Steering wheel is one of the first places your eyes capture when you are sighting through the driver’s angle. As a car owner, how do you feel when one sees your steering wheel in a dilapidated state! Steering wheel can actually go bad. The being that years of use and exposure to the elements can damage the black plastic and rubber material covering old steering wheels to the point that they become a hazard to your hands and as well as an eyesore to the viewers.
Nothing makes a car show its age like cracking or peeling leather, and nothing is more front and centre than the vehicle’s steering wheel. Leather mainly ages due to poor maintenance and exposure to the sun as well as the natural oils and friction from our hands. Whether you just bought a used car with a peeling steering wheel, or you’ve neglected to use a leather conditioner to clean the wheel you’ve had for years, there are ways to repair this unsightly blemish on your vehicle.
Deteriorating leather may be fading, disintegrating or even cracking and tearing. In most cases the steering wheel that once slid so smoothly through hands now is uncomfortable to hold. So what do you do as the owner of the vehicle when you are experiencing this in your own car? There are several options for fixing this whole thing.
First Measure to Replace the Wheel
The processes of replacing a steering wheel is not a job to be taken lightly as it does involve disconnecting and reconnecting electrical wires, as well as avoiding the air bag that lies in your steering column not to damage. However if you feel you are capable, this task can be accomplished in a few easy steps.
The first thing you do is buy the wheel, remove your existing wheel, remove the cover and disassemble, disconnect the wires, centre and tighten the lug nut and lubricate.
Get a New or Used Steering Wheel
At this juncture, you need to buy a new or used steering wheel. There are different kinds of unique steering wheels online for sale. Whether you are looking for a gorgeous and unique new addition of flare, or you are just looking to replace the steering wheel with a newer version of the stock wheel that came on your car originally, the internet will have what you are looking for.
Regardless of what you buy, be sure that it fits the overall dimensions of your steering column. To find out what dimensions are specific to your make, model and year of vehicle, do a simple search online and see what information you can attain. If you are struggling with this, give the car manufacturer a call and they should be able to assist you and may even be able to sell you what you’re looking for.
Second option could be to take the steering wheel to a local mechanic to have a professional deal with the screws, wires, bolts and lug nuts. Having a steering wheel replaced at a local mechanic will cost you a little bit reasonable amount or tentatively on average $200 in labour costs.
Disassemble the Wheel
Once you find the wheel you want, you’ll have to take off the covering of the wheel that is standard on most modern steering wheels. You’ll want to be extremely careful when doing this not to cause permanent damage to the wheel. Each wheel will be a bit different, however most are held together with tiny screws that you’ll need to remove.
Disconnect the Wires
The new age steering wheel can perform all sorts of tasks with the simple press of the button. These features can be incredible for safety and keeping a driver fully focussed on the road, however when it comes to replacing a steering wheel, this is where it can be a little bit taxing.
Important note to take care of when dealing with live electrical wires, you’ll want to know what you are doing already. This article is not meant to teach you the safety concerns of trying to repair electrical connections. Please be sure to disconnect the battery if you are trying to work on your steering wheel yourself.
Additionally there is an airbag located in the steering wheel that helps prevent traffic fatalities. Unfortunately the velocity of which airbags deploy can be extremely dangerous themselves, especially for someone holding metal tools. You’ll want to be very careful not to disturb the air bag.
Find and disconnect the wire connectors on your steering wheel being sure not to cut or damage the wires themselves. If you do manage to tear, cut or damage the wires you’ll need to call a tow truck and get your car to a mechanic to see if they can undo this major oops.
Centre the Lug Nut
The next line of action is to focus on how to centre the lug nut. After the original steering wheel has come off, it should be simple to locate the lug nut at the centre of the steering column. You’ll be able to take off the lug nut using simple tools. Once you’ve removed the lug nut, set it aside in a safe place for re-instalment.
The line of action should focus on the area around the lug nut being greasy, as this helps the steering wheel turn which is a vital function of a steering wheel. If the area around your lug nut isn’t greased up you will want to lubricate it.
After installing the new steering wheel you will want to add extra lubrication to this area. Then simply reconnect the wires to the new steering wheel, secure it and attach any parts or covers that you had removed carefully not to damage them. That is just what is required to replace your car steering wheel.
Refurbishment of a Steering Wheel
If you want an expert to repair the steering wheel of your car you have options, finding someone locally who specializes in leather restoration in vehicles, or removing the steering wheel completely and having it sent out to a company.
