Are all of the components in your car’s supplemental restraint system, better known as your air bag system, working the way they’re supposed to? If not, it could make your car unsafe to drive! You could put yourself into harm’s way in the event of an accident if everything from your air bag clockspring to your air bag itself aren’t in good condition.
If you’re scratching your head right now and saying, “My air bag clock-what?”, you’re not alone! There are lots of people who aren’t familiar with what the air bag clocksprings in their cars are. You should familiarize yourself with what an air bag clockspring is today, and you should also learn about some of the signs that’ll let you know that your air bag clockspring has gone bad on you. Continue reading to discover more about air bag clocksprings.
What Is an Air Bag Clockspring and How Does It Work?
While a lot of people haven’t ever heard of the air bag clockspring in their cars, it’s actually one of the most important aspects of your air bag system. It’s the part that’s responsible for connecting the air bag on the driver’s side of your car to the steering column. It’s also the part that’s in charge of maintaining an electrical connection between your car’s air bag module and your car’s electrical system when you turn the steering wheel.
So, how exactly does the air bag clockspring in your car work? It’s not too difficult to understand. Here is a basic breakdown of what your air bag clockspring does:
- Your air bag clockspring is mounted on your car’s steering column right behind your steering wheel
- It consists of a handful of small wires that are wound tightly and positioned between two plates
- The wires in your air bag clockspring rotate when you turn your car’s steering wheel to the left or right
- The wires in your air bag clockspring help to keep everything from your air bag to your horn to the buttons for your radio, cruise control, etc. connected at all times
As long as everything is A-OK with your car’s air bag clockspring, you shouldn’t ever experience any issues with things like your air bag or horn. But if your air bag clockspring ever goes bad on you, that’s when problems will start to pop up.
How Often Should Air Bag Clocksprings Be Replaced?
Part of the reason why a lot of people aren’t aware of the fact that their air bag clocksprings even exist is because they’re not parts that people have to worry about replacing very often. The air bag clockspring in your car should last for the lifetime of your car without ever having to be replaced.
There are, however, some issues that can cause complications in your car and lead to your air bag clockspring going bad. Take a look at some of the things that can go wrong with your air bag clockspring:
- It can go bad if the wires inside of it become brittle and begin to break
- It can go bad if you ever have service done to your car’s steering wheel and the technician working on it gets sloppy
- It can go bad if you’re involved in a car accident and your air bag is deployed
As we mentioned earlier, you shouldn’t have to be too concerned about anything happening to your air bag clockspring. It should continue to do its job for as long as you have your car. But you should be on the lookout for any signs that could show that there’s something wrong with your air bag clockspring so that you can have it fixed right away.
What Are the Signs of a Bad Air Bag Clockspring?
More often than not, air bag clocksprings that go bad will experience problems because the wires inside of them start to fall apart. This might happen because of old age, or it might happen when a vehicle owner is in an accident. But regardless, it’s important for you to know about the signs that’ll show you that you have a bad air bag clockspring. Keep scrolling to read about the 3 most common signs of a bad air bag clockspring.
1. The Air Bag Warning Light Comes On in Your Car
When you first start up your car, it’s not uncommon for your car’s air bag warning light to appear on your dashboard for a second or two. This is not something that you’ll need to worry about too much. But if you see the air bag warning light come on in your car and stay on, that is definitely going to be a problem that you’ll need to address!
When the air bag warning light appears in your car, it means that your air bag isn’t going to be ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice. This could result in you getting seriously hurt in an accident. There are a bunch of things that can cause this light to come on, but oftentimes, it’ll be the result of a bad air bag clockspring.
To get your air bag warning light to go back off, you might need to have your air bag clockspring replaced. This will be the only surefire way to get your air bag warning light to go off and stay off for good. You’ll need to have a technician address this particular problem since it’s not something you’ll want to take care of on your own.
2. The Horn in Your Car Stops Working
Have you noticed that your horn doesn’t work when you push down on it anymore? There are several things that can cause this, with one of them being a bad air bag clockspring. If your horn only works intermittently or if it doesn’t work at all, a bad air bag clockspring could be to blame for it.
When this is the case, you’ll usually notice that more than just your horn will stop working. Things like your radio and your cruise control might also conk out on you since the buttons located on your steering wheel won’t be able to do their jobs. You’re going to need to have your air bag clockspring repacked in many cases to get them all working like normal again.
