How do I know if I have a bad clock-spring

Tiny
NTWRKGUY1
  • MEMBER
  • 2005 KIA RIO
  • 1.6L
  • 4 CYL
  • FWD
  • AUTOMATIC
  • 41,000 MILES
The horn is currently not working. I have replaced both the fuse and the horn relay, and still the horn does not work. There is nothing else (radio controls, etc.) On the steering wheel other than the horn, and no air bag light is present on the dash.

How do I determine if it is the clock spring that is bad (rather than the actual horn itself)? A replacement horn is cheap (around $17.00), but I was hoping there was a way troubleshoot the process before I start replacing parts.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 10:49 AM

12 Replies

Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
Do you have a multi meter to do some testing? That way we can see if there is power and ground to the horn.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 12:33 PM
Tiny
NTWRKGUY1
  • MEMBER
I do not currently have a multimeter, but I can get one. Where would I be hooking the multimeter up to?
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 1:49 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
Listen if the horn relay clicks when you press the horn switch. If it does, the clock spring is okay. Use a jumper wire to bypass the relay, or pop the cover off, reinstall the relay that way, then push the movable contact. If the horn sounds, they are okay.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 2:04 PM
Tiny
NTWRKGUY1
  • MEMBER
Okay, I just went outside to check that. The relay is clicking when the horn is pressed. I do not understand what you mean by "reinstall the relay that way, then push the movable contact." The relay seemed to have four prongs at each corner. Is there more than one way to install it?
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 4:21 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The clicking proves the clock spring is okay because it is reacting to pressing the horn button.

The relay is an electrically-operated mechanical switch. The circuit is broken into two parts. The low-current circuit includes the electromagnetic coil that is operated by the switch. We know that is working by the click you heard. The high-current circuit gets turned on when the relay clicks. That is not working because you do not hear the horn.

A common test is to turn the relay on manually to determine if the high-current circuit is working. That is real easy to do, except there is a protective plastic cover in the way. That is what I was asking you to remove. The problem is you cannot just wish it off. You have to remove the relay from its socket so you can pry, poke, and grunt as necessary to get the cover off. Now, if you reinstall the relay that way, without its cover, it is usually real easy to push the movable contact by hand. If you are fortunate enough to hear the horn, and it sounds right, all of that circuit is working and there is no need to look there for the cause of the problem.

Basically I just butted into your conversation and sped things up by giving you two tests, and one of them already identified one half of the system that is working. That observation took less than one second and eliminated the need to look at half of the possible suspects, including the clock spring. That leaves the twelve volts that is supplying the relay's switch contacts, the horn(s), and the wires in between. I am sure Saturntech9 will get you to the solution, but I can always come back and stick my nose in here again.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 5:39 PM
Tiny
NTWRKGUY1
  • MEMBER
Wow, you definitely have a much deeper knowledge of car electronics than I do. Thank you for butting in!

I believe I am following what you said. The car is outside in the rain right now, but I will take a look at it in the morning. Two questions for you before I do that: 1) When I remove the relay from its socket, the plastic cover that you want me to remove is the same size as that socket, right? 2) Provided the car is not running and the key is not in the on position, there is no problem pushing the movable contact by hand, right?

Thanks in advance. I will definitely do this first thing in the morning and report back.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 6:22 PM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
Did you see this?

https://www.2carpros.com/articles/symptoms-of-a-bad-airbag-clock-spring

The Medic
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 6:26 PM
Tiny
CARADIODOC
  • EXPERT
The relays are all different, and I should have mentioned that a few are sealed.

You can also use a stretched-out paper clip to jump the two terminals in the socket, but I would have to do some research to know which ones to tell you to connect. You cannot do any damage by trial and error if the horn switch is not pressed at the same time.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 6:26 PM
Tiny
SATURNTECH9
  • EXPERT
At the left front of your car is the horn unplug it and check across the two terminals with the multi meter. Press the horn button you should have battery voltage. The black wire is ground the other wire gets power when the horn button is pressed.
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Monday, February 6th, 2017 AT 6:58 PM
Tiny
NTWRKGUY1
  • MEMBER
Sorry about the delay, guys. Life got in the way.

I had the Kid at my mechanic yesterday, and had him check the connection to the horn. Sure enough, it turns out the horn was bad. I skipped the $59 replacement at the dealer, and opted for the $19 Auto Zone special. It wasn't an exact size replacement, but close enough. In the end, the horn works, and that's what matters!
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+1
Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 11:57 AM
Tiny
NTWRKGUY1
  • MEMBER
**Kia, not Kid
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 11:58 AM
Tiny
CJ MEDEVAC
  • EXPERT
That's great!

Now you need to go out and get a project car so you can keep on conversing with us! Lol!

The Medic
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Tuesday, February 14th, 2017 AT 3:17 PM

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