Replacing your steering wheel isn’t the most difficult task in the world but it does require some patience. With most modern cars, you also have to deal with the airbag but that only involves two extra bolts and connectors.
Whether your steering wheel has an air bag or not, our guide walks you through each step to change a steering wheel.
What You’ll Need
- Mechanics socket set
- Breaker bar
- Allen key set
- Ratchet (optional)
How To Change A Steering Wheel
1. Disconnect The Battery
In order to remove a steering wheel, it’s crucial that the battery is disconnected beforehand.
2. Remove Airbag Mounting Bolts
If you are changing a steering wheel that features an airbag, you’ll need to remove it first. To begin, you need to locate the mounting bolts, which are often located at the backside of the steering wheel and come as pair.
With the ignition on and the battery disconnected, you can turn the steering wheel to a position so that the mounting bolts are easily accessible and removable with Allen keys.
You can then remove the first mounting bolt and then turn the steering wheel 180 degrees to remove the other.
Once both bolts have been removed, you should be able to pull the airbag from the steering wheel with the wires still connected ready for the next stage.
3. Disconnect Airbag Wiring Connectors
Now that the airbag has been disconnected from the steering wheel, you’ll be able to see various connectors attached to it. These include colour coded connectors that are for the airbag deployment and the car’s horn.
The airbag’s connectors are blue and green whereas the horn is black, which can be seen in the image where we are removing the airbag connector
You should be able to unclip the connectors with your hands but if not, you may need to use a screwdriver. Once the airbag and horn connectors have been removed, you should be able to pull out the airbag completely.
4. Locate & Remove Mounting Bolt
With the airbag completely removed and out of the way, you will then need to locate the mounting bolt of the steering wheel which is used to hold it on.
Once located, spin the steering wheel 90 degrees, attach a suitable socket onto the bolt and use a breaker bar to remove it. These bolts may have been on the car for many years, which means they can be very difficult to loosen. You may even wish to use an impact gun if you own one.
After the bolt has been loosened, turn the steering wheel so that the wheels are pointing straight. This makes the new steering wheel easy to install after the removal. Alternatively, there may be an alignment indicator upon the mounting bolt that helps align the new steering wheel.
5. Pull The Steering Wheel Away
You should now be able to pull away the steering wheel and pass through the wiring connectors.
6. Re-install The New Steering Wheel
With the steering wheel and airbag removed, you can now proceed to reinstalling your new steering wheel.
Before you do, it’s advised that you check the connectors for any corrosion or damage and replace if there is.
To reinstall the steering wheel, simply do steps 1 to 5 in reverse with the replacement steering wheel. Once the steering wheel has been changed, reconnect the battery, check the alignment and also test the horn.
If there are any error messages appearing on your dash after the replacement, you may need to use an OBD2 scanner to clear the codes. This happens quite a lot with modern cars due to all the sensors located in the steering wheel and its wiring.
Changing your steering wheel isn’t too difficult with the right tools and it can completely transform the cockpit of your car. After trying a number of car upholstery cleaners on my 20 year old steering wheel with no avail, an upgrade was the only answer and as you can see, I went with a wooden/leather alternative.
Hopefully the above guide on how to change a steering wheel provides you with all the answers you need. However, if you need anymore information or advice, feel free to get in touch with our team.