My horn beeps spontaneously, make it stop!

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Jan 01, 1990

Dear Tom and Ray:

Please help! I have a 1982 Buick Electra. Anytime the weather is 25 degrees or colder, my horn will start to blow between two and four in the morning. This is causing me a great deal of embarrassment. What's your advice?

RAY: Well, our first piece of advice is to make sure you're not somewhere you shouldn't be between two and four in the morning. A man standing in his pajamas in 25 degree weather next to a car with a stuck horn is bound to attract unwanted attention.

TOM: Our second piece of advice is to park this car in a heated garage until you get it fixed. My guess is that your problem is related to the cold weather. The first possibility is that the cold is causing the horn contacts in the steering wheel to contract and touch. When they touch, that signals the horn relay to close. When the relay closes, the horn blows.

RAY: If you don't believe things contract when they get cold, Dom, reach into your swim trunks next time you go into the ocean for a swim.

TOM: The other possibility is that the cold is acting directly upon the relay itself, and causing it to close. I'd start by replacing the relay for $10. If that doesn't work, have your mechanic remove the steering wheel and "adjust" the contacts.

RAY: If both of those measures fail, perhaps you can get a job driving around waking up the town's milkmen.

Get the Car Talk Newsletter

Got a question about your car?

Ask Someone Who Owns One