Worn Leather Steering Wheel | How to Repair Leather Steering Wheel

You get into your car on an average of three to four times a day and the first thing you grab is your worn out leather wrapped steering wheel. Yuck, huh.

The cause, well can be a few things, dirty hands from work, lotions you put on your hands, or if your a nervous type and like to rub your steering wheel. All of these and probably a few more that I haven't mentioned can damage the waterbased dye applied to your leather steering wheel cover.

The fix can be simple if you have the right products and the know how.

Heres the know how...the products are up to you ( which I'll tell you what to use )

Take an old sheet or a drop cloth and drape it around the steering wheel covering your dash and instrument panel to prevent any overspray from getting on them. Lay another sheet on the seat to eliminate any drippings from the prepping process.

Sheet Behind Steering Wheel

Prepping the area. This is the key to success. You need a dirt free area or the dye won't stick. I use rubbing alcohol, acetone, ammonia, and water mixed equally in a spray bottle. Spray the steering wheel with the solution and using a red Scotch Brite pad scrub the wheel, wiping as you go. This not only removes any grease and goo but it also scuffs the area so the dye will stick. You will also notice the dye will lift a little, this is good thing. Use the dye to help smooth the areas out. Let dry, then sand the wheel with a 400 or 600 grit sandpaper, this will also help to smooth any frayed or rough leather.

If there is a hole in the cover, it depends on how big it is, the size of say your thumb is repairable, any bigger well it's time to buy a new steering wheel. Here's an example

of a steering wheel thats to far gone.Bad Leather Steering Wheel

Now to repair the hole you will need THICK GEL SUPER GLUE. Yup, super glue. What you will do is glue the edges of the hole down and sand with a 240 Grit sandpaper while the glue is wet, this mixes the sanded leather with the glue and creates a patch. Keep applying the glue and sand until the area is smooth and level. This trick also works for rough leather too. If the steering wheel is rough on the top with no hole do the same, spread the glue around the area and sand it smooth.

For you folks at home, a lot of the products aren't readily available to you. SEM Classic Coat dye can be used, with Bulldog adhesion promoter before you dye. Seal the steering wheel with Thompson water seal before you apply any adhesion promoter, this will help to smooth the area out and will keep the dye from just soaking in and make the ending result look better. Fillers, well, you can use a flexible drywall filler, applied in thin coats to fill in those rough areas, dry and sand the areas. If fillers are used, apply the sealer again before you dye.

For you techs using your water based dyes, use a sticky primer mixed 50-50 with your flex coat applied before you dye to eliminate any oil migration. The dye will stick better and last longer if you do this.

The trick is to get the area as smooth as possible, because any imperfections will be seen, use your fillers if needed. The soft touch filler, and leather crack filler (the gray stuff) works good, use your finger to apply a small amount at a time, drying and sanding between coats. Switch to a finer grade of sandpaper when sanding the fillers.

Fillers to smooth out imperfections

Don't forget the back of the wheel. I don't know how many steering wheels I've redone for customers that have been done before (by someone else), that they have missed the back of the wheel. When a customer looks in the car through the windshield, what do they see, the back of the wheel, so dye the whole thing!

Running the vehicle while your doing your work helps, your able to turn the wheel and position it where you want it.

After the dye has been applied and dry, top coat it with a satin clear (don't forget to add a little cross-linker to the clear if your using water based dyes ) this will add a little bit more of a barrier and will help the dye last longer.

At this point your steering wheel should look like new.

Finished Leather Steering Wheel

When your all done and the dye is dry, apply a small amount of leather conditioner to the leather wrapped steering wheel to give it a smooth feel on look. If you have any questions or need more info about How to Repair a Worn Leather Steering Wheel feel free to contact me.

Got a NEW version of How to Repair a Leather Steering Wheel for those tech's out there using only water based dyes...Let me know what you think, the superglue trick still works either way...

