I’d like to replace the turn signal / headlight switch of my Toyota RAV4. This requires pulling the steering wheel and clockspring. Is this something a non-mechanic should be attempting?
I’d say no, you shouldn’t. The airbag can kill you, and if your skills are at a level that you need to ask about the job, they are not at a level where you should be fooling with the airbag.
I pulled the steering wheel on my bmw half a dozen times. I not only pulled it but I switched ro a euro spec wheel and changed the clockspring and rewired the turn signal.
the biggest thing is to cut the main power and wait 15 minutes to let the airbag sensors reset.
You need to make sure the steering wheel is centered. Pull the clock spring off in its centered state and don’t let it rotate any. Otherwise, when you reinstall it, you will tear the ribbon when you turn the wheel.
If for some reason you run into trouble, you won’t be able to drive the car to a shop to get it repaired. Something to consider.
How much auto repair have you done? Are you generally comfortable with changing out components in engine? If you’re comfortable working on your car, then it’s probably do-able. I would not recommend this as your first try at working on your car. Likely you will need to disconnect the battery so the airbag doesn’t accidentally inflate. Also check to see if there’s any weirdness like needing to reset the computer after the airbag has been uninstalled. Check youtube for tutorial videos to get a sense of the job and if you’re comfortable doing it.
You can do it, just find a youtube video, then set it aside to watch for tips. Make sure you disconnect the battery and then pull any relevant fuses for the air bag and ignition to be extra safe. Wait a few minutes for everything to drain. Just take it apart, replace what you need to and put it back together in reverse order. This is typically what I do when I fix stuff on my car and I am an amateur, I have taken mine off to replace a switch for hazard lights, did all of the above and didn’t get hit with an airbag. You should be fine. Just remember how everything goes and where it goes before you take it apart. You’ll be alright. clocksprings are not a big issue, they just keep the electricity flowing to all the gadgetry and airbag in the steering wheel while its turning. If extra worried, remove it with your head away from where it (the airbag) would likely deploy.
Are you certain this requires you to remove the steering wheel? They’re usually on the column behind the steering wheel and don’t usually require you to remove the wheel.
Steering wheel removal isn’t difficult. You MUST be sure to disconnect the battery before you start to render the airbag safe.
A few tips:
You might need a steering wheel puller,available at your local auto parts store. Sometimes wheels will come off easy,other times it’s like they’re welded in place.
Be sure your wheels are pointed straight ahead and before you remove the wheel, mark the steering column at the 12 o’clock position to make it easier to get the wheel back on in the correct position on the steering column spline.
What is a “euro spec” steering wheel?
The European version of the e36 came with a different , 3 spoke steering wheel. The us version was a 4 spoke and not as nice imho.
If it is a spring-loaded telescoping wheel, make sure that it is extended (spring no longer compressed) before you start to remove the wheel. I was knocked into the back seat of a 67 Toronado for not remembering that simple thing.
You should get the Haines Manual for your model year … maybe not this job, but I think the $25 investment would save you that much money some time for some thing …
The thread title is bit misleading … it’s very brave to pull the steering wheel off while you’re driving … and I can say from experience it’s also a good way to shut up a gaggle of pre-teen girls …
Taking it off is not so hard.
Getting it back on?
That is when the skill and knowledge are needed.
It’s easy. before you remove the clockspring assembly, tape it so that it doesn’t rotate. the airbag terminal (on the inflator itself) has an internal shunt which shorts the pins together once the connector is removed.
doesn’t work that way anymore.
While driving? Very brave indeed.
It uses metric pi - the wheel is rounder than American wheels. It throws off the steering ratio.
Came here to say this.