Clockspring airbag – link between steering column and steering wheel

VEMO clocksprings in OE quality for the most common vehicle applications

Clocksprings play a key role in modern vehicle technology. The inconspicuous component acts as an electromechanical control centre between the fixed steering column and the movable steering wheel. Its function goes far beyond the transmission of the airbag ignition pulse and ensures a reliable connection of various control signals that influence our driving comfort and safety. If the airbag clockspring is defective, VEMO offers repair solutions in OE quality.

VEMO Clockspring for VW
Clockspring, airbag V10-72-1248

What does a clockspring do?

The airbag clockspring is the link between the fixed steering column and the moving steering wheel in the vehicle. Originally developed to transmit the ignition impulse of the airbag, its function has expanded over time. Today, the clockspring transmits additional control signals for important components such as the horn and steering wheel remote control. But how exactly does it fulfil these tasks?

A special conductive film is concealed inside a closed housing. This is designed in such a way that it can easily follow the rotary movement of the steering wheel in every conceivable direction without being damaged. The clockspring ensures that the electrical connection between the fixed steering column and the movable steering wheel is maintained

There are also variants in which sliding contacts are combined with the clockspring. In these cases, the sliding contact usually only controls certain functions such as the horn, while the airbag clockspring transmits the more complex signals for the steering wheel remote control and other electronic systems.

Wickelfeder von Vemo

Causes of a defective clockspring

Although clocksprings are known for their reliability, various factors can lead to failure.

❌ Wear and tear

Clocksprings are subject to mechanical loads, particularly when the vehicle is being steered. Over time, wear can develop, leading to an interruption or impairment of the electrical connection.

❌ Corrosion

Moisture and other environmental influences can lead to corrosion on the contact surfaces of the clockspring. This can lead to poor electrical conductivity and ultimately impair the function of the airbag system.

❌ Vibrations and shocks

The operation of a vehicle is often accompanied by vibrations and shocks, which can affect the components in the vehicle. These vibrations can loosen or damage the clockspring, which can lead to failure.

❌ Incorrect installation or assembly

Incorrect installation or assembly during vehicle manufacture or maintenance can lead to inadequate electrical connections or mechanical problems that can impair the function.

❌ Temperature fluctuations

Extreme temperature fluctuations to which a vehicle is exposed can lead to thermal expansion and contraction, which in turn can affect the components in the clockspring. This can lead to undesirable mechanical tension or electrical interruptions.

Lenkrad Wickelfeder

Symptoms of a defect

A defect in the airbag clockspring can be recognised by various symptoms.

❌ Faulty airbag warning light

One of the most obvious signs of problems with the airbag clockspring, often referred to as the slip ring, is the illumination of the airbag warning light on the dashboard. This may indicate that the airbag system is not working properly and requires repair.

❌ Faulty deployment of the airbag

If the slip ring is not functioning properly, this can result in the airbag not deploying when it is needed or accidentally deploying when there is no collision. Both scenarios are potentially dangerous and require an immediate check of the airbag system.

❌ Failure of the horn or steering wheel control

As the clockspring can also be responsible for transmitting signals for the horn or steering wheel controls, failures in these areas can indicate a defective slip ring. This can manifest itself in the failure of the horn or problems with the operation of steering wheel controls such as cruise control or the audio system.

❌ Grinding or rattling noises

A damaged or worn slip ring can cause unusual noises, especially when turning the steering wheel. These can be grinding, scratching or rattling noises that indicate a mechanical defect.

❌ Electrical failures

A slip ring failure can also lead to other electrical problems in the vehicle, e.g. failure of the windscreen wiper, steering wheel heating or other functions that depend on the slip ring.

❌ Malfunctions of the steering wheel

Problems with the slip ring can also manifest themselves in the behaviour of the steering wheel, e.g. unusual resistance when turning the steering wheel or a spongy steering feel.

Clockspring, airbag
Clockspring, airbag V10-73-0202

Clocksprings from VEMO

VEMO has established itself as a renowned manufacturer in the field of vehicle electronics and offers repair solutions for clocksprings in OE quality. These are characterised by precise design and high-quality workmanship.

Clocksprings are an important part of automotive technology. Although they often work in the background, they are crucial to occupant safety and help to ensure that airbags are deployed exactly when they are needed. Their reliability and quality are crucial for the safety and protection of vehicle occupants. Discover the complete VEMO clocksprings range here. Clockspring airbag from VEMO

Jens Reimers

Product Manager

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