How to Reset a Clock Spring: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Clock springs, also known as clock-spring assemblies or spiral cables, play a critical role in modern vehicle safety systems. These components are responsible for maintaining electrical connections between the steering wheel and the airbag system. If you’ve encountered issues with your car’s airbag light or steering wheel controls, a faulty clock spring might be the culprit. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the details of what a clock spring is, common signs of a faulty clock spring, and most importantly, how to properly reset it to ensure your vehicle’s safety. If you want to learn on how to test a clock spring, click here.

Understanding Clock Springs

A clock spring is a coiled wire harness located in the steering column. It resembles a clock’s spring, which is where it derives its name. This component acts as a communication conduit between the steering wheel and the rest of the vehicle’s electrical system. Clock springs are equipped with conductive materials that allow electrical signals to pass through even when the steering wheel is turned.

Step 1: Safety First

Ensure your vehicle is parked on a flat surface, the engine is turned off, and the key is removed from the ignition. Disconnect the vehicle’s battery to disable the airbag system and prevent any accidental deployments.

Step 2: Remove the Steering Wheel

Use the appropriate tools to remove the steering wheel carefully. Refer to your vehicle’s service manual for specific instructions on how to remove the steering wheel without causing damage.

Step 3: Access the Clock Spring

Once the steering wheel is removed, locate the clock spring assembly behind the steering wheel hub. Take note of its position and orientation to reinstall it correctly later.

Step 4: Mark the Components

Before proceeding, mark the clock spring, steering wheel hub, and any other relevant parts to ensure they are reassembled in the same position. This step is crucial to prevent misalignment or potential issues with the steering system.

Step 5: Reset the Clock Spring

Using a gentle touch, rotate the clock spring counterclockwise fully and then rotate it clockwise at least two full turns. This action helps to reset the clock spring’s internal mechanism.

Step 6: Reassembly

Carefully reinstall all the components in their original positions, following the marks made earlier. Ensure everything is secured properly.

Step 7: Reconnect the Battery

Reconnect the vehicle’s battery to restore power to the airbag system.


Resetting a clock spring is a delicate process that requires attention to detail and a cautious approach. By following the steps outlined in this guide, you can attempt to reset the clock spring yourself and potentially save on repair costs. However, if you are unsure or uncomfortable with the process, do not hesitate to seek help from a qualified automotive professional.

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