Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls
  1. Home
  2. Articles
  3. Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Horn Relay

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Horn Relay

horn relay

The horn relay is the electronic component that is a part of the vehicle’s horn circuit. It serves as the relay that controls power to the vehicle’s horn. When current is applied to the relay, the horn’s power circuit is completed, allowing the horn to function and ring. Most relays are located in the fuse box underneath the hood. When the relay fails it can leave the vehicle without a functioning horn. Usually a faulty horn relay will produce a few symptoms that can alert the driver of a potential issue.

1. Non-functioning horn

One of the first symptoms of an issue with the horn relay is a non-functioning horn. The horn relay is one of the components responsible for delivering power to the horn circuit. If the relay fails it will leave the horn without any power to function.

2. Clicking sound from the relay

Another symptom of a potential issue with the horn relay is a clicking sound from underneath the hood. A shorted or faulty relay may cause the component to produce a clicking sound when the hood button is pressed. The clicking sound may be a sign that the relay has failed internally, and may also render the horn unuseable.

3. Burning smell from underneath the hood

A burning smell from horn relay is another common symptom of an issue with the relay. If the relay burns out, which is not uncommon, it will produce a burning smell. In more severe cases may even result in the relay burning or melting. The relay will have to be replaced in order for the horn to be returned to full functionality.

As with any electrical component on a vehicle the horn relay can eventually fail and cause issues. If you suspect that your vehicle’s horn relay may be having an issue, have the vehicle inspected by a professional technician, such as one from YourMechanic, to determine if the relay should be replaced.

The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
Still not sure about your car's issue?
Diagnose your car
What kind of issue are you experiencing?
Brakes are squeaking
Car is not starting
Car is overheating
Car is shaking (vibrating)
Fluids are leaking
Heating and A/C
Smoke or steam is coming out of the car
Warning light is on
Icon-warranty_badge-02

Skip the repair shop, our top-rated mechanics come to you.

At your home or office

Choose from 600+ repair, maintenance & diagnostic services. Our top-rated mechanics bring all parts & tools to your location.

Fair & transparent pricing

See labor & parts costs upfront, so you can book with confidence.

12-month, 12,000-mile warranty

Our services are backed by a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty for your peace of mind.

Get A Quote

Need Help With Your Car?

Our certified mobile mechanics make house calls in over 2,000 U.S. cities. Fast, free online quotes for your car repair.

GET A QUOTE

More related articles

How to Transfer a Car Title in Idaho
In order to prove ownership of a car, you must have the title. However, when a car is sold, given away or inherited, the title needs...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...
P0359 OBD-II Trouble Code: Ignition Coil I Primary/Secondary Circuit Malfunction
P0359 code definition The P0359 code indicates that a fault has been detected in one of the vehicle’s ignition coils, generally the number 9 coil. This code can also be associated...


Related questions

Q: My car horn works when I lock the car but not when I push on the steering wheel

Hi there. When locking the vehicle, the antitheft computer beeps the horn to acknowledge the doors locking and the system arming. It sounds like your spiral cable, or clock spring cable, has broken. Are there any other steering wheel functions...

Q: How do I change the radio station using the steering wheel controls?

The steering wheel controls allow you to adjust the sound system without ever taking your hands off of the wheel. The controls are on the back of the steering wheel, with switches on each side. When the radio is on,...

Q: How do I turn quiet start on or off?

When your car is started via the remote start button, the horn will honk to confirm that the vehicle has been started. When the quiet start feature is turned on, the horn will not honk, and the climate control fan...