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

2015 Subaru Forester - New horn for $500

My horn only works when I use the key fob. Dealer charged me over $500. to “replace the harness” - is that reasonable?

1 Like

I guess I am having comprehension trouble today. Why the new harness ? Was that fix the horn and does it not work now except by the remote . And why did you not ask the shop that did the work what was wrong.

Oops - I’m not a car person and may not have been clear. The new harness did fix the horn so that now it works both with the remote & by pressing the steering wheel.

The shop was the Albuquerque Subaru dealer - and I did ask what was wrong, and why it would cost me $500. The service guy told me that the harness needed to be replaced, that the part alone cost $370, and then evaded my further questions.

In hindsight, of course, I now realize that I should have asked for the broken part to be returned to me, but at the time, I was thinking that having a horn is a safety issue, (although NM does not have yearly inspections!) and that, since they had already taken the steering column apart - and they (just happened) to have the necessary part in stock, I should get the job done.

But I was stewing over it & when Subaru emailed me the typical “how was our service” survey, I wrote what I probably should have said at the shop.

Anyway - the horn works, I’m out $500, and no one ever responded to my email.

So then I found this website.

Any suggestion you might offer would be appreciated.

OK , the final price sounds fair for a dealer shop so you really don’t have a valid complaint.

1 Like

Replacing a wiring harness in a vehicle can cost thousand of dollars. For what you paid I think that the clockspring or spiral cable was replaced and it seems that they only charged you for one hour of labor. The clockspring is the wiring assembly in the steering column.
So in reaction to a successful repair you returned a negative survey? That might be taken into consideration the next time your car needs a repair and you ask for a discount.


As a fellow Subaru Forester owner I feel your pain. Does yours burn oil, or are you in the lucky category?

Get a lawyer to make that dealer wish he’d never been born.

Thank you! I’m getting very different info/advice from this community and I appreciate all of it.

It’s good to know that the problem with the horn is not all that unusual.

No, no burning oil - yet.

It’s a 2015 with less than 80,000 miles - should I expect a problem?

The owner brought the vehicle to the dealer to be repaired, the vehicle was repaired, why is a lawyer needed? Hired a lawyer to negotiate a better price on the repair?


Because the service advisor wouldn’t give the OP a straight answer of what was done. I would have knocked his teeth down his throat, but I’m an excitable guy.

1 Like

The customer failed to understand the needed repair so you respond with violence and retain a lawyer.

1 Like

I’m not a people person. :slightly_smiling_face:

1 Like

I presume you mean the problem you had is it didn’t honk when your pressed the button on the steering wheel. That’s a fairly common problem. The button on the steering wheel (I’m admittedly guessing a little here, not a Subie expert) is connected to a wire that goes to the horn relay in the engine compartment. Since the steering wheel turns, its necessary to use a specialized flexible wiring gizmo so when you turn the steering wheel the wire doesn’t break right away. But as you’ve discovered it can still eventually break. When that happens that flexible wiring gizmo (mechanics call this a “clockspring”) must be replaced. $500 for that job is reasonable for newer cars. On the other hand years ago the horn stopped working on my 1970’s truck, and fixing that cost less than $5. Why so cheap? It doesn’t use the clock-spring method.

I suppose the whole wiring harness could be bypassed. The horn button in the center of the steering wheel quit working. I ran a wire from the horn relay to an auxiliary button I mounted on the sides of the steering column and then grounded the other side of the switch to a screw in the dashboard. When the button was pushed on the steering column, the relay circuit was closed and the horn sounded. I think this same system would work today if one did not care about appearance. This repair could be done for a lot less than $500.
However, a dealer would want to do the correct repair. Most customers would like the horn to be sounded as the manufacturer intended. In this case $500 doesn’t seem out of line to me.
Just be glad you don’t have the problem Jack Benny has where The Horn Blows At Midnight.

You would have chosen to make yourself subject to arrest for assault & battery because you didn’t like someone’s explanation? I suggest counseling for what appears to be an anger management problem.

1 Like

Saul Goodman wouldn’t take that case. She brought the car in to be fixed. They fixed it. Where’s the problem here?

1 Like

wish OP would change title to “replaced 500 wire harness to fix horn issue”?
vs, my horn cost 500. must be a mercedes horn?

Thanks to everyone who responded, but especially George_San_Jose1 and Triedaq -

I appreciate all your insights. It’s good to know that there are people out there who can clearly explain such things without getting into lingo or jargon.

So of course I had to look up the Jack Benny “Horn Blows at Midnight” reference - excellent!


@MargaretDiBella. The movie “The Horn Blows at Midnight” was really bad. Jack Benny, who was the star of the movie, made fun of it in his radio and television shows.
Jack Benny was one of my favourite comedians. To keep.thid car related, the automobile he drove was a Maxwell.