3. Smoke Starts Emerging From Your Steering Wheel
In an absolute worst-case scenario, a bad air bag clockspring could cause your car to start smoking. Specifically, you may notice that smoke will start to come from your steering wheel when you have a bad air bag clockspring on your hands.
The smoke will start to form when the wires in your air bag clockspring start to break and electric arcing occurs. That electric arcing is going to cause a little bit of smoke at first before eventually causing a whole lot of smoke to shoot out from your steering wheel.
This is obviously not a good sign! It’s not good at all since it could lead to more serious problems and potentially put you in great danger if you’re not careful. If you ever see smoke coming from your steering wheel, it’ll be one of the most obvious signs that you need to schedule air bag clockspring replacement ASAP.
Is It Safe to Drive With a Bad Air Bag Clockspring?
If you have a strong suspicion that the air bag clockspring in your car might be bad, you might be able to get away with driving around with it in your car for a little while. But this wouldn’t necessarily be the wisest idea in the world.
You could put your own safety and the safety of others both inside and outside of your car at risk if you drive around with a bad air bag clockspring. Here are just some of the problems that you might face when you have a air bag clockspring in your car that’s no longer able to do its job:
- Your air bags might not deploy if you’re involved in a car accident
- You might not be able to use your horn to alert other drivers to danger, which could result in you getting into an accident (and your air bag not going off during it!)
- You might accidentally start a fire in your car due to the electric arcing and smoke that can take place when an air bag clockspring has gone bad
If you see any of the signs that we spoke about a few moments ago, they should let you know that you need to at least consider doing air bag clockspring replacement. You could find yourself in a world of trouble if you ignore them.
How Is an Air Bag Clockspring Replaced?
Replacing a bad air bag clockspring isn’t the most challenging job in the world. But it is one that you should leave up to the professionals. It can be difficult to access the air bag clockspring in your car, and it can also be tough for the average person to put a new air bag clockspring into place.
When you first suspect problems with your air bag clockspring, you should take your car to your mechanic and let them know about it. They’ll use a special scan tool to check on your car’s electrical system to see if you do, in fact have a bad air bag clockspring. If you do, they’ll then follow these steps to replace your air bag clockspring:
- They’ll disconnect your car’s battery so that your supplemental restraint system is disarmed
- They’ll remove both your driver’s side airbag and your steering wheel
- They’ll take off the trim components for your steering column so that they can get to the wiring harness that is connected to your car’s air bag clockspring
- They’ll disconnect the harness for your car’s air bag clockspring
- They’ll remove the bad air bag clockspring and install a new one in its place
- They’ll put the trim components for the steering column, the steering wheel, and the air bag back into place
- They’ll reconnect the battery and reset the supplemental restraint system with special software
A good mechanic should be able to work their way through these steps without any problems at all. But it’s not something that you’re going to want to do yourself while replacing a bad air bag clockspring.
How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Bad Air Bag Clockspring?
Ideally, you should hope that you don’t ever have to replace a bad air bag clockspring in your car because it’s not that inexpensive to do it. It’s nowhere near as expensive as replacing an air bag, but it can be costly in some cases.
On average, this is what you’re going to have to pay to replace a bad air bag clockspring in your car:
- Right around $300 for a new air bag clockspring
- Somewhere between $90 and $120 for labor
- For a grand total of about $400 for air bag clockspring replacement
The cost to replace a bad air bag clockspring might deter you from doing it. But if you’re planning on keeping your car for at least a little while longer, you don’t ever want to get caught driving around in it with a bad air bag clockspring. That could prove to be a recipe for disaster.
How to Sell a Car With a Bad Air Bag Clockspring
If you don’t want to hang onto an old car with a bad air bag clockspring in it, we don’t blame you one bit! It’s not safe to drive it, and it’s also not going to be cheap to fix it. So, why not do the next best thing to fixing it and sell it instead?
Cash Cars Buyer can make you a great offer for your old car, even if it has a faulty air bag clockspring in it. To get an offer from us, all you have to do is let us know a little bit more about your car (make and model, year, mileage, etc.) and then sit back and wait. We’ll let you know what we would be willing to pay for your car and arrange to come and pick it up from you if you accept our offer.
Interested in learning more about our process? Contact us today to get additional information on selling your car to Cash Cars Buyer!