How Much Does Clock Spring Replacement Cost?

Last Updated on March 12, 2024
Written by CPA Alec Pow | Content Reviewed by Certified CFA CFA Alexander Popinker

Found behind your vehicle’s steering wheel, the clock spring allows electrical signals to pass from the steering wheel to the airbag module and other components while still allowing the wheel to turn. Over time, this important part can wear out or fail, necessitating replacement. But how much does it cost to replace a faulty clock spring?

The total cost you’ll face depends on several variables, especially your vehicle’s make and model, the mechanic’s hourly labor rate, your choice of original equipment (OEM) or aftermarket parts, and any additional repairs needed. By understanding what influences clock spring replacement costs, you can budget appropriately and prioritize this important service for continued driving safety and functionality.

How Much Does Clock Spring Replacement Cost?

Total costs for a clock spring replacement typically range $200-$600 on average, with luxury vehicles and SUVs at the higher end.

For a standard passenger vehicle, you can expect approximately:

  • Parts$150-$300 for an OEM clock spring, $75-$150 for aftermarket
  • Labor– 1-3 hours for proper removal and installation, so $70-$450 depending on mechanic hourly rate
  • Additional simultaneous repairs could drive the final price up further.

There are too many vehicle variables to provide an exact universal quote range, but these figures apply to most common consumer models.

Always get an estimate tailored specifically to the year, make, and model of your vehicle from a trusted mechanic. Their expertise is invaluable for an accurate quote.

A Reddit user mentioned that the cost of a clock spring replacement for a Toyota Corolla 2016 can range from $70 to $300, with options available online. They also highlighted potential issues a broken clock spring can cause in the vehicle.

A forum discussion from iRV2 Forums mentioned a cost of $1366.93 for a clock spring replacement, emphasizing the importance of proper diagnostic equipment for accurate pricing.

Oards notes that the cost of replacing a clock spring is estimated to be between $100 and $200 for the part, with labor costs ranging up to $400. The total cost can vary depending on the vehicle model and the complexity of the installation process. provides aftermarket airbag clocksprings priced between $50 to $400, with additional labor costs ranging from $80 to $150 depending on location and vehicle model.

CarAdvise reports an average cost of $322 for an airbag clockspring replacement, with prices typically ranging between $171 and $870, offering potential savings of 10-40% on vehicle maintenance services.

The Clock Spring and Its Purpose

The clock spring is a coiled spiral ribbon of wires housed in a cylinder located behind the steering wheel, connecting the steering column and dashboard section to components inside the wheel itself.

As you turn the steering wheel left and right, the clock spring allows the steering wheel housing (and wheel-mounted components) to rotate while maintaining continuous electrical connections through the coils. This uninterrupted connectivity is critical for:

  • Airbag system function
  • Horn operation
  • Steering wheel adjustment controls
  • Cruise control switches
  • Infotainment buttons, voice controls, etc.

When the internal cables inside the clock spring become cracked or severed from wear and tear over tens of thousands of miles, these features can be lost or disrupted, creating potential safety issues and driver inconvenience. So, replacing a faulty clock spring promptly is imperative.

Signs You May Need Clock Spring Replacement

Some common indicators that the clock spring in your vehicle is damaged and due for replacement include:

  • The airbag warning light comes on your dash
  • Loss of horn function or controls on your steering wheel like cruise settings
  • Hearing unusual noises from the wheel area when turning
  • Difficulty aligning the wheel properly in the center position
  • A history of a front-end collision, which could have compromised the integrity of the coils

If you experience any of these symptoms, have your mechanic do a thorough inspection and electrical testing focused specifically on the condition of the clock spring unit. Catching issues early prevents more extensive damage down the road.

You might also like our articles about the cost of a car computer, broken axle repair, and coil pack replacement.

