Tech Tip: Helpful Pointers for Inspecting, Diagnosing and Servicing Clock Springs

Tech Tip: Helpful Pointers for Inspecting, Diagnosing and Servicing Clock Springs

A clock spring isn't related to the clock and it doesn't have spring in it. However, it is found on every single vehicle, both import and domestic, produced since 1994. Dorman Products offers the following instructional pointers for technicians servicing clock springs.

A clock spring isn’t related to the clock and it doesn’t have spring in it. However, it is found on every single vehicle, both import and domestic, produced since 1994. Dorman Products offers the following instructional pointers for technicians servicing clock springs.

What Is a Clock Spring?
– An electronic component that transfers electrical current from the steering column to the steering wheel. This allows the operation of steering wheel-mounted accessories while the steering wheel is being turned.
– Steering wheel-mounted accessories such as the air bag, remote radio or cruise controls and horn are wired through the clock spring.

How Do They Fail?
– General Wear and Tear: After repeatedly turning the wheel, the wires inside the clock spring can break or disconnect.
– Collision: It is recommended to replace the clock spring after the airbag is deployed.
– Service Technician Error: The part will fail if during a rack and pinion or CV joint replacement job, the steering wheel isn’t tied down and the service technician turns the front wheels past the stopping point.

What Indicates Failure?
– Steering wheel-mounted accessories will stop working as soon as the wire separates. In the case of the airbag, a dash-mounted warning light illuminates. Basically, the clock spring diagnoses and sells itself.

Is this Repair Difficult and is the Independent Repair Shop Performing this Repair Today?
– Repair shops are currently replacing clock springs today. The replacement is fairly straightforward using common hand tools and a steering wheel puller.
– The book time for replacement is 0.7 hrs. The actual job can be completed in about 30 minutes.

A Clock Spring Can Be Replaced in 10 Easy Steps
1. Remove the negative battery cable – Allow 2-3 minutes for the reserve current to bleed down before removing the air bag.
2. Remove the steering column trim cover.
3. Remove the air bag mounting bolts.
4. Disconnect the wiring harness from the air bag module.
5. Remove the air bag.
6. Remove the center nut from the steering column.
7. Remove the steering wheel dampener.
8. Using a steering wheel puller, remove the steering wheel.
9. Remove the clock spring attaching hardware and wiring harness.
10. Remove the clock spring.

Go to www.DormanProducts.com and view videos covering the removal and installation of clock springs.

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