Car horn shorting/shop offered to buy car

Brynna King

Asked by Jan 21, 2016 at 05:16 PM about the 1996 Toyota Corolla DX

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

I took my 1996 Corolla into a shop because the horn had been going off
randomly and we disconnected it. I approved payment for an hour of labor for
them to reattach the horn and determine what was going on. They said the
steering wheel needs a new wiring harness and quoted $300-$500 to replace
the part (including labor). I mentioned that we were planning to sell the car
anyway and that we'd pass on the repair and just sell as-is, and he offered to
buy the car for $800 and waive the $100 of labor spent up to that point. I
countered with $900 and he declined. We were hoping to get around $1,000
for the car which is otherwise in good working order with minor maintenance-y
things needed.

I feel like this has to be a not-that-hard job (and not a $300-$500 one) for
someone who knows the basics of wiring. Am I stupid not to take his $800

10 Answers


Not knowing anything else about your car it is impossible to say. If you post photos and tell us the mileage and options you could get a better opinion.


call around and get a couple more estimates for the repair. also, you should be able to get a good value on that car online. if you find a good value, subtract the cost of your repair estimate and you will have a good idea if his offer is ok. If the value is right in there, you may just want to take his offer. sometimes first loss is least loss.


You potentially lost $200 by not taking his $800 offer but what does the harness cost? Say its a $200 harness. You will spend the money for the part and still not get more than the $1000 for the car. So, as long as the part is less than $200, replace it yourself and sell the car. If it is more than that (or you end up getting the shop to do it), you would have been better off taking his $800 offer.

Brynna King

Here's what I plugged into Edmunds. This mechanic said the car is in pretty good shape and he's seen this type of car go for 400,000 miles with basic maintenance. He would want to buy it to fix a few things and resell it. The last time we had it checked out at a different place, they said the only major thing needing fixed was the rear struts, but that they wouldn't recommend fixing them since it's such an expensive repair and they're a comfort issue, not safety.


If you like the car then keep it as it is cheap transportation and you know what you have .The mechanic is wrong about the struts which are a safety issue when they go bad. The mechanic could install a horn button on the dash for just a few bucks it you can't afford the repair.

Brynna King

We're selling because we have another car and don't need this one, not because of problems. Otherwise we'd get the repair done. But it seems silly to spend $500 on parts and labor and then list for $1000- 1200. I'm sure I'm misquoting the other mechanic — they probably just meant it wasn't an immediate need.


It is a personal decision that you have to make. Perhaps you should just sell it and disclose the issue. I would not spend $500 to fix the horn.

Brynna King

Thanks for the help — I agree with not spending $500 for sure.


If the wire that is shorting out could be found, 1 cent worth of electrical tape would fix the problem.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

ridiculous- they are trying to rip you off- those Corollas are great cars- and they know it is worth way more than that- pay the tab, forget about the horn- don't go to that garage ever again- whatever shape it is in that car is worth at least $1500

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

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