Jim Grant's Tech Tips
Town and Country, Whats A Clock Spring Do?
Q: Hello! I have a question about our Ď96
Town and Country. Our air bag light went on, horn stopped working, and
cruise control stopped functioning all at the same time. We had the van
looked at, thinking it was just a fuse problem. We were told that the
clock spring needs to be replaced. We understood the clock spring is involved
with the air bag, but the cruise control and horn, too? Does this sound
right to you? Do you have any other alternatives? We hate to drive around
like this any longer, as we feel that it isn't safe. If it is a clock
spring problem, is it common to have this break down in a vehicle with
no accidents, low mileage (just turned over 37k) and regular maintenance
clock spring is the name given to the wiring in the steering column that
goes to the steering wheel. The steering wheel on many vehicles today
is a control console in itself. The horn, cruise control, air bag and,
in some cases, radio controls are contained in the steering wheel. To
allow for this there is a coil of wire that looks somewhat like a clock
spring (thatís where the name comes from) that contains all the wires
necessary to allow the systems on the steering wheel to work. The wire
winds up and down as the steering is turned from left to right, etc....
Over time it is a given that a wire in this will fail. Yes your mileage
is low for this problem, but how many times has that steering wheel been
turned? It is likely the clock spring is your problem and replacement
is not that big of a job.