How to install a horn button on a steering column

Written by richard ristow
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How to install a horn button on a steering column
Some steering wheels are more complex than others. (steering wheel and dash of British sports car image by Bo Widerberg from

Horn pads and horn buttons are commonly used while driving. To sound the car's horn, a driver must press the pad or button. Typically, the button is located on the face of the steering wheel, for easy access. The pad or button itself is wired directly to the horn, which is located in the front of the vehicle. While the horn system is relatively simplistic, it is not standard throughout all vehicles. The removal and installation process slightly differs, and more precise instructions can be found in a Haynes or Chilton manual for your model, make and year.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Flathead screwdriver wrapped in tape
  • Screwdriver

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  1. 1

    Open your vehicle's bonnet and locate the battery. Remove the negative cable from the negative terminal. Then, remove the positive cable from the positive terminal. Wait five minutes or more and allow power remaining inside your vehicle to drain out. This is a security precaution. You do not want your airbags accidentally deploying. It may not be necessary depending on your exact make and model, but it is always a good precaution when working on or near a vehicle's dashboard.

  2. 2

    Climb into the driver's seat and look at your vehicle's steering wheel and horn button. Examine the button very closely. Some horn pads can easily pried off, but you have to make sure the pad does not interlock with any components or panelling on the front of the steering wheel. Insert a tape wrapped screwdriver at the edge of the pad. Slowly pry the pad out of the steering wheel's retaining clips. Exercise caution while doing this, as there is wiring connected to the back of the pad.

  3. 3

    Examine the horn button again, if it appears to interlock with other panels and buttons on the steering wheel. Dismantle and remove the panels to get to the button. In some models, like Ford pickups, you will have to start at the base of the column and remove other components like the airbag module. Once the obstructions are clear, the button can be easily lifted away from the steering wheel.

  4. 4

    Undo the wiring from the back of the button or pad. There will be a simple wiring connector. You should not have to worry about clipping and crimping any wires.

  5. 5

    Set the old button aside. Connect your vehicle's wiring to the back of the new pad or button. Reassemble the steering wheel panels in the reverse of how you took them apart. If you steering wheel features a simple horn pad, connect the pad to the steering wheel's retaining clips.

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