by Derek

The uniqueness of your vehicles also depends on the kind of horn you use. Have you noticed how you recognize a new neighbor due to an unusual horn? The sole purpose of a car horn is to inform the approach of a vehicle. However, nowadays, it is more of a style than a need.

Customizations and aftermarket products are brimming in the market. From a classic beep to the thundering sound of a klaxon horn, the variety is limitless. Therefore, we jotted down the most common kinds so you can get an idea about what the market offers.

Different Types of Car Horn and Their Working Mechanisms

Primarily car horns break down into two categories: air-driven and electromagnetic. However, with the ongoing progress, many horns are now becoming common. Check out the elaboration below to know the differences.

Klaxon Horns

These electric horns are famous for their penetrating sounds. Klaxon horns are apt for submarine emergency systems.

The diaphragm connects to a rivet, and a wheel strikes the diaphragm producing a sharp sound. Depending upon the model, klaxon horns may be manual or battery operated. These horns produce louder sounds and can damage a nearby person’s hearing.

Some people know klaxon horns as sirens or hooters. The optimal horning frequency is around 100 to 110 decibels. While klaxon horns produce much higher values.

Air-Driven Horns

These horns were popular in the twentieth century. You may recognize them by their trumpet shape.

In air-driven horns, a pump feeds the air into a tube. The pressure of the air, in turn, makes the tube vibrate. Hence, creating the common sound of the old steam engine vehicles. Different arrangements of the pipes produced various frequencies. However, over the years, they have changed a bit.

The modern-day air-driven horns feature a diaphragm that vibrates when high-pressured air strikes it. Also, some horns have a tiny hole in their diaphragm that produces a high-pitched sound.

Electromagnetic Horns

These horns use a recent technology. The electromagnetic horns use the elasticity principle to produce sound. They operate on electricity, and you’ll find them attached under the front hood near the car battery.

The battery supplies electricity that travels through the horn’s switch to the coil. The coil produces an electromagnetic attraction that travels to the contact linking to the diaphragm. The electromagnetic field applies strain on the diaphragm. Resultantly, it vibrates to produce sounds.

Unlike the air-driven horns, the electromagnetic needs a current supply to function. Moreover, they are resistant to harsh weather while air-driven horns aren’t.

Whistle Horns

You may have heard a ship honking in a movie. The interesting thing is ships don’t use regular car horns. Instead, the horns deployed at ships are the whistle horns.

Their working mechanism is similar to the air-driven horns. However, whistle horns use the ships’ highly compressed air to produce sound. Whistle horns are ideal for sea journeys as their lower frequencies travel to longer distances easily.


Upgrading horns is becoming a common trend today. Different kinds of car horns produce different frequencies, and you can choose one to your liking. No doubt, they add to the vehicle’s style, but one must mind safety too. Using high-pitched horns may result in deafening hazards and lead to accidents. Moreover, you will likely get a ticket for using louder horns.

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