In this article, we go over how to properly install a new clock spring correctly. If you do not center the new clock spring, it will fail soon after it is installed.
We see too many cases where an owner or mechanic replaces the clock spring, and within days or, in some cases, immediately, the new clock spring fails. Which, of course, leads to the airbag light coming on and a few other warning lights.
The biggest mistake that an owner or mechanic makes when replacing a clock spring is that they fail to determine the clock spring's middle (center). If the clock spring is not in the center, it will stretch the ribbon inside and break soon after installation.
How to properly set a clock spring
Follow these steps to center a new clock spring.
- Make sure wheels are pointing straight forward.
- Remove the old clock spring from the vehicle.
- Without installing the new clock spring, turn the clock's inner part to the left until you feel resistance. Do not push hard once resistance is felt.
- Turn the inner part of the clock spring to the right and count the number of full revolutions.
- In most cases, you will get five full turns. Divide the number you got by two. In this case 5/2=2.5
- Rotate the inner part of the clock springs 2.5 turns back. This will set the clock spring on center.
- Install the steering wheel.
Setting the clock spring (centering the clock spring) is very simple and should be completed with care. Note that some vehicles integrate the steering angle sensor into the clock spring. If your vehicle has an integrated steering angle sensor, you will need to reset the clock spring/steering angle sensor.
How to reset a clock spring?
There are two ways to reset the steering angle sensor that is inside the clock spring. The first method is simple and does not require any tools.
- Start the engine and let it idle.
- Turn the steering wheel all the way to the right.
- Turn the steering wheel all the way to the left.
- Repeat this procedure twice with the engine running.
- Drive for at least 50 feet, and the steering angle sensor will reset.
In most cases, this procedure will reset the clock spring and steering angle sensor, and it should turn off the ABS and stability control light.
If the procedure above does not work, you will need an OBD-II scanner to do a steering angle reset. Connect the scanner into the diagnosis port under the dashboard and follow the instruction on the screen to reset the steering angle sensor.
Does a new clock spring need to be programmed?
No, the clock spring itself will work without programming.
If your clock spring has an integrated steering angle sensor, you may need to carry out a steering angle reset, reset the stability control, and ABS lights.
Start the car and turn the steering wheel all the way to the left then to the right a couple of times. This will reset the steering angle sensor in most cars. If this procedure does not work on your vehicle, use a Multi-System OBD2 Scanner with SAS Reset Function.
My new clock spring broke right after I installed it.
If your newly installed clock spring failed right after you installed it, you or your mechanic did not install it correctly. The clock spring was not set in the center, and the ribbon inside stretched too much and broke when you turn the steering wheel to full left or right.
See the instructions above on how to set a clock spring in the center.