Is It Worth the Money to Replace Your Car’s Bad Clock Spring?

Date Posted: 14 March 2023 

Is It Worth the Money to Replace Your Car’s Bad Clock Spring? main image Is It Worth the Money to Replace Your Car’s Bad Clock Spring? image

Wondering if you get away with skipping that clock spring replacement for a little while longer? While it might seem like something so small can’t have that big of an impact on your car and safety, you’d be surprised. In fact, getting your airbag clock spring replaced is extremely important.

What Is an Airbag Clock Spring?

Whether you’re dealing with a Hilux clock spring or a BMW one, these small parts do the same important job in every car. You’ll find your airbag clock spring — also known as a spiral cable as it is essentially a spiralled up cable that winds and unwinds — in the steering wheel. It helps transfer electrical signals and power between the steering column and the airbag, as well as other parts in your steering wheel.

Will Your Airbag Deploy With a Bad Clock Spring?

Without a functioning airbag clock spring, you can’t trust that your airbag is going to work in the event of an accident. This is because one of its key functions is to essentially transfer the power signals from your car’s electrical system and sensors at the right moment to deploy your airbag safely. If your clock spring is broken or not working as it should, the airbag may not deploy at all or may deploy at the wrong time. Either way, it can be an incredibly serious and dangerous problem.

Therefore, it’s vital that you know what signs to look out for that your clock spring is failing or broken. Similarly, you need to get it replaced fast.

How Will I Know I Need a Clock Spring Replacement?

As with all parts of your car, everything is made to work in harmony together for a smooth and enjoyable ride. When something starts to break or fail, everything falls out of balance. This means you’ll get a fair few warning signs that something is going on with clock springs.

These include:

  • The airbag warning light is lit: While this could be another problem with your airbag, your clock spring could also be the culprit.
  • Your horn doesn’t work: Wondering if your car horn will work at all if the clock spring is going bad? You might get a few mild toots out of it, but as the clock spring is transferring that power to your steering wheel’s parts, it’s unlikely.
  • You hear a squeaking or clicking noise from your steering wheel: You’re most likely to hear this whenever you’re turning the steering wheel.
  • The cruise control doesn’t work: Just like your horn, your cruise control — if it’s run through the steering wheel — won’t get the power it needs to work when you’re dealing with a damaged clock spring.
  • Your steering wheel is hard to turn: As the clock spring works by coiling and uncoiling, if something has gone wrong it can make turning your steering wheel more difficult.

Even if your clock spring isn’t at fault, these can all be signs of something else going wrong with your car. This is why it’s important to get it checked out by a professional as soon as possible.

Getting Your Clock Spring Replaced

While quite a few car parts can be made to last longer with a quick repair, there’s no such thing as a ‘How to guide for resetting a clock spring.’ Once it’s damaged or broken, you need to replace it. Trying to repair or reset it is just likely to further damage it and even negatively affect the safety of your airbag system.

So How Much Does a Clock Spring Replacement Cost?

As with all things, there’s no definitive answer as to exactly how much a clock spring replacement will cost you. You need to factor in parts — and these can differ depending on the make and model of your car — as well as labour. Additionally, if the clock spring needs to be replaced, generally other parts need to be as well. This is because they may have become damaged at the same time as the clock spring or as a result of the clock spring failing.

However, if you’re shopping aftermarket parts, rather than going for a genuine Hilux clock spring, say, you can definitely save yourself some money. Just make sure the parts you’ve bought are the correct fit for your car and will work with your airbag system.

Additionally, as tempting as it may be to do the labour yourself to save some cash, it’s definitely not worth it in the long run. Replacing a clock spring is a very complex process — you want to get it done by a qualified mechanic with the right tools and know-how.

How Are Clock Springs Replaced?

If you’re curious about what your mechanic is going to do, these are the general steps they’ll follow.

  • Disconnect the battery: This prevents accidental airbag deployment.
  • Remove the steering wheel: This gives them access to the clock spring. They’ll likely need to remove the airbag module, too, and disconnect any electrical connections.
  • Remove the clock spring: Since there’s no point repairing the clock spring, the old one needs to come out.
  • Install the new clock spring: They’ll need to ensure the replacement clock spring is in the correct position and connected to the electrical wiring.
  • Reinstall the steering wheel: Once the clock spring is installed, the steering wheel and other components can go back where they were.
  • Reconnect the battery: Finally, the battery can be reconnected, and the airbag system tested to ensure everything is working as it should.

Drive Smart & Safe With a Clock Spring Replacement

Clearly, there’s no arguing that airbag clock springs are crucial and worth the money to get them replaced. Of course, it’s only natural to want to save money where you can. However, as we said before, you want to be a shrewd shopper — you still want a quality clock spring replacement, just a bargain offering great value. That’s where Machter comes in.

Whether you’re after a Holden Commodore clock spring or a Hyundai i20 clock spring, you’ll find a reliable option at Machter. We have a range of durable clock springs designed to fit a range of car makes and models. So, start exploring our store and get your clock spring ticking again.