What Is a Clock Spring in a Car?

by Johnno CaryUpdated August 02, 2023
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steering wheel image by BaSSaBaS from Fotolia.com

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.

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