Comprehensive Guide on How to Test a Clock Spring

disassembled steering wheel


A clock spring, also known as a spiral cable or clock spring assembly, is a vital component found in modern vehicles’ steering systems. It plays a crucial role in maintaining a continuous electrical connection between the steering wheel and the various components that require electrical input. Testing a clock spring is essential to ensure the proper functioning of safety features such as airbags, horn, and steering wheel controls. In this guide, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of testing a clock spring to ensure its integrity and functionality. If you’re interested to learn about how to reset a clock spring, Click here.

Tools and Equipment Needed

  • Multimeter: A digital multimeter is essential for measuring continuity, resistance, and voltage.
  • Test Light: A test light can be used to check for the presence of power and ground.
  • Safety Gear: Ensure you have appropriate safety gear, including gloves and eye protection, while working on the vehicle’s steering system.

Step-by-Step Guide to Testing a Clock Spring

Step 1: Safety Precautions

Before you begin testing the clock spring, take the necessary safety precautions. Disconnect the vehicle’s battery to prevent accidental airbag deployment. Allow the vehicle’s electrical system to discharge by waiting at least 10 minutes before proceeding.

Step 2: Access the Clock Spring

Access the clock spring by removing the steering wheel. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for steering wheel removal, as this process can vary between different vehicle models.

Step 3: Multimeter Continuity Test

Use the multimeter to test the continuity of the clock spring’s electrical connections. Set the multimeter to the continuity or resistance mode. Probe the appropriate terminals on the clock spring connector to check for continuity between various wires. Refer to the vehicle’s wiring diagram to identify the correct wires and their functions.

Step 4: Voltage Test

With the vehicle’s battery reconnected, turn the ignition to the “on” position without starting the engine. Use the multimeter to measure the voltage across different terminals of the clock spring connector. This will help identify if the clock spring is transmitting electrical signals as intended.

Step 5: Steering Wheel Controls Test

While the clock spring is still exposed, test the functionality of the steering wheel controls such as the horn, audio controls, and cruise control buttons. Press each button and observe the multimeter readings or use a test light to verify that the clock spring is properly relaying signals.

Step 6: Visual Inspection

Visually inspect the clock spring for any signs of physical damage, such as frayed wires, loose connections, or excessive wear. A damaged clock spring may require replacement.

Step 7: Reassembly

Once testing is complete and you are satisfied with the results, carefully reassemble the components in the reverse order of removal. Make sure all electrical connections are secure.


Testing a clock spring is a critical maintenance task to ensure the proper functioning of essential vehicle components. By following this comprehensive guide, you can effectively test the integrity and functionality of the clock spring, helping to maintain a safe and reliable driving experience. Remember that if you encounter any issues or doubts during the testing process, it is recommended to seek assistance from a professional mechanic or technician.

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