The horn button requires a strong push, if it works at all. Is there something I need to do with the contacts to solve this. I tried cleaning them once, but this only helped for a short time. The problem is in the button not downstream.
I just took a look into my steering wheel horn set up. It is defective design. Only one of the two contact plates are connected. The ground from the spiral cable is not used for the horn. I can fix the first part, but the latter part will need a consult with Toyota service dept or HQ. If you have the same problem, let Toyota and nhtsa.dot.gov know about the problem. I've read a lot of fixes that didn't work. The normal suspects on the horn are: relay, horn (use the alarm to check or by pass the relay), spiral cable, contact plate, but my new one is that one of the contact plate is not connected and ground from spiral cable is not used for the horn. Just indirect contact from the steering shaft. You need to know haw to remove the air bag to look at that area.
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if it was a fuse problem the horn wouldn`t make a noise.it sounds like the horn contacts that touch when you push on the button are not making proper contact each time.if you remove the horn button and look at the contact spots you may see the problem(uneven contact surfaces).if you move/bend the contact surfaces closer to each other of straighten this may help the problem.you may even have a horn that needs to be replaced as you said when it does work it stutters and not blow.the diaphragm in the horn can dry out and not vibrate like it should.try tapping on the horn when someone tries to blow the horn if it stops or gets louder then the diaphragm is no good.you could also check the connection at the horn itself it may have a bad connection due to corrosion and just need cleaning.
if you check the wire that comes from the horn button to the relay for voltage when the horn is pushed and have voltage then you have a bad relay,if not then you probably have bad contacts in the horn pad area or even the clock spring itself.
I am no expert but had a similiar problem with my camry and am starting to have the problem with my Sienna. Inside the steering wheel is a metal ring that supplies power to the horn, turn signals, cruise control (if equipped), etc. This way you have power to these switches even when you turn.
It seems that the top of the ring is worn or dirty thus causing the contacts not to conduct electricity to the horn. In my camry I had to have the ring replaced.
Now for the not so good news. The work needs to be done by a certified technician. This is because of the airbag. Once you take the steering wheel apart you need to be able to reset the airbag or your airbag may not work. Due to federal safety regulations they require a certified technician or special tool or something to do this. My neighbor who is a mechanic told me I would have to take it in to get it done.
The metal plate in reference above has small copper contacts. If they do not meet the horn will not work. We used a dremel on ALL of the contact point and it made no difference, the horn still only works about 5% of the time. After a whole lot of testing (I have the same issue with my 2000 Toyota Sienna) we found that the ground is weak, too weak for the relay most times. At this point I am going to run an alternate ground by "borrowing" the wire for the mute button for audio controls through the clock spring. The existing ground connects to the steering column. Before we discovered this I spent $285 on a new clock spring :(
If the horn works with the alarm button but not with the steering wheel horn pad the problem is most likely in the contacts beneath the steering wheel. This requires pulling the steering wheel and repairing the contacts. If this vehicle has an air bag in the steering wheel make sure to deactivate the airbag circuit before pulling the steering wheel.
There are two horns on this vehicle. Check to make sure they are grounded properly, and if you have a volt meter, disconnect the horn wire, have someone push the horn button while you check the voltage on the wire. You should get at least 12 volts. If the horn has a good ground, and is getting the required voltage, then you probably have a bad horn. Disconnect one at a time, and see how loud each of them are. This should help determine which one, if not both is causing the problem.
Sounds like you may have corroded terminals on the horn itself.
Find the horn in the engine compartment - remove the wire connected to it - clean the spade terminal with some sand paper and push the terminal back on. If that doesn't work you may need to remove the horn from the car and clean up the earth connection, i.e. where the horn is attached to the body work of the car to get a good electrical contact.