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Gary, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Subaru
Satisfied Customers: 1052
Experience:  Senior Technician
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I have a 2013 Impreza sport. The left paddle shifter quit

Customer Question

I have a 2013 Impreza sport. The left paddle shifter quit working. Then the buttons on the steering wheel including the blue tooth, cruise control, and radio controls, then the right shifter. Nothing on the steering wheel works now. Also, an air bag light is on the dash. What is wrong and why did it wait until the warranty expired before going bad?
JA: Have you checked the fuses? The dashboard bulbs?
Customer: Checked all fuses. Not bulbs but they seem to be working
JA: What is the make/model of your car?
Customer: 2013 subaru impreza sport
JA: Are you fixing your Impreza Sport yourself? What have you tried so far?
Customer: I do as much work myself as I can. The only thing I have done is checked fuses. I also checked codes and none were flagged
JA: Anything else you want the mechanic to know before I connect you?
Customer: That is it. My wife uses the blue tooth alot. Needs to use it again. Already got a ticket
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Subaru
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

Hello there,

The steering wheel clockspring is probably the cause of failure.

Has the car had a steering rack replaced recently, or any other work to do with the steering?

How many miles? Subaru might look after you on this.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Currently the car has 50k miles. No work on the steering
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

Sounds like just one of those things.

50k, I would think if you have good service history, they may come to an agreement.

Lots of dealers do.

Best for them to look at it.

The "clockspring" is a flat ribbon cable wound up in a case fitted at the top of the column.

It allows use of all the steering wheel functions while allowing the wheel to turn lock to lock.

Hope this helps.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Local Subaru dealer sucks. Will need to find someone else. Any price range for this repair. I live on Maui. Limited choices
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

Sorry to hear you have limited choices.

As an estimate, it could cost you about $500.

Here is picture of one similar:

This one is used, so I would not recommend that.

As much as you feel the dealer sucks, I think it would still be better to at least get a quote from them first.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Does it run the shifters, radio, blue tooth, cruise control and air bag
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

That I do not know by looking at that photo.

That is only an example.

That may not fit your car.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
How does the clock spring go bad?
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

Generally breaks a wire within the ribbon cable.

Could be a poor connection where the ribbon conductors are terminated at the connectors.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Is there anyway to test it without tearing apart the steering wheel?
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

Not really.

If you have lost all or most functions of the wheel, then the airbag needs to come off to start.

It could be a poor connection within clockspring circuitry, that may come good with just disturbing it.

In which case some contact cleaner and/or dielectric grease may help.


Customer: replied 9 months ago.
All functions are gone have not checked the horn. Any diagrams or instructions available on line?
Expert:  Gary replied 9 months ago.

Hello again,

Unless you done something like this before, I would not attempt to do this.

Here is a similar car to yours:

Head the airbag warning about injury or death.

This will get you to the clockspring.

Subaru would do this in an hour.