Comments

Hi Mike Just a question. Does the super glue need to set up any length of time? According to what you wrote it seems that it doesn't, but wouldn't it just make one big mess? And wouldn't the creases in the sandpaper remove most of your glue? Or maybe that's the trick, not letting the sandpaper creases get in the way.

Thanks for the article, you always have good information, and I enjoy your site.

Hey Virgil....Good to see ya back.....The answer to your question, just start sanding when you apply the glue, don't add a big blob, but start with gluing the edges down with a small amount tapping it down with your finger or the piece of sandpaper, then add a little more glue and start sanding back and forth quickly and kinda softly, you will notice the glue to start setting up as you sand and the leather sandings will start to mix with it. I have also used a little bit of leather powder I get from my supplier and sprinkled it into the glue while sanding. But mostly I just use the glue. This trick also can be used in doing leather seat repair, small cuts, but I have found that after a while the area will crack in a seat, because its just not flexible enough. But I look at it this way, you can't hurt the steering wheel any more then what it is if it has a hole. I have used this trick many of times and the ending result looks awesome and holds up, I have had trucks that I have noticed come back to a car lot after someone has owned it and traded it back in (I mark my cars with a dot) and the steering wheel still looks good. So, let me know if this works for ya.

Mike "The Interior Guy" Warren
Leather and Vinyl Repair | How to fix a Worn Leather Steering Wheel

Hi Mike, thanks for clarifying for me, I'll give it a try. I started to read your note about the adhesive that remains flexible, but takes 48 hours to cure. Sound a lot like ordinary painters caulk. Most all caulks can cure within that time frame and some are paintable. I'm pretty sure you would have a hard time sanding it down to a smooth feathered edge even though you could get it pretty smooth during application. I've worked with caulks many years in the construction industry, but I don't know if they would adhere to leather. I might try playing around with it on some scrap to test it. The cure time I agree with you on, it needs to be within a few minutes, otherwise it is not of much use. Got to go, thanks again Mike, talk to you soon. Anxious to see your coming article on leather repair, its always good to get others perspectives, it helps sharpen my own skills.

Steve,
I've seen this before and it's wild, it's like the foam has turned to a black gel or goo, I really wish I had a fix for this, I had a repair go bad just last month from the same thing on a older Ford Pickup. As Far as getting another cover, I'll do some checking, I haven't found an after market cover that looks factory, most are cheap and just don't look right. One option would be to check at the salvage yard or on Ebay and find another wheel. I'll also talk to my upholsterer and see if he knows of something. You could also check your local upholstery shop and see if they could re-wrap the wheel. I'll be in touch.

Later,
Mike "TIG"

Mike, I have a 1996 Ford Econoline van with the chateau package. It has a factory leather wrapped steering wheel. While the leather cover is in good shape, the material that the cover is formed around is apparently deteriorating and leaking around the spokes of the steering wheel in the form of a sticky black goo. I am told that this leakage problem is not unique to my vehicle. As this material leaks out, the wheel cover is gradually deflating and becoming spongy. If I cut off the existing leather cover and get rid of the existing padding under it, can I successfully replace it with a new stitched leather cover and new padding. If so, where can I get the padding and instructions as to how it can be formed to fit with the new leather cover?

Mike,
Thanks for the reply about the black goo leaking from my 1996 Ford van's steering wheel. I've tried using superglue to seal it at the places where the goo leaks out on the wheel's spokes. That hasn't worked for more than a few days at a time despite my best efforts to prep and clean the surfaces of the leather and wheel before using the glue. According to the Ford dealer, this steering wheel is no longer available and none of our salvage yards have one. The cost of having a local shop recover the wheel is about $400.00, hence my interest in a self-help alternative. The wheel has both an airbag and cruise control, so my choices for after-market wheel replacement are limited. At the beginning, I was sure that my problem was going to be solved for a couple of years with five minutes of effort and gel superglue!

