Customizing the Sound of a Car Horn
By ELVA RAMIREZ
What It Is: So you're sitting in
traffic and the car behind you is feeling a little antsy. The driver leans on
the horn and you hear not a harsh toot but a lion's growl. Fans of cellphone
ringtones have a new outlet for self-expression: Drivers now can update their
car horns with downloadable tones, including libraries of songs. Some horns can
even be equipped with recording capabilities.
How to Get It: With Horntones' FX-550 system, an MP3-enabled horn-enhancer,
songs can be downloaded from the Horntones Web site in sets of nine tones and
grouped into themes ("tailgate" or "car pool") that you can call up to suit your
mood. The files are then uploaded via a USB connection. Coga's musical car horn,
the COGApa, comes preloaded with 80 sounds and allows drivers to record new
sounds with a built-in digital recorder. It also doubles as a public-address
system when you really want to get someone's attention. Wolo's Jukebox Musical
Horn includes 34 preprogrammed songs, plus a remote that works like a keyboard
and allows users to add one song.
Upside: Your own public address system or cartoon-tune horn would really help
round up the carpool kids lingering on the playing field. Tailgaters might be
inspired by a team fight song.
Downside: Don't tempt the police; novelty horns are best not used in a moving
vehicle. While vehicle codes vary from state to state, most states require that
each vehicle must have a working horn, so sound files cannot replace the
factory-installed car horn.