A clock spring, also known as a spiral cable or coil cable, is a special rotary electrical connector that allows a vehicle's steering wheel to turn while still maintaining an electrical connection between the steering column and the steering wheel-mounted controls such as the airbag, horn, and any other steering wheel-mounted buttons or switches.

The clock spring consists of a flat ribbon-like cable wound in a spiral shape inside a housing. As you turn the steering wheel, the cable winds and unwinds, allowing for continuous electrical connection even as the wheel rotates.

You should consider replacing the clock spring if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  1. Malfunctioning airbag light: A faulty clock spring can cause the airbag warning light to illuminate on the dashboard.

  2. Non-functioning horn: If pressing the horn button on the steering wheel does not produce any sound, it could be due to a broken clock spring.

  3. Inoperative steering wheel controls: If the buttons or switches on the steering wheel, such as those for audio controls or cruise control, stop working, it could be a sign of a failing clock spring.

  4. Traction control, cruise control, or other system malfunctions: Since the clock spring is responsible for maintaining electrical connections to various steering wheel-mounted controls, failures in these systems could indicate a problem with the clock spring.

It's essential to replace a faulty clock spring promptly as it can affect the proper functioning of safety systems like the airbag. Additionally, malfunctioning steering wheel controls can compromise the driver's ability to operate the vehicle safely. Always consult a qualified mechanic if you suspect an issue with your vehicle's clock spring.