Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

2002 Acura MDX, horn & cruise control stopped working!

The horn and cruise control stopped working on my 2002 Acura MDX (123k miles). The fuse box doesn’t contain a fuse for either, only a relay for the horn. I read somewhere that it could be the contact ring on the steering wheel. The volume buttons on the steering wheel are sill operating properly as well as all other electronic featues in the vehicle. I’m hoping someone can point me in the proper direction to fix this, short of spending $$$ at the dealership.

Most vehicles have more than one fuse block, often under the hood and under the dash. Are you sure you have found all the fuses on your MDX?

Thanks for your thoughts. I took another look at the car and manual. As it turns out, there are 4 fuse boxes in the '02 MDX, 2 under the hood and 2 in the passenger compartment. The horn fuse sits in a seperate fuse holder above the interior drivers-side fuse panel! Unfortunately, the horn fuse was fine as was the cruise control fuse. One final detail – I’m not sure if the horn and cruise control stopped working at the same time. Any other thoughts?

While you say the fuses are fine, until you swap them with known good fuses you can’t be certain. I have seen many a fuse look good but be blown anyway.

If the fuses check out OK, then ask yourself - has any work been done under the hood or dashboard recently? The horn is an especially simple circuit and there is usually a simple solution to a failure there. If its not a fuse it is often a disconnected wire, and if someone’s been stirring around under the hood that could do it.

I did swap out the horn fuse with a spare (just to be safe). I haven’t done the same with the cruise control, but I will! Nobody’s been stirring under the dashboard or hood. The power steering belt was replace a few months back, but that was it.

I’m wondering if it would make sense to get my volt/amp meter out to test whether there is be a change in voltage if I connect to the relay contacts and press on the horn. Is this a reasonable thing to try? (I’m not a mechanic!) Alternatively, maybe I could test the contact right at the horn. Thoughts?

Are The Horn And Cruise Control Both Located On The Steering wheel?

If they are, you could have a problem with the “clock spring” (not a real spring and for a clock). It is a coil designed to allow those two accessories to maintain electrical continuity when the steering wheel turns.

Wires in the wheel/column could be bad. Do you have tilt steering? Have you tried changing its position and then checking?

Air bag light on?


I agree with CSA that this is very possibly the clock spring.

If we are correct, you should be aware that replacement of this part means that you will be working in very close proximity to the airbag, and this is not something for an amateur mechanic to tackle unless you have experience working around airbags. I’m sure that you don’t want that thing firing in your face while you are working in that vicinity.

Yes, I have a tilt wheel. I tried the horn with the tilt in a few different positions along with turning the steering wheel to a few different positions. Still no horn.

The steering wheel contains the horn, cruise control, and stereo volume and selection button. The stereo volume and selection buttons still work, but I’m now recalling a few instances where the down volume button was turning up the stereo! This happened on two occasions a few months back. It sounds like this could be due to a faulty clock spring, correct?

The airbag “not operating light” is not on; however, it comes on every blue moon for a short period of time indicating it is not on/ready.

I’m far from considering myself to be an amateur mechanic! Not even close! So I wouldn’t attempt this myself. Would a typical mechanic be able to handle this or is this something I should have Acura do? What are your thoughts?