Botched Wire Job Draining My Battery

I bought this okay daily driver for 600 bucks about 9 months ago (was a mom’s minivan). When I got it, it had a bright red switch that was always on installed into my front panel. The light stays on even without the car started. I bought it without asking what it was. Turns out, it’s the horn switch. The Horn on the wheel does not work, but that little switch activates my horn. No big deal I thought, until I realized that it is constantly draining my battery. The wire is plugged directly into the positive terminal on the battery. Is it worth just sniping the wire and having no horn, or do any of you have an idea on how to rewire it?

Thanks for any input,

Probably an after market security thing my guess,

Cut the wire so the battery no longer gets drained.

Then figure out why the horn doesn’t work.



If this wire is feeding something without a fuse, keep in mind that it could start a fire if there’s a short circuit. If this were my car, that would make me nervous.

On another note, if your state has inspections, note that your car might not pass without a working horn.


If the switch is activating the horn it’s not “always on.” If it were the horn would sound constantly. You may have a parasitic drain somewhere–the switch might not be wired correctly–but under normal circumstances a properly wired switch shouldn’t drain the battery.

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Since the light stays on when the switch is activated then it isn’t wired like I thought it was. Perhaps someone ran a complete new path to the horns which supplies power to the horns instead of just making a ground connection to activate the horn relay. If you can somehow remove the light in the switch that will stop the current drain or just get another switch that doesn’t light up.

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Light does not turn off when honking horn. Thinking about just cutting the wire and living without the horn.

I too wish it was a properly wired switch. I’m just gonna cut the battery and live with no horn. Thank you for the input!

Thank you @lion9car! I’m just gonna take your recommendation and cut that wire. Here’s hoping IN law doesn’t require horns!

Thank you @Tester. My small brain probably won’t let me figure out how to fix the horn so I’m just going to deal with it.

Sorry, I missed the part where the switch is illuminated. Fortunately @Cougar caught it. Take the switch out and replace it with one without a light. And as @lion9car mentioned, wire a fuse in the circuit. It should be fairly simple if you’re handy.

Or maybe get a new switch that is off. I’m trying to figure out why the light is on all the time so there must be current to ground. Normally the horn honks when it is grounded by hitting the horn button. So there would be positive to the switch, then grounded, then the circuit is broken again. I think just a switch that is normally off would do it.

A switch with a “pilot light” that’s on when the switch is in the “off” position allows a tiny trickle of current to illuminate the indicator but not enough to fully complete the circuit.

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Driving without a horn, (besides being grounds for state safety inspection failure), could be used against you if you’re ever sued as a result of an accident:

Look at “First Count, 9 (e)”

Someday, as someone is about to pull out of a parking lot right into your path, you may be sorry you disconnected that horn.
Have the horn wiring, clockspring, etc. checked and fix the horn.

Replace the switch with an aftermarket horn button. To find out if that will work, remove the two wires connected to the switch and touch them together. If the horn blows put in the switch. I have done this on some work cars that were not worth pulling the steering wheel and fixing the clock spring or wiring.

I just checked and Indiana requires inspections only in Lake and Potter counties and it is emission testing only. The horn buttons I put in were to pass NY inspection and the only restriction as to location was that they had to be in easy reach of the driver.

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Probably aftermarket safety

What is “aftermarket safety”?
Please elaborate.

Yeah…while I agree 150% that not having a functioning horn is a huge no-no, this guy didn’t get sued because he didn’t have a horn. It looks like he was driving too fast and in a reckless manner, and then rear-ended another driver because he couldn’t stop in time. It’s not like if he had honked his horn, he would’ve gotten off…it seems like the plaintiff attorneys were basically throwing everything they could.

Before replacing the switch, check to see if there is a horn relay. If not, and you are installing a horn button, I would install a relay. A horn does draw quite a bit of current.
Some cars do not have a horn relay. My 1971 Ford Maverick did not have s relay. It was parked in our attached garage and the horn started blowing at 5:00 a.m. The switch in the steering column had shorted. The contacts would close, the horn would blow, the contacts would then heat up and the switch would open. This cycle kept repeating itself.
My brother had a 1977 Cadillac. He came out one morning and found that the battery was dead. He recharged the battery and everything worked but the horn. He found out from his neighbor that the horn on his Cadillac had started blowing in the middle of the night. It had run down the battery and burned out the horn.

My 1971 Maverick had a similar problem, but only when it was extremely cold out.