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As you grip your steering wheel you notice the peeling or cracked leather, oh how it feels disturbingly unpleasant. The leather on the steering wheel has been having an appearance of an otherwise cracked desert floor. How can you fix the peeling and leather on your steering wheel? Well, you’re in luck because this guide aims to tackle your steering wheel restoration.
Before we get to your steering wheel restoration though let’s talk about how this can happen. If you already know and want to skip to the “How To Fix Peeling Leather Steering Wheel Step by Step” that’s ok too. These next sections will just go over why the leather on the steering wheel can peel and why restoring a steering wheel is a good idea.
How Steering Wheels Age
Over time as you drive all the dirt and grime you have on your hands builds up on steering wheels. Whether it is your own steering wheel or the steering wheels of your friend’s cars sooner or later it may start to feel disturbingly awkward to hold your wheel. That is where the “Restore Steering Wheels” and all those guides come in handy. Just like this one that aims to do the very same thing, only better.
Over time as you use the wheel to drive all that gunk gets into the cracks and crevices that ultimately form on leather steering wheels. This is due to the leather not being cared for properly with leather conditioner and other products that may help prevent it from cracking and helping that leather to look new.
None of this is your fault by any means. It can be hard to remember all the things you need to take care of. Honestly if you did there would be no need for restoring steering wheel guides. Between all that grime and the sun, it causes the leather to crack, losing that new appearance, and making it cruddy to use.
The goal of steering wheel restoration is to try to get the wheel back to like-new condtion. When we’re done with the process I think you’ll be very impressed with how close we can get a steering wheel back to an almost new state.
Why Restore Your Old Leather Steering Wheel?
Before we proceed to the steering wheel restoration part you may be asking yourself this question. Why bother with steering wheel restoration when you can just forget that old leather steering wheel and buy yourself a new one. This is quite easy to answer actually. If the steering wheel is old enough there might not be a replacement for it, or perhaps it is in a car that holds sentimental value and you want it to remain as close to original as possible. Not to mention, the cost of a new steering wheel usually is quite expensive.
With this in mind, it becomes much more worthy to attempt steering wheel restoration. Especially if this is a car that has been in your family for generations then by restoring the steering wheel several of your loved ones may thank you, or you can just thank yourself for a job well done. No matter the case there are a good number of reasons to taking on restoring this or any other leather steering wheel, so put your fears aside, and let’s move forward with the steering wheel restoration.
How To Fix Peeling Leather Steering Wheel - Step by Step
Things You’ll Need
- Towel/Tarp/Sheet – This will be to cover your car’s interior and protect it while doing your steering wheel restoration.
- Masking Tape – Use tape to cover up anything that is not leather on your steering wheel to protect it
- 600-1200 Grit Sandpaper – Using this range of grit sandpaper will remove any bumps and scruffs to return your steering wheel to a nice smooth feel just like when it was
- Leather Filler – Any missing chucks will need this stuff to help get your steering wheel back to feeling new as well
- Dye – Dye will help turn your steering wheel back to a new looking color
- Sponges – They probably don’t need an explanation but this will be what you use to wipe the dye onto the steering wheel new
Following these steps for restoring a steering wheel to an almost new state should be a breeze. The hope is it is not beyond repair and that your steering wheel restoration will put that leather back to almost new and help you to be happy to use it again, just like before the wheel restoration.
First, let’s protect your car’s interior. Take the towel, tarp, or sheet you have and cover everything you can to protect it from dust and the dye you will be working with. Also, take the masking tape and cover anything you can’t cover with the cloth and that is not leather. If you get any of the leather dye your working with on anything but leather it could cause discoloration.
Next, it is time to thoroughly clean your steering wheel. You can use this leather cleaner by Chemical Guys, and this leather cleaning brush that I recommend. This will also be handy to keep around to help keep that leather steering wheel looking new after the steering wheel restoration.
You want to remove all the old, peeling stuff off from the leather as much as possible. This is going to lay the foundation for the leather filler and the dye. The cleaner you get the leather the less you’ll have to work in the other steps.
Now it’s time to grab your leather filler. This is the stuff that will fill in any big cracks or crevices. The idea is getting the wheel as close to new as possible and the leather cleaner will help do that. A good leather filler will really restore that old brittle leather and have it really looking like new.
This is a great area to grab your sponges and start to apply the filler. Try to get every single spot so you can level out the leather. Don’t worry so much about getting it even, because after it dries you can begin using your 600-1200 grit sandpaper to smooth it out and get that leather leveled out.
Let the leather filler dry completely before continuing on with this step. Once the leather is dry you can take your 600-1200 grit sandpaper and start smoothing out all the leather and making as smooth and the same level as it was when it was new. This portion is a feel as you go as you level all the leather.
After you have the leather filler distributed throughout the steering wheel, and it actually feels like smooth leather again, it is time to wipe the dye around it. This will make the steering wheel look like a whole new wheel! After you thoroughly apply the dye let it dry and perhaps consider putting a clear coat on later as well as this will help to protect the new leather even further.
Once it is all completely dry remove all the tape and cloth. Your wheel should be back to feeling and looking as good as it did when it left the dealership.
The touchless method is primarily about minimizing opportunities to cause swirls and scratches in the clear coat of your car.
Washing a car by physically touching it is the most likely time that swirls and scratches will be caused. Reducing the number of times it will need to be washed by physically placing hands onto the finish will help keep your car looking showroom new longer.
Even though you likely won’t be able to use this method as the only way you wash your car or truck, it’s a great way to keep your car clean longer and postpone having to do a hands-on car wash.
It also makes washing easier to do which means you’ll be less likely to procrastinate giving your vehicle a good wash.