Factors Affecting Replacement Cost

Several important considerations affect what you’ll ultimately pay out of pocket for your vehicle’s clock spring replacement service:

  • Vehicle year, make and model– Parts and labor times vary widely. Luxury brands tend to cost more.
  • Original equipment vs. aftermarket parts– Factory OEM components are generally pricier than third-party replacements.
  • Mechanic’s hourly labor rate– Dealerships can charge $125-$150/hour, independent specialty shops charge $70-$100/hour on average.
  • Accessibility– If the clock spring is hard to reach, more labor time is required for careful removal and installation.
  • Additional repairs needed– If other components like airbags were also damaged, total costs add up.
  • Local market prices– Both parts and labor rates differ regionally. Larger cities are typically more costly.

Is DIY Clock Spring Replacement Realistic?

With some automotive repair knowledge and skills, DIY clock spring replacement is possible on some vehicles, saving on labor costs. However, there are a few important cautions:

  • Accessing the spring requires airbag module removal. This involves disabling the battery and airbag – not for novices.
  • Safely disposing of the airbag module requires special handling.
  • Improper installation can disable airbags or other critical functions, creating major safety risks.

For most car owners, professional installation is highly recommended to ensure correct handling of airbag components and appropriate function testing that identifies any underlying issues.

Choosing a Shop – Dealer vs Independent Mechanic

The repair facility where you have the work performed is another factor impacting the total replacement bill:

  • Dealership service departments typically charge top hourly rates given specialized training, but may offer greater familiarity specifically with your vehicle’s configuration and repair procedures.
  • Independent mechanics can provide lower shop rates and greater price flexibility, but expertise varies widely – focus your search on those specializing in your particular vehicle make.

When obtaining estimates, ask pointed questions about the mechanic’s direct experience with your vehicle model, what components may still be covered by factory warranty, and request a detailed written quote breaking out parts, labor, taxes, etc. Consider both price and proven qualifications.

Warranty Coverage and Insurance Implications

Clock Spring PieceBefore proceeding with repairs, review your vehicle warranty information to see if the clock spring replacement would still be covered within a certain time period or mileage limitation. This is more common for newer vehicles.

If you need a new clock spring due to a collision, your car insurance policy may help cover repair costs if you have the appropriate coverage and pay the deductible. But this could increase your premiums at renewal time. Weigh the trade-offs carefully.

Tips to Save Money

Here are a few professional tips to control costs if you face a clock spring replacement:

  • If the spring is still functional, you may be able to delay replacement until you can budget or bundle it with other major service needs. But don’t wait if it’s impacting safety.
  • Ask the mechanic to source quality affordable aftermarket parts to save over OEM. But don’t skimp on quality.
  • Seek price quotes from multiple shops to compare rates if possible. But prioritize certified mechanics experienced specifically with your vehicle’s model.
  • For older high mileage vehicles, consider replacing just the minimum components needed like the spring rather than the whole airbag module assembly.
  • If replacing the spring due to an accident, negotiate with insurance for OEM parts to maximize safety and function.

Final Words

Your vehicle’s clock spring is a small but vital component for maintaining proper airbag, steering wheel control, and horn function. Plan for $200-$600 on average to have this part professionally replaced if problems arise. While costs vary based on the mechanic, parts used, and your specific vehicle, addressing clock spring issues promptly helps sustain safe drivability.

Frequently Asked Questions

When should I replace my clock spring?

You should replace a damaged or failing clock spring as soon as any symptoms appear, such as airbag warning lights, loss of horn or wheel controls, difficulty aligning the wheel, or noises during turning. Early replacement helps prevent further issues.

Is it necessary to have a clock spring?

Yes, a working clock spring is required for proper airbag deployment and other critical functions in modern cars. Driving with a damaged clock spring is extremely unsafe for both drivers and passengers. Replacement should happen immediately.

How long does a clock spring last?

Most factory-installed clock springs are designed to operate reliably for at least 100,000 miles. However, premature failure can occur due to accidents, improper wheel alignments, aggressive driving habits, or defective parts. Address any clock spring issues promptly.

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