Steve,
I was looking on Ebay and found a few things but I'm not if they will interchange. The airbag will come out thats no prob, but the cruise and such I'm not sure about that.
The super glue probably won't stick due to the oils in the goo. Have you tried taking the cover off yet to see whats underneath? There might be a pretty nice wheel under that since it is an after market kit. If your wanting leather back on you could check the leather shop and buy a small strip or a piece of hide and make your own. Just pay attention to how the old one was stitched on. There was a place and I'm still searching for it that would take your wheel and keep it for a core and send you a refurbished wheel. Not really sure what the cost was but I'm sure it's not real cheap. Things like this you would think that the manufactures would do something about, but we could only wish. So the upholstery shop wanted $400 to fix it, wow. Theres got to be a cheaper way, I know it's not easy to stitch a wheel, did it on a Porsche steering wheel one time, it's like lacing up a shoe just more of a pain in the butt. But it is doable just time consuming. Well Steve I'll keep an eye out and let me know if you need some help, I'll do my best.

Later,
Mike "TIG"

Hey Mike,

Wanted to thank you for the write up and had a few questions if you wouldn't mind answering.

This is what I plan to do:

1. Wipe steering wheel down with rubbing alcohol/ammonia/acetone/water + red scotch pad
2. Patch up wear/tear holes with thick gel super glue + sandpaper till smooth
3. Apply thompson water seal
4. Apply bulldog adhesion promoter
5. Sem classic coat
6. Top coat it with a satin clear + cross linker
7. Leather Conditioner

First off, am I missing any steps or anything else you would recommend?

When you use fillers to fill up holes is that to ensure smoothness of the steering wheel or is it an alternative to the thick gel super glue/sandpaper.

If I don't have access to a spray gun/compressor would it be okay to shoot satin clear out of a can without the cross linker or is it necessary?

Lastly, do you also dye the airbag cover, is it the same steps + mask off emblems if you have one?

Hi Peter,
The steps you have sound perfect. Dont forget a sheet to throw over your instrument cluster and dash, and maybe one for the seat too.
Now if you have a hole or tear, the super glue will be your filler, the filler I mentioned is for minor scratches and imperfections or after the super glue to ensure its nice and smooth. The super glue along with the sandings from the leather should fill in the hole if its not too big.
One thing you can do before you put your finishing coat of dye on is to apply a flexible primer surfacer to the repair area, this will fill in any imperfections and give you a nice smooth finish, after sanded, for your dye. Sems makes a nice primer surfacer, that works well. It come in a rattle can, so its easy, no compressor needed.
As far as the dye you use, the rattle cans are ready to spray, there is no cross linker in the Sems Classic Coat, this is a lacquer based dye, the water based is where your cross linkers come in. I use rattle cans on occasion, for small repairs on some steering wheels.
As far as dyeing the airbag, if it needs it you can, just mask off the emblems and spray away, make sure you prep it with your solution and scotch brite pad. Apply a coat of bulldog before your dye.
Let me know if you need anything else, and let me know how it turns out, maybe send me a pic.

Later....Mike "TIG"

Mike,

Thanks for the quick response.

I'll take some before/during/after pictures and let you know how it goes.

-Peter

Peter,
Quick response gets the job done...I'm looking forward to seeing your pics. Good luck, and talk to ya soon.

Later-Mike "TIG"

Mike I have the same problem as steve with my 2000 Ford Ranger except the goo is coming out of stitching holes in the top of the wheel. I actually think it is the old adhesive breaking down from years of heat. In any case, I am simply going to un-stitch the top part where the problem is, clean it up, glue it back down, and restitch that portion. The only problem is, I can't seem to figure out what method of stitching is used. Perhaps you know? I noticed you said it was similar to lacing a shoe, and it does look so, however I want to make sure before I take it off.

