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Learn More About Train Horns

You are riding in your car when you pass a big rig. You catch the driver's eye and pump your arm in the universal symbol pleading, "Please blow your horn." The driver complies, and the blast thrills you. Even joggers on main roads pump their arms, hoping to hear that spine-tingling train horn blast.

What Are Train Horns?

What exactly are these sound devices that have so captured the imaginations of the general public? Train air horns originated as audio warning devices on trains, of course. As engine technology developed and the diesel locomotive replaced the steam engine, the steam whistle became unworkable as a warning device. To fill that need, the air horn replaced the steam whistle. An air horn works by sending compressed air through a supply line into a power chamber. The power chamber channels the compressed air through a diaphragm and into a horn bell. On a big rig, air horns can use compressed air from the brakes to power the sound, with the typical air horn sounding at 150 decibels in loudness.

A Little Air Horn History

Once air horns replaced the steam whistle on trains for practical safety reasons, they also came of use on vehicles needing to ride on tracks, such as track maintenance vehicles. When their safety factor became known, big rig drivers adopted them, also for safety reasons. Nathan Airchime began making train air horns in 1954, so train air horns are a fairly recent innovation for public consumption. Truck air horns are also used on emergency vehicles for safety reasons.

Safety aside, truck air horns have become popular for use on cars, trucks, SUVs, and motorcycles for reasons of distinguishing a vehicle from the common lot, or "pimping your ride." An air horn on a passenger vehicle or motorcycle certainly captures attention in driving or riding. These days, any vehicle with a 12 V power source can boast an air horn.

In addition to adding pizzazz to a vehicle in a very loud way, adding sound loudness to visual loudness perhaps, train air horns can be used for pranks. Some bicyclists install truck air horns on their wheels to startle hapless pedestrians. Truck air horns have also been used to unsettle golfers as they swing their clubs. In more practical applications, truck air horns contribute to team spirit at sports events, ramping up the excitement and add to the beat of reggae music - a unique kind of instrument.

Where to Buy: Kits & Pricing

Finding a brick and mortar store which sells train horns is a challenge. Train Horn Kits are specialty items that are only available specialty stores. Here at TrainHorns USA we have a large selection of the top train horn kits available. All of our kits come with free shipping, extended warranties and a liberal return policy. Choosing the right train horn kit can be a real challenge. That's why the train horn experts on our staff have written a train horn kit buyers guide to help with your selection. Once you have read this write-up you will be extremely well informed and ready to make the right choice. It's important that the train horn you select fits well in your vehicle, but also has the sound and decibel level that you desire. Please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to help you with a recommendation.

If you are looking to buy for your semi, then you want an all-in-one kit with a large tank for longer blast times.. Horn aficionados buying for their passenger vehicles may opt for a compact kit, which will fit perfectly in the limited space available in a passenger vehicles. However, the larger kits will work fine in passenger vehicles also. While used truck air horns are available, it is better to buy a new kit with the specifications to suit your particular vehicle. Most kits include an air compressor, an air tank, a drain safety valve, tubing, Teflon tape, a tire inflation coil hose, a toggle switch, the hardware necessary for installation, and installation instructions. Prices for big rig and vehicle air horn kits start at under $200 and run as high as $800 or more. Motorcycle horns start at around $17 and go up. You can also buy solenoid activated horns for a less complicated system.

The Best Brands

Nathan Airchime is one of the first producers of truck air horns. The original sound chime was a D# minor chord. In 1975, Amtrak asked Nathan Airchime for a new sound, and the company made changes in its five-bell air horn to include an A# chord and G# chord.

Loud Mouth Train Horns is another producer of these fascinating sound devices. A leader in the market, LoudMouth's reputation rests on its loud and durable horns. Loud Mouth stands behind their products by offering a 15 day return policy and one year warranty. Hornblasters is a popular major manufacturer of this fun apparatus. Hornblasters boasts of being the first manufacturer to build all-in-one horn kits for passenger vehicles. This company is not only known for its innovation, but also for the fine quality of its product.

In addition to our buyers guide and detailed product pages, we have all the installation information you will need to get your train horn kit up and running in no time. We ship all of our products to mainland USA for free. Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. We'll be more than happy to help you out!

You can shop with confidence here at TrainHorns USA, knowing that you are getting the best price online for the products you are purchasing from us. All products are backed by our remarkable Low Price Guarantee & our exclusive 100% Satisfaction Guarantee!

Laws Regarding Train Horn Usage

Now that you have your new sound toy, what laws surround its usage? For passenger vehicles, basically use common sense and don't cause a nuisance. Be careful with any pranks you play. Also, be considerate of the time of day and neighborhood when sounding your horn. Regarding regulations for train horn usage, refer to Federal Railroad Administration Train Horn Rules for laws and guidelines. Basically, federal law requires an engineer to sound the horn at all public crossings 24-hours a day. Otherwise, the engineer may sound the horn to warn people or animals on the track or construction crews near the tracks.

Truck air horns are a fun and possibly mischievous addition to any vehicle, from the bicycle to the truck. They are a practical and necessary part of big rigs, but practicality does have its fun aspects, as well. Whether you are "pimping" an old vehicle or customizing a new vehicle, have fun with the wide selection of kits available for your hearing pleasure.