Troubleshooting Guide: Why is My Car Making a Horn Noise?

You are in the traffic, waiting for the green signal. It’s good-to-go time, and suddenly, you hear your car creating a faint horn-like sound. Now, you recall that you haven’t hit any bumps while driving. Yet that sound gradually goes away leaving a web of confusion. In this article, I will discuss “Why is my car making a horn noise?” to remove your dilemma.

More precisely, your car has horns but dims slowly or honks unusually. Without horns, there is almost zero chance to hear the horn noise. Well, there could be a blown fuse, faulty relay, wiring issues, bad horn switch, or a broken clock spring. Even a poor ground connection or a problem with the airbag interfering with the clock spring can cause the horn to malfunction.

Sounds right, I guess. Likewise, I suggest you continue reading the article to explore the reasons further. I will explain all possible causes of horn noise in any vehicle.

Types of Noise from a Car Horn

For sure, the horn is not any strange component in your car. I have seen people mainly using electric horns that run on battery. But they can produce a loud, piercing sound. Hence, the horn alerts other drivers to make them aware of your vehicle.

In a horn system, you can find an electric coil, a thin metal disc, and a series of connections between them. When you press the horn button, current flows through the coil. It creates an electric field that pulls the disc. This process results in vibrations that we perceive as the sound of the horn.

Some common types of horn noises are (1,2,3):

  • Weak or faint
  • Inconsistent or sporadic
  • Loud or harsh
  • No sound

The Reasons Why Your Car Making a Horn Noise (with Solutions)

Some reports on car making horn noise are like these:

  • “My car is making a horn like noise by the engine when idle, once I accelerate the noise goes away.” (4).
  • “My car makes this “humming” or “Fog Horn” type noise…” (5). 
  • “When l start my car and put it in drive l hear this horn noise coming from my back tires…” (6).
  • “…there is a disturbing noise from the engine/turbo area.” (7).

The notable thing is “Why is my car making a horn noise?”, it refers to a horn issue that may appear unexpectedly. Either it is an existing horn issue or something your car faces that is creating a noise that sounds like a horn. Let’s learn the reasons for car horn noise or a noisy horn:

A Bad or Faulty Horn Switch

Over time, the horn switch wears out or accumulates dust and debris. Particularly when you leave the car in the basement for a long time. As a result, you may hear weak or inconsistent horn signals.


If you want to test a faulty horn switch, check the fuse. Typically, a fuse lies in the engine bay fuse panel (8). The fault can be with the horn button or the actual horn if the fuse is in good condition.

You may use a multimeter to test the fuse. Suppose the multimeter reads “Out of limits (OL)”. Then, it indicates no continuity, and the fuse is blown (9).

You may also connect a test lamp between various points and the earth and press the button to test the horn button. If there is power, the lamp will light (10). If the horn works in some steering wheel positions but not others, the clock spring might be to blame (11).

A Faulty Horn Relay

If you hear your car making a horn noise, then there can be issues with the horn relay. Well, a horn relay works as a medium between your horn button and the actual horn. Its main function is transferring an electrical signal to the horn once you press the button. When it gets defective, you may hear a horn-like noise, a clicking sound from the relay (12).

In some cases, the horn might sound noticeably quieter. It may indicate a potential issue with the horn or the relay if the vehicle has multiple units (13). Some other possible reasons can be no power getting to the circuit, a broken connection, or bad ground (14).


Press the horn to hear a clicking sound. You may need to replace the relay if the sound does not happen. To test a relay, you can take the multimeter. Hence, there is nothing to worry about if the meter shows readings when you press the horn. If you find the relay faulty, replace it soon. Also, ensure that the relay socket is not corroded or damaged.

A Blown Horn Fuse

In my view, it’s like a guardian for the horn’s electrical system. If the fuse blows, your horn won’t work at all. Even when you hear horn noise or mild horn sound, a primary reason can be the blown horn fuse. Some symptoms of a blown fuse are power door locks not cycling, power windows not going up or down, heater fans not working, and power outlets not functioning (15).


You can start by locating the fuse box in your vehicle to troubleshoot a blown fuse. You may check the owner manual for the precise location. Then, find the fuse for the horn. If you get a broken, or burnt metal strip inside, consider it is blown. You need to replace it now. After replacing it, test the horn to see if it works properly.

Faulty Horn

Remember, I started with traffic and sudden horn noise. Well, if the above reasons are not valid for your car, the utmost reason is the horn itself is faulty. You may hear a change in the tone of the horn, like reduced or increased sound pitch.


If the horn works in some steering wheel positions but not others, it indicates a problem with the clock spring (11). Sometimes corroded or worn-out connectors, broken wire, broken clock springs, or a bad horn button are relevant issues with a faulty horn. If these things are fine, you need to replace the horn to avoid horn noise.

Corroded or Damaged Wiring

In any car you drive, the horn on a network of wires to transmit electrical signals. Corroded, frayed, or loose cables can disrupt this flow and weaken horn output. Usually, when moisture enters the vehicle’s electrical and power delivery system, it may penetrate the horn’s wiring.

Again, rodents chew on wires, and wires come loose over time. It can lead to corrosion in the connection of wires (12). Sometimes, battery overcharging may cause decay on the battery terminals. It can affect the wiring and disrupt the functions of the car horn (13).


To solve this problem, inspect the wiring connections near the horn regularly. If you find any damaged wiring, repair or replace it as needed. After all, a little wire maintenance can go a long way in keeping your horn robust and ready.

Costs Associated with Car Horn Repairs

If you have tried the above steps and your horn still isn’t performing well, consult a mechanic. They can diagnose deeper electrical issues and check the relay. Also, they can ensure proper wiring connections.

On average, you may need to spend $85-$190 for horn repair or replacement, though most costs fall at $108-$165 (14, 15). It may include parts and labor, with costs estimated to be $40-$55 (16). On the other hand, the horn cost can be around $70, depending on the type of car (17).

Don’t ignore a weak horn—it’s your voice on the road!

Final Words

Why is my car making a horn noise? You have learned the reasons for the horn noise in a vehicle. Also, I have explained the way you can solve them in this article.

Sporadic or unexpected horn-like sounds may be irritating to you and other drivers. Moreover, it can be a cause of harmful incidents. So, check everything in the horn system, from wiring to battery. For instance, repair or replace the horn switch, relay, fuse, and even the horn itself.

Avoid keeping your car in a moisture condition and maintain its overall health with regular maintenance. I hope that would be enough to prevent unnecessary horn sounds.

Thanks for your precious time.

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