2012 Kia Optima

Hey guys,

I’m not very familiar with cars and really need help. My transmission broke right before my warranty was up and I was very lucky to get it fixed for free. To be honest, I couldn’t afford the $3,000 they quoted me to begin with. I have always had really good experiences with mechanics and find that it seems to be a pretty honest profession. This time seems different though. I went to pick up my car and the transmission was great, but the traction control light and airbag light were on and none of the steering wheel functions worked anymore (horn, cruise, radio). I called the shop and they said that it must be a coincidence because they wouldn’t have touched anything having to do with the steering column and that the steering column needed to be replaced. That made sense to me and I kind of went on with my life. I have been hesitant to drive my car without the horn or airbags working and usually having my kids in the car, but I have had to drive it because I do not have the $3000 to fix this now. I finally took it to a different shop and I explained the situation. He said that it sounds like they may have damaged the clock spring? When removing the frame or something. Does this make sense? I would really like to talk to the service manager of Kia and try to get them to fix it if they did break it, but I do not know much about cars and feel like he will push my questions aside again. Can someone please help? Thank you.

Sounds like they didn’t lock the steering wheel before disconnecting the steering shaft from the rack and pinion so the sub frame could be lowered.

Go back and tell the manager that the car was returned to you with a broken clockspring after the transmission repair.

If you have to pay a different shop to replace the clockspring it is about $110 and one hour of labor, more if your car has heated seats.

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fyi, controls on the steering wheel have to connect via wires to electronic modules attached to the car body. Since the steering wheel turns, that requires some kind of flexible wire arrangement in between the steering wheel and the car’s body which allows you to turn the steering wheel while not breaking the wires or pulling apart the connections in the process. That part is called the clock-spring. Normally the steering wheel can’t go beyond a certain number of turns in either direction due to a mechanical stop, which protects the clock spring from damage. But certain repairs can bypass that stop, so to protect the clock spring the steering wheel must first be locked into position during those kinds of repairs.

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