Jordon,
The stitching process is just like a shoe, you will start with a piece of thread about 10 feet long (maybe not that big but it will be long) with a pinch needle on each end, pull the thread though both sides of the cover leaving equal amounts on each side, then start the lacing process. You'll go over and then under to the next holes in a cross pattern just like a shoelace. The only problem I had was dealing with all that thread, but if you can get through that you shouldn't have any probs, just pull it tight as you go.
I hope just cleaning that off will work, you might have to insert a piece of foam in behind it to take up the slack, or you might have a saggy cover. Now you said the stitching was on the top of the wheel, if so then the cover has been twisted. The stitching should be on the inside of the wheel, not on the outside.
Man this goo thing is nasty, I came across one just the other day, it's like your gel'n in the steering wheel, but don't want to be gel'n.
Jordon good luck with your adventure, and let me know how it turns out.

Later - Mike "TIG"

Hey Mike,

Couldn't find nearby store that carry SEM Products so I will have to buy mine online.

I am attempting to repair my leather steering wheel from a Honda S2000.

http://www.vinylproleather.com/page/1276914

Would that be Classic Gray #17263?

There are only 2 colors listed under "Honda".

Also, while looking for SEM products I happened to run across this website.

http://www.leatherworldtech.com/category.aspx?categoryID=10

Are you familiar with these products?

Would I have any better results with those or will it be pretty much the same?

-Peter

Peter,
I've been to both these sites before and both are good choices. As far as the color I'd say the Classic Gray is the one. I haven't seen a steering wheel that is a lighter color, most are either black or dark gray, so your choice is good. You might try to follow the links on my product sites page, go to TCP Global, or go to the link on this page for the Classic Coat which takes you to Amazon.com, then do a search there.

Good Luck,
Mike "TIG"

I have an '05 Honda Accord that's reeking of a sickly sweet chemical smell coming out of the leather steering wheel that makes my hands tingle + itch + is making me sick. Somebody told me the seal is off the leather--just reseal it. How?

Or should I just have the dealer install a new one? The smell is on the leather shift knob + hand brake. Replace all?

Mike,

I also have the black goo leaking from the sticking holes in the factory leather steering wheel cover of my 2001 Ford Sport Track. The dealer said it was "filler" and broke down in the Arizona heat. He could replace the wheel for $200. I'd probably like to spend less. I'm guessing that if I were to open the wheel cover and remove it there would be a lot less wheel left (steel ring). Currently, there is plenty left, is there a way to just seal up the stitching? Steve's post says superglue alone won't do it....I'd like to spend a lot less time and money than $200 or complete replacement. Thanks!

Brad,
Well unfortunately there is no real quick fix for this problem, the goo won't let any glues stick, so as far as sealing it up, no chance. About the only way to get rid of it is to get rid of the wheel. I have had a couple of guys try to fix it, but I haven't heard back from them to see how their fix went. I myself haven't attempted to repair them, to me replacement is the best option. I did do some checking around for you and found this on eBay, http://tinyurl.com/fordsteeringwheel, copy and paste this url into your address bar. These are some used Ford Explorer steering wheels. Hope this helps, I'll check around some other places too and see what I can come up with.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike "TIG"

Beth,
Wow...This is definitely a new one for me. I'll bet it's an old perfume, but wow, it's making you sick.
Have you tried cleaning it with a degreaser, like say Simple Green, then rinse with water. You might also wipe it down with a little rubbing alcohol. Then as far as sealing the wheel you can use a leather sealer. All you have to do is wipe it on and let dry. Go to http://viperproducts.com and contact Tom, he should have a sealer you will need.
Replacement to me would really be the best solution, especially since it's making you sick. If your allergic to something in the leather then it will still be there even if you seal it, whats put on leather stays in leather, so really check into replacement. You could go with a used wheel like through eBay, go to my eBay Stuff Page http://theinteriorguyllc.com/ebay-stuff/ there is a section for steering wheels. But if you go that way your still at risk, but price wise it would be a lot cheaper then the Dealer. So really that ones up to you.
Well I hope you find out whats going on, I wish I had a better answer for you.

Thanks,
Mike "TIG"

Hey Mike,

I had time to work on my steering wheel a few days ago and the classic grey for Honda turned out way too light.

I then purchased the SEM Classic Coat Midnight Black and it wasn't black... but a dark grey.

Are any of the SEM classic coat's a true deep black that would match the rest of my steering wheel?

