn fuse will cost around £15 at an independent dealer; fixing a relay fault will cost £42 to £125 depending on where you live; and replacing a car horn will cost £70 to £110, depending on what type of repair shop you use.
Fixing your car horn yourself might interfere with the car warranty if your car is still in the warranty period—and besides, if your car is still in warranty then the dealer should cover a faulty horn. However, if you're mechanically inclined and your car is older then you might save by trying to fix the car horn yourself.

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