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.
In this article, we go over how to install a new clock spring correctly properly. 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, the new clock spring fails immediately. This, of course, leads to the airbag light coming on and a few other warning lights.
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.
Turn the clock’s inner part to the left without installing the new clock spring 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 in the center.
Install the steering wheel.
Setting the clock spring (centering the clock spring) is 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 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 should turn off the ABS and stability control light.
If the procedure above does not work, you need an OBD-II scanner to do a steering angle reset. Connect the scanner to the diagnosis port under the dashboard and follow the screen’s instructions to reset the steering angle sensor.
The YOUCANIC Full System Scanner can read and clear fault codes through every vehicle’s control module.
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 perform a steering angle reset and reset the stability control and ABS lights. Start the car and turn the steering wheel to the left, then to the right several 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 turned the steering wheel to full left or right.
See the instructions above on how to set a clock spring in the center.
We hope you find the How to Properly Set a New Clock Spring guide helpful. Check these troubleshooting and repair guides for more help on your vehicle.
Great article. I was able to install a used clock spring on my VW Jetta and has been working great. It’s been two weeks already no issue.