Or is there any other option?

[IMG]http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w201/blackludebosh/wheel.jpg[/IMG]

-Peter

Peter,
Yeah the color coat should be ok, it's a lacquer based dye, but I think the classic coat is too. The sure coat is the water based. Anyways, go to http://viperproducts.com, they should have the water based dye for the job. Use IG1100 in the promo box at check out and get a discount on your order, plus I get credit for your order. Well dude let me know how things turn out for ya.

Later...Mike "TIG"

Peter,
Hey man, sorry to hear your having some issues. Is the wheel black? If so try the Landau Black, it's a more true black then the midnight black. Now when you dye the wheel, dye all the way around, front and back, to blend it, you might even dye the airbag too. Hope this helps. Send me a pic another way the above wasn't there, before you dye and maybe I can give you some pointers on the color.

Later...Mike "TIG"

Mike,

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w201/blackludebosh/wheel.jpg

Try that one link, it should work.

I dyed my steering wheel 2-tone style and am debating whether to keep the look or to redo the entire thing with a true black.

Also I was wondering how hard would it be to dye part of my steering wheel red?

I know I'd have to use a water based dye and finish it off with a top coat but am confused with the exact steps needed and what other products I would need to purchase.

I figured dying my leather steering wheel would be hard but it's actually not as bad as I had thought, I just need to work on the color I prefer.

-Peter

Peter,
Looks pretty good, I'm not sure about the two tone, I'd probably stick with the black, but it does look good like that though, heck I don't know, I'll leave that one up to you.
Dyeing things red can be a pain. The reds are really transparent, if you really want it to stand out then you'll have to do it two stages. Dye the part white or silver first, then dye it red. This will give you more of a true red. It's kinda like a primer for red, true yellow and blue are the same way, the pigment are just transparent.What you end up doing if you don't use the white first is you have to use so much dye to get the coverage you end up with a mess. Waterborne dyes are a little better, the pigment are a little stronger. One thing you could try to do that would look cool is to paint the threads red, you could try this with a paint pen, like the ones you get at the hobby shop. I noticed in the pic the shift boot has the red threads thats looks nice. Just an idea. Then clear over it to help with wear. You probably won't have to do the white first but you might, test a spot first.
Well man thanks for getting a hold of me, and I wish you luck in your steering wheel restoration, don't hesitate to ask me more if you need too. Looks great.

Later....Mike "TIG"

Mike,

I was looking at SEM Landau Black and noticed that it seems to be a color coat, would that be alright to use on my steering wheel?

Also, if I were to go ahead and dye part of my steering wheel red would I only need to purchase a white + red dye along with a top coat?

Which products and website can you recommend to me that you like using?

I never thought about dying the threads red but it sounds like a great idea and I'll have to look into that.

Here is a picture of my steering wheel before so you can see how bad it was before.

http://i177.photobucket.com/albums/w201/blackludebosh/repair003.jpg

-Peter

Great 'how-to' Mike. The wheel on my car is getting worn, the colour is going mainly at the 4.00 position and at 10.00 the leather has been worn smooth. The leather on my wheel has a grain in it and i'm worried that if I do the super glue trick and re-paint the damaged area I will loose the graining and it will look obvious. Have you run into this problem?

Dave...you don't always have to use super glue, this is used really for frayed leather and holes. Sounds like your leather is smooth and really only needs the dye replaced. As far as the grain in that area, there's really no way to replace that once it's gone. Leather does has imperfections in it so really by just dyeing the wheel should be sufficient enough to make the wheel look good. Clean the wheel thoroughly with the prepping solution and a scotch brite pad, if you need to sand a little in the worn areas use a 400 grit sandpaper and the prepping solution and kinda wet sand lightly the worn areas until dry and repeat if necessary , this will help to smooth it out a little better. If your using the Sems in a can to dye the wheel then use a sealer first to seal the raw leather, then adhesion promoter, then dye. If your using a water based dye, use a grip base or sticky primer before applying the dye, this will help on oil migration so your dye will last longer.
Most cars from I think 2000 up (some even earlier) have a water based dye applied to the steering wheels, leather seats, dashes, heck you name it, and really "need" have a water based dye reapplied to them. What will happen if a solvent is sprayed onto a water based dye the solvents will eat into the water based underneath and peel. Basically the old school solvents just really don't mix with the new water based dyes of today. Check with Tom over at Viper Products and see what he's got for your leather steering wheel. Let him know about us talking and give him this code IG1100 for a small discount...he's got the dyes to match, filler's if needed, sealers, and will get you the right product for the job.
After you get your product let me know if you need any tips to get you through the job!

