Car horn switches, or buttons, are typically mounted in the steering wheel. Some steering wheel buttons are mounted off to the side of the steering wheel, but most are located directly in the middle of the wheel.
Most horn switches are normally open, which means they only close when the button is pressed. Generally, when the horn switch is depressed, the horn relay is grounded, allowing power to flow through the relay to the horn assembly.
When the horn switch is not working properly, the horn may not sound and this could be hazardous. This is why faulty horn switches should be replaced as soon as possible.
- Warning: Most modern vehicles have the horn switch attached to the top of the airbag shroud. If handled improperly, the airbag can deploy with lethal force. For this reason, only trained professionals should attempt horn switch repair on airbag-equipped vehicles. Do not attempt to do it yourself if this applies to your vehicle.
Part 1 of 2: Removing the old horn switch
In order to safely and efficiently replace your horn switch, you will need a couple of basic tools.
- New horn switch
- Phillips head screwdriver
- Protective gloves
- Repair manuals (optional); you can buy these through Chilton, or Autozone provides them online for free for certain makes and models
- Safety glasses
- Small flathead screwdriver
Step 1: Disconnect the battery. Disconnect the negative battery cable and set it aside.
Step 2: Remove the screws on the sides of the steering wheel. Usually, these will be found behind plastic covers that will need to be popped off using a small flathead screwdriver.
Step 3: Disconnect the wire leads. Partially lift the horn button off the steering wheel and disconnect the wire leads.
Step 4: Remove the horn button. Once the wire leads have been disconnected, lift the horn button off the steering wheel completely.
Part 2 of 2: Installing the new horn switch
Step 1: Mount the new horn switch. Loosely place the new horn switch in position on the steering wheel.
Step 2: Reconnect the wire leads. Reinstall any electrical connections into the horn switch and put the switch fully into place on the steering wheel.
Step 3: Replace the screws. Using the appropriate screwdriver, reinstall the screws on each side of the steering wheel.
Step 4: Reconnect the battery. Reconnect the negative battery cable and tighten it down.
You should now have a nice, new horn switch installed. If this seems like something you’d prefer to leave to a professional, the certified mechanics at YourMechanic offer expert horn switch replacement service.
This article originally appeared on YourMechanic.com as How to Replace a Horn Switch and was authored by Mia Bevacqua.