Horn not working properly

I’ve been having trouble with my van horn for some time now. The horn works intermittently. When not working I just keep pressure on a spot(s) and it will sound. I found a you tube vehicle which seemed write on point. Tried to pry the steering wheel cover off following the video instructions but couldn’t. So I added it to the list of things to be serviced at the garage I use this past Monday 12/5. I had a little argument at my garage since the service manager wanted to charge a $120 diagnostic fee even though I explained as above. Van has 252k miles on it. The video presenter (a mechanic) said dirt gets in between horn and rest of steering wheel which prevents engagement with the contacts which cause the horn to sound. I didn’t want to pay what I thought was an unnecessary exorbitant fee. I said go ahead and clean the contacts–no diagnostic fee.

I was just informed that they got the cap off and cleaned the contacts and now I HAVE NO HORN AT ALL. Of course, now they want $120 to further investigate; But, they won’t gaurentee a time when they will work on it.
“It’s unfair for other customers who made appointments tomorrow.”
is what he (ServM) said.

BOTTOM LINE: Does anybody have any ideas as what is wrong with the horn considering the scenario I just described?
(Service manager thinks they may have to replace the steering wheel possibly d/t wiring in the steering wheel attachment.

They did what you said and it didn’t work. Now you owe a diagnostic fee in addition to the cost of the work already done, and whatever they find is wrong. That’s why it is recommended that you don’t tell them what to do, just let them do their job.

Also, I guess you meant it was in the shop yesterday, 10/5 and not 12/5, unless you used your Way-Back Machine to tell us what’s going to happen at the shop 2 months from now. :blush:


Diagnostic Fees are normal charges . You don’t work for free do you ? And just because you saw a solution on You Tube does not mean it will apply to every vehicle horn problem .

And now you want someone to guess what your problem is from cyberspace .


You could get one of those bumper stickers that says, “Horn is broken. Watch for finger.”

On a more serious note, $120 is not an unreasonable diagnostic fee, particularly for electrical problems, and many garages will waive the diagnostic fee if you hire them to do the repair they deem necessary with their diagnosis.

In other words, if you’d agreed to pay the diagnostic fee, and they didn’t fix your problem, you’d have a right to demand they take another stab at the diagnosis without additional cost, but since you told them what to do, you took responsibility for choosing the course of action.

My advice is to either:

  1. Bite the bullet and pay the $120 diagnostic fee; or
  2. Call around to see if you can find another shop in your area that has cheaper diagnostic fees that you find satisfactory.

Good luck.


Without telling us what make and model of van this is!


Good thing you told them what to do, even though it wasn’t the problem, and have to pay for it.

I bet the $120 to find the problem is looking pretty good right now.

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It will be a real $hame if the problem was a faulty relay but the steering wheel cushion/horn switch was destroyed in the effort to get it removed.

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So… what is your question? Get suggestions from online forum and tell the mechanic, again, what to do?