Mechanic tells me I have to replace my clock spring
There are several reasons why you would need to replace your clock spring. However, you should know that it is a common practice for dealers and insurance companies to write up a repair order for the clockspring and yet it is truly not required. If you need a (NEW) clock spring we can not help you, however, if your connectors are melted we can sell you a pair of replacement connectors for you to fix your own clock spring.
First - during an accident certain vehicles steering wheel airbag cylinder will become so hot that it literally melts the plastic connectors the come from the clockspring and it will fuse together with the airbag cylinder. When this happens, you will either need to buy a new clockspring or buy replacement connectors. Buying connectors is a much more affordable option, but, you will need to splice or use the new connectors to mend your clock spring wires.
Second - if you've ever had any type of rack and pinion work or anything to do with your steering assembly it is possible that during the repairs, if the steering wheel was allowed to spin freely, that the clock spring was damaged. Most clock spring are allowed to spin two and half times in each direction. If they were not careful, going any further will break the connections inside. In this scenario you will need to buy a new clock spring or find a used one at a local salvage yard.
Third - over time, on some older vehicles, the clock springs internal bands become very brittle and start to break. Therefore, the outcome will be a loss of connectivity and that will result in the airbag light coming on. You will also you will need to buy a new clock spring or find a used one at a local salvage yard.