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Chris (aka-Moose)
Chris (aka-Moose), Auto Technician
Category: Toyota
Satisfied Customers: 947
Experience:  16 years of experience
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I just was told that I needed to replace the complete horn

Customer Question

I just was told that I needed to replace the complete horn and airbag assembly on my 2003 Toyota Sequoia. The part itself cost $1,299 and labor of $200. This sounds really exorbitant.
If I want to check myself, is it safe removing the airbag once the battery is disabled?
Is this part available online?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Toyota
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

Hello. Welcome to Just Answer. Please allow me to assist you. What is the problem that you are having the air bag diagnosed?

Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

It is safe to REMOVE the air bag once the battery is disconnected and you wait 30 minutes before attempting the removal. You can NOT test the air bag wth a meter. You will cause the bag to inflate if you try this. You can and will get injured from an unsecured air bag deployment.

Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

An unsecured air bag deployment will cause the unit to move vertically upward (if face down) 30 to 40 feet with a rather large amount of force.

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
It isn't the airbag, just my horn. It only works if I push certain parts of it. They told me I need to replace the whole airbag & horn assembly. I am not a mechanic so I want to be sure I am safe in working on the horn to see if I can just clean the contacts.
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

Absolutely do NOT replace the air bag for a horn issue. That is a totally preposterous diagnosis. The air bag base plate acts as a bridge between an existing ground (the steering wheel) and the spiral cable that connects the ground circuit to the steering column. Let me ask another question please: Does the horn work when the steering wheel is in a certain position, and then stops when the wheel is turned? .

Customer: replied 1 year ago.
This supposedly reputable service company said Toyota Sequoia's horn assembly only comes assemble w/the airbag so u can't replace just the horn. They claimed they tried to clean the contacts. I wanted to try clean them myself then if needed, look for the part online since they wanted $1,300 for it.
Expert:  Toyota Service replied 1 year ago.

The bottom of the air bag metal touches other metal. This grounds the horn wire circuit. The air bag does not have anything to do with the horn, all the bag and the horn have in common is the metal underside of the unit . I would not recommend you pull the air bag. If you disconnect it, you may get an air bag code set in the air bag computer. This will not allow the bag to deploy (if you are in an accident) until the code is cleared. This sounds not like a dirty contact problem, this sounds more like a spiral cable problem, which is far less money. Plus, 200 dollars to replace an air bag on the steering wheel (it is 2 bolts and a wire connector) is way overpriced. The flat rate is less than an hour. Unless this 'reputable company" charges 200 dollars an hour.