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If you intend to ship out the steering wheel, consider having a mechanic remove it for you or review the safety measures needed to carry out this task successful. Below are some procedures and materials to fix your steering wheel.
You can alternately refurbish the steering wheel of the vehicle that is peeling yourself in 10 procedures given below, but before then here is what you need: Unwrap able fabric or a plastic tarp, Tape, Rubbing alcohol wipes or rubbing alcohol and a white cloth, 400 grit sand paper, Linseed oil, 2 small rags, Leather filler, Adhesion promoter, Leather dye, Sponge and as well as Gloves.
One of the procedures is: cover and protect the interior while the materials used to restore your steering wheel to its former glory are safe to use, they can discolour, stain or bleach other parts of the car they may come in contact with while you work. You’ll want to thoroughly cover the seats, dashboard, steering column, and floor of the driver’s side of the vehicle to make sure if these chemicals do drop here and there that they will only make contact with the protection you laid down. Use the fabric or tarp and secure them into place using tape where needed.
Second procedure is Clean the Steering Wheel
A car’s steering wheel is easily the filthiest component that lies within the cab of the vehicle. Over time a steering wheel will collect oils and dirt as well as any other junk on your hands. To clean the steering wheel, use a rubbing alcohol based wipe and wipe down the entire surface of the wheel, not just the part you will be restoring. You’ll likely find that the wipe is coming away dark with the dirt and oils it is grabbing from the steering wheel. Repeat this cleaning process until you are no longer removing impurities from the wheel.
Third Procedure is to cover the Details of the Steering Wheel with Masking Tape
Now that you’ve protected the other components of the vehicle you’ll want to cover up the non-leather parts of the steering wheel such as any plastic pieces, buttons or key areas. The cleaning and colouring agents you will be using can discolour and stain these pieces as well.
Fourth Procedure is Exfoliate the Leather
Next you’ll want to take a sand paper sheet that is about 400 grit to the steering wheel and really put some elbow grease in removing the flakes. Other than flake removal, exfoliating the leather leaves tiny cracks which will help the cleaning and painting agents do the best job.
Fifth Procedure is Add Healthy oil
The next thing you are going to do is to add back moisture to the leather by applying a healthy coating of linseed oil with the small cloth you have set aside. You don’t want to leave the wheel overly greasy but you do want to apply a decent amount. To achieve this, apply in small amounts until you get your desired result. Allow the oil to rest for ten minutes before you proceed.
Sixth Procedure is to fill the Gaps with Filler
The next procedure is to take the leather filler and apply to the areas of the wheel that are uneven, pressing down on those areas with your fingertips to really pack the filler in and get an even surface.
Seventh Procedure is Even it Out
Now, you’ll take the 400 grit sandpaper and again sand down the wheel giving extra attention to the areas that you filled with leather filler. This will really add an extra punch in packing down the filler and giving you a smooth finish.
Eight Procedures is Wipe the Wheel Clean
The next you’ll want to remove any residue from the flaked leather, use sandpaper and filler that may be left on the wheel. Any form of flakes or grains left behind will disrupt the next process so be sure to be exceptionally thorough in performing the task.
Ninth Procedures: Apply an Adhesion Promoter
Now apply the adhesion promoter to the steering wheel. An adhesion promoter helps in attaching the colour to the leather. What this does is makes the colour last and stick much longer and it also makes application of the dye easier for good looking.
Tenth procedure is Leather Dye Application
On this tenth procedure, you have to put on the gloves you have set aside and apply the leather ink to your clean sponge. Use the circular motions press the dye into the steering wheel using the sponge. You should start small and slowly build up the amount of dye you are applying so that you can get exactly the right colour for your vehicle. You can always add more, but once you’ve applied it, you won’t be able to remove it.
That is it. Allow the dye to dry according to the manufacturer’s specifications and seal if you desire. Your steering wheel won’t look completely brand new, but the coloration and texture will be far improved from where you began.
Therefore, from the information on how to fix your steering wheel, you can see that getting a good steering wheel is possible. You either fix or repair or you go for a new one. They are all available in the (market) online. Buying a steering wheel cover could be your cheapest option all depends on individual choice. You can purchase steering wheel covers in practically any colour or material your heart desires. However, it is important you go for something very colourful and beautiful, something you will like and enjoy.