Dear Car Talk:
Why is it that car manufacturers have decided that the smaller the car, the wimpier the horn should be? My pickup has a nice, deep, loud horn. But my imported crossover almost sounds apologetic.
When you have to use your horn to warn someone that they’re coming over into your lane, or censure someone for cutting you off, they’re like, “Oh it’s a little car, no big deal.” — Mike
You’re right, Mike. It should be the opposite, right? The smaller the car, the more intimidating a horn it needs. It’s why little dogs have sharper teeth.
But you can swap out your horn, Mike. A bigger horn doesn’t take up much more space. And there’s no technological differences between big horns and small horns.
So, go to a junkyard and pull the horns off a 1976 Peterbilt tractor. Then, duct tape those babies to the vent window of your RAV- 4 and watch people clear out of the way. People will laugh at you when they see the little car making all that noise, but they’ll get out of the way first.
Actually, that’s overkill. Funny, but overkill. What you can do is find another passenger vehicle with a horn you like.
Let’s say it’s your pickup truck.
Go to the dealer and ask the parts department to sell you the horns for that truck. There will be two of them. Horns have two notes, which is what creates that dissonant horn sound.
Then, have your mechanic pull the horns out of your little import and replace them with the bigger horns. He may need to fiddle around with them to mount them, or maybe even change the size of the wires, but it’s not rocket science. And they all run on 12 volts, so he should be able to make it work.
When it’s finished, sneak up to your least favorite neighbor and give him a friendly beep “hello.”
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Got a question about cars? Write to Ray in care of King Features, 628 Virginia Drive, Orlando, FL 32803, or email by visiting the Car Talk website at www.cartalk.com.
(c) 2019 by Ray Magliozzi and Doug Berman Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.