Can Bill replace the wimpy horn on his '05 Civic, with something a little more manly?

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Aug 01, 2006

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a 2005 Honda Civic EX special edition. It gets great mileage and looks sporty, though is rather tame. However, it has a positively wimpy horn. The horn is so bad that I am embarrassed to blow it, ever. I have talked to several Honda dealers, and they are not really helpful. I would be happy to replace it with a Honda Odyssey or Accord horn, or something that sounds more substantial, but the dealer service departments seem at a loss. Do I need to find some car specialty shop and buy an aftermarket horn, or is there hope within the Honda dealerships? -- Bill

RAY: Well, the dealerships generally don't like to do things out of the ordinary. Especially things that involve spit and chewing gum. But this can be done, Bill.

TOM: It's actually easy to do. If the dealer won't do it for you, I'm sure you can find another shop that will. All car horns are essentially the same. They all run on 12 volts, and they're all approximately 4 inches in diameter.

RAY: So, all you need to do is find a car whose horn you like the sound of, and then go to that dealership's parts department and buy a horn.

TOM: Or just wait 'til it's dark and make a swap!

RAY: Any decent mechanic can make the switch for you, Bill. He'll have to improvise a bit to mount the new horn in there, because the brackets probably won't match exactly. But it's not a big deal. There's plenty of room near the horn, and you won't do any damage to any other part of the car, mechanical or electrical.

TOM: But before you do this, compare your horn with another '05 Civic. It's possible that yours just isn't working right. A car's "horn" is actually made up of two horns: one high, and one low. When they blow at the same time, they create the familiar dissonant, obnoxious sound we all know and love. And maybe one of your two horns isn't working for some reason. Maybe a wire fell off.

RAY: But if your horn works, and you just don't like it, go out and get yourself a nice, Chevy Tahoe horn, Bill, and live it up.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One