The most important factor to consider when performing any type of steering wheel repair is whether the wheel will need to be removed. Care should be taken not to damage the horn, airbag or other systems, and it can be helpful to mark the steering wheel and shaft to ensure that they are put back together properly. Many steering wheel repairs can be done without removal, such as replacing fascia pieces and horn rings. Other types of steering wheel repair, such as leather or upholstery work, might be easier if the wheel is removed first. Repairs on faux wood grain and other plastics typically can be accomplished with kits, but covers that do not retain the original look of the steering wheel also are commonly available.
Anytime a steering wheel is removed for repair or replacement, there is a possibility that the horn, air bag or other systems might be damaged. Additional repairs and costs typically can be avoided by proceeding methodically through the removal procedure and taking care to not apply any excess force. The first step is to remove any fascia pieces that are attached to the steering wheel. These covers are often screwed in place, though others use clips. If the steering wheel contains an airbag unit, it is important to perform the correct disarming procedure to avoid potential injuries.
Before removing a steering wheel, it also is important to note its position. It can be helpful to first turn the wheel so that it is in a straight-ahead orientation, though marking both the steering shaft and wheel can ensure that they are put back together properly. The steering wheel might appear out of alignment when driving, if this step is not taken, at which point it might be necessary to remove and install it several more times to make it right.
After a careful removal procedure, the steering wheel repair process typically can begin. Steering wheels that are made of plastic can often be repaired with specialty kits. This include both regular plastic steering wheels and many older models that were designed to have a wood grain appearance. A plastic steering wheel repair kit typically comes with files, epoxy, sandpaper and other components and tools that are necessary to repair a cracked or damaged unit.
Another steering wheel repair option to consider is a cover, which is available in many forms. Some steering wheel covers can be slipped on over a cracked or damaged wheel, though others require a more involved installation process. Other wheel covers are stitched on, which can be a cost-effective alternative to expensive leather work. This type of cover can often be installed without removing the steering wheel as well.