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What Is a Clock Spring in a Car?

by Adam Bowser

Hundreds of car parts work together to allow the driver control over the vehicle. The clock spring is one of those parts that works directly with the steering wheel. It allows the car's wheel to be turned in a circle while maintaining an electrical connection with the wiring system.

Clock Spring Description

Clock spring coils come in different sizes depending on the car. The clock spring winds unique electric conductor tape and is housed in a plastic retainer. It is located in between the steering wheel and the column. The electrical connector on the clock spring has a long conductive ribbon.

Clock Spring Fuctions

The wires from the airbag electrical system connect through the base of the clock spring's electrical connector to the end of the conductive ribbon. The other end of the ribbon is attached through the wires on the top of the clock spring's electrical connector to the air bag unit. As the steering wheel revolves, the conductive ribbon coils and uncoils allowing electrical contact between the electrical systems.

Clock Spring Alternative Names

While the function stays the same with all car clock springs, different spellings and names exist for this car part. Alternative names for the clock springs are clock spring coil, coil assembly, cable reel assembly, coil spring unit and contact reel.


About the Author

Adam Bowser has written professionally for more than five years. He has published articles for the "UW-M Leader," "Online Magazine" and numerous library newsletters and blogs. He holds a certificate in Genealogical Research. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in information resources and a Master of Library and Information Science—both from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

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