What to do with a temperamental horn...

Dear Car Talk

Dear Car Talk | Sep 01, 1991

Dear Tom and Ray:

I have a very temperamental horn in my 1986 Plymouth Horizon. When I need it most, the horn just will not blow. All I get is a clicking sound under the dashboard. Then, at times, if I'm only testing it, it works perfectly. I can find no pattern for its erratic behavior. I'm afraid this situation is dangerous. What should I do?

RAY: You're right, Anne, this situation is dangerous. What if you saw a "Honk If You Love Wayne Newton" bumper sticker, and weren't able to respond?

TOM: Seriously, the horn is a very important safety device. That's why most states make you prove that your horn works in order to pass inspection.

RAY: Luckily, Anne, you've given us the information we need to know what's wrong. The clicking sound you describe is the horn re?lay underneath the dashboard. The fact that it clicks means that the horn contacts in your steering wheel are fine, and the relay is working as it should--that's the clicking.

TOM: All this tells us that the horn itself is the part that's malfunctioning. And your best bet is to simply replace it. The job will cost you less than $50 including labor, taxes, gratuities, dealer prep, destination charges, and valet parking.

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