Kia Horn Not Working (Blown Fuse & Relay, Damaged Horn & Clock Spring)

kia seltos, sorento, forte, soul, rio, k5, picanto, optima, sportage horn not working

Many people hate honking. One study in the Mechanical Engineering Journal found that honking produces a negative psychological reaction in drivers. You also have this paper in the Journal of Environmental Health Science and Engineering, which classifies honking as a potent contributor to noise pollution.

However, that doesn’t mean you can drive around without a working horn. The horn is a safety tool that allows you to alert other people on the road to your presence. It can prevent accidents. Therefore, a functional horn is vital to your well-being.

To fix a horn that doesn’t work, you must start by determining why a Kia horn would stop working in the first place. You can blame the following:

1). Blown Fuse

Fuses blow all the time. They respond to short circuits and overloads. The fuse will blow to protect the vehicle’s electrical components. A blown horn fuse shouldn’t surprise you because manufacturers tend to position the horn at the front, exposing the device to everything from rain and snow to dirt, road salt, and stones.

Therefore, the fuse is the first component many mechanics inspect. A fuse can blow due to damage or a defect in the horn.

But what if you can hear the horn? A fuse kills the power when it blows. The horn should stop working. Can you blame the fuse if the horn still works, but the sound is muffled or distorted?

Yes, you can if your vehicle has multiple horns. A fuse may kill one of them, reducing the strength of the sound when you honk.

How to fix the blown fuse?

  • Find the fuse box. Look for a crack on the dash to the left of the steering wheel. Pry it open to find the fuses and a diagram showing what each fuse does. But that applies to the 2013 Kia Rio. Use your vehicle’s manual to find the fuse box in your model.
  • Visually inspect the fuse. You’re looking for a metallic strip that connects the two sections of the fuse. If this strip is broken, you need a new fuse. If it’s okay, put it back.
  • If the visual inspection is inconclusive, use a test light. Ground the test light before touching the electrical contacts. You want both of them to light up. Otherwise, you need a new fuse.

2). Failed Relay

The relay controls the power flowing to the horn. It completes the circuit, allowing the horn to honk when you apply a current.

Therefore, you can understand why a bad relay would prevent a horn from working. Bad relays produce a clicking sound. A burning smell should worry you because it points to a burnt or melted relay.

It is worth noting that a relay’s lifespan is limited. You’re looking at roughly 50,000 cycles. Therefore, you can’t necessarily prevent them from failing. At best, proper care and maintenance will extend their lifespan. Don’t assume that things went wrong simply because a relay failed.

How to fix a damaged relay?

  • Relays have numbers that identify the connection pins.
  • Pin 85 is where the power flows into the relay.
  • Pin 86 is where it flows out to the chassis ground, completing a circuit.
  • The current from the battery enters the relay at pin 87.
  • The current leaves the battery to enter the component at pin 30.
  • Use the manual to find the horn’s relay. You should also get a multimeter. Set it to measure DC voltage.
  • Test the 85 position at the point where the relay plugs in. Sometimes, this point is in the fuse box. You’re looking for 12 volts. If you don’t see 12 volts, either the fuse has blown or the switch is not active.
  • If you’ve recorded the correct voltage, change the setting to continuity mode and test the 86 slot’s ground connection. 
  • Test the 87 connection. Do you detect the battery voltage? If not, the fuse is dead.
  • If the 30 terminal checks out as well, you have a bad relay.

If you don’t have the expertise to test the relay, I recommend replacing the horn relay. If this fixes the horn, the old relay was the problem. But if the horn refuses to work, the fault lies elsewhere.

3). Damaged Horn

Now that you know the dangers horns face because of their position at the vehicle’s front, a damaged horn won’t shock you. wikiHow have pictures of a horn if you’ve never seen one. Open the hood and look at it.

If you don’t have a manual to show you where to look, check behind the grill. Examine the horn for signs of damage. If it seems okay, inspect the wiring harness. Are the lines tightly connected to their terminals?

Do you see breaks and tears? Have you noticed burn marks? While a horn can last the car’s entire life, it technically boasts a lifespan of six to ten years. In other words, some horns are simply worn out.

4). Faulty Horn Button

A Kia horn can stop working because of a faulty button. This assumes that you know how to use the horn. Have you checked the manual for instructions? For all you know, you’ve been using the wrong button to honk the horn. You see this when a consumer buys an unfamiliar model for the first time.

How to fix a damaged horn?

Car-N-Toys has a video that shows consumers how to test the horn. It involves connecting one clamp to a 12V battery and touching the horn’s terminal. The horn should honk. If nothing happens, the horn is dead.

You can identify a poor ground connection via a clicking sound from the horn. Try cleaning the ground connection. If the clicking persists, get a new horn. This Technical Service Bulletin from Kia shows dealerships how to access and replace a horn. 

Take the car back to the dealership to replace the horn. If you have a warranty, use it to lower the repair and replacement costs. The dealership can also fix a stuck or damaged horn button.

Buttons can stick because of wear and tear. Don’t forget to inspect the connectors and wires. Replacement isn’t always necessary, especially where corrosion is concerned. Apply some WD40 to remove the corrosion.

5). Broken Clock Spring

The clock spring maintains the steering wheel’s connection to the electrical system even when you rotate it. A broken clock spring will illuminate the airbag warning light. The controls on the steering wheel may fail because of the disruption in the electrical connection.

How to fix a broken clock spring?

  • If you have an OBDII scanner, connect the tool to Kia’s diagnostic port to confirm that your vehicle’s clockspring has failed.
  • If you don’t know enough to use the scanner, turn the wheel while pressing the horn button. If it works at some angles but not others, the clockspring is dead. Replace it.

Clock springs are inexpensive. Don’t bother fixing yours once it breaks.

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