Why some horns blare and others sound whimpy.

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Feb 01, 1999

Dear Tom and Ray:

My question concerns car horns. Why are horns on some cars (mostly wimpy
imports) so wimpy, while the horns on other cars (particularly massive
domestics) are so impressive and powerful? Why can't I just go to the junkyard
and get a nice, robust set of Cadillac horns and put them on my wimpy Nissan
Sentra? That way, when some idiot does something stupid and I blast him for it,
he'll take notice. -- Albert

RAY: Wow, Albert. I can see you're feeling a little unnoticed in the world. And
if that's the case, there's no reason you can't replace your existing horns with
a set of junkyard horns from a Cadillac.

TOM: In fact, you can go down to Key West and replace your horn with a
lighthouse foghorn if you can manage to steal one.

RAY: He's just kidding, folks. We are in no way advocating lighthouse
desecration in this column. Don't write to our editor.

TOM: Manufacturers DO tend to try to match the character of the horn to the
character of the car. But there's no reason you can't change it if your ego
can't handle a wimpy horn.

RAY: But before you make a swap, you might check to be sure both of your horns
are still working. Most cars come with two horns, a high-pitched horn and a low-
pitched horn. They're wired together so they both go off when you press on the
horn button. But a lot of times, one of the horns will die before the other.
That leaves you with only one horn, which could explain a particularly wimpy

TOM: Hey, you know, Albert's letter gives me an idea for my next Ph.D.
dissertation: Correlation of Horn Robusticity to Car Owner Self-Esteem in
Twentieth Century America. I'll get right on it!


Don't let your car grow old before its time! Order Tom and Ray's pamphlet, "Ten
Ways You May Be Ruining Your Car Without Even Knowing It!" Send $3 and a stamped
(55 cents), self-addressed, No. 10 envelope to Ruin, PO Box 6420, Riverton, NJ

?(C) 1999 by Tom and Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman

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