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What is an Airbag Clockspring?
The airbag system, also referred to as the Supplemental Restraint System (SRS), is one of the most important safety features in your car. When your car is involved in an accident, the numerous airbags throughout the car are inflated and deployed, cushioning your body as it moves with the impact of the collision. At the very least, this can keep you from some serious bruises and cuts. At the best, it can save your life.
The clockspring is part of the driver’s airbag system. It’s located directly behind the steering wheel, right in front of you. The clockspring contains a series of wires that transmit electricity. These wires power the deployment of the airbag if you’re in an accident.
But they also do a fair it more. Those wires also power the horn, and all the other features of your car that are connected to the steering wheel. Cruise control? Those wires are part of the airbag clockspring. Stereo volume buttons on your steering wheel? Gets its electricity through the airbag clockspring.
So, the clockspring, while a vital safety feature that is an integral part of your airbag system, does a lot more than just help control the airbags. In other words: It’s pretty darn important.
Thankfully, the airbag clockspring is highly durable. In most cases, it will last for the life of your car, unless you’re involved in an accident that deploys the airbag.
Symptoms of a failing Airbag Clockspring
Airbag has been deployed
If you’re in an accident, the driver’s side airbag will likely deploy. The airbag clockspring will do it’s job, providing the electricity necessary to get the airbag to deploy. That might save your life!
But after the excitement of having your life saved, reality sets in, and you remember that you’ve got some damage to your car that needs to be fixed or replaced. And that includes your airbag clockspring.
Electrical components aren’t working
The wiring in the airbag clockspring gets electricity to your car’s steering wheel-mounted components.
So, if your horn isn’t working, or the stereo controls on the steering wheel aren’t working, or whatever other gadgets your car has on the steering wheel, then you’ve likely got an airbag clockspring issue.
The clockspring may not sound like an important part of your car, but as soon as you start experiencing these failures, you’ll realize just how vital it is. And you’ll be annoyed when that jerk cuts you off and nothing happens as you repeatedly smash the horn.
Airbag warning light comes on
Warning lights are extremely important, and serve to…well, warn you. And you’d be wise to listen.
Most modern cars have airbag warning lights. You might see the word “airbag” illuminated, or perhaps just “SRS.” Either way, pay attention. That’s your safety system we’re dealing with. It’s not to be taken lightly. Get it? Lightly? Nevermind. Just pay attention to the light.
How urgent is an Airbag Clockspring replacement?
Your car will drive fine even with a malfunctioning clockspring. But you’ll be without some key electrical components, and, more dangerously, without your steering wheel airbag. Don’t be foolish and get it fixed immediately.