Talk to ya soon,
Mike "TIG"

Mike,
I used the products and technique you described.
This was a fantastic solution. We're all amazed at how well the wheel restored. The gel glue worked perfectly as did all the other products. I'd like to give you the thanks and credit you deserve.
Amazing.

Vincent

Hi Mike,

Thanks for the info. I am looking for this kind of info as my steering wheel is in bad condition. I'll try this at home and will give you feedback. Using the super glue seems neat.

=============================
Wheelywheel

Hi,
I wonder if this would work on a typical Jeep (2001 grand cherokee limited) steering wheel with tan interior too? I mean, I would have to match the colour much more accuratly and all... I wonder if brown shoe polish would do the job aswell.

My steering wheel is light brown/tan, but black on the most worn surfaces. I have noticed that if I scrape my nail on the black surfaces, it becomes slightly b rown again. So I'm thinking the sandig process might work to get to some "clean" leather. But since I live abroad, I dont have access to these dyes you mention, and also, I would needed brown anyways. Which is hard to match.

So what do you think, would light sanding, then brown shoe polish maybe work?

As far a shoe polish...well if you want your hands to be tan as well then I would steer clear of using the shoe polish. The acid's in your hands is what has removed the dye to begin with and will do the same thing with the shoe polish almost immediately. The leather has to be sealed with a leather dye to be able to repair it properly.
The color your getting when you scratch the wheel with your finger nail is raw leather...the black is dirt and oils that have penetrated the top layer of leather...to remove the black color you can take some acetone on a rag and get rid of it pretty easily, then the repairs can be done.
You can get the dye online and have it shipped right to you, living abroad is no problem. There are company's abroad as well with dyes as comparable to the dyes that I use. I'm sure also that Viper Product's would have no problem shipping to you.
Let me know if you need some info on where to get the dyes if you have problems with the links I provided in the post...

Talk to ya,
Mike "TIG"

Gareth,
Great to hear from you...As far as removing the shine from the steering wheel this should be a pretty easy task. The build up of oils from your hands has been the culprit and what needs to be done is to remove those oils without removing the oils from the leather. What I would start with is a pan of warm water with a squirt of Dawn dish soap, a Scotch Brite Pad and a clean Micro Fiber Towel. Take this solution and scrub the wheel paying attention not to scrub too hard but hard enough to break though the grime. Wipe with the micro fiber towel as you go, and one other thing you might want to do is lay a towel in the seat before you start, this will catch the drippings from the wheel.
Once done your wheel should be dulled out along with nice and clean enough to add a little conditioner to replenish some of the tannery oils lost from the cleaning process. My recommendation for a conditioner is Lexol, this will replenish the oils without leaving it shinny or greasy feeling.
Well Gareth I hope this works for you, if not let me know and we'll get a little more aggressive with the process. Try this first though and let me know how things turn out :)

Talk to ya soon,
Mike "TIG"

I have a BMW M3 with a very highly polished leather steering wheel. I would like to try to get the leather back to the as new look without the shine. There is nothing wrong with the leather so is there some treatment I can use to remove the gloss shine?.

Thanks

Mike

Im in australia and am having trouble locating dyes etc to do this process

do you know of any companys that will ship to australia or somewhere here I can get SEM leather procuct from

Peter

Peter,
I couldn't really find a "supplier" for SEM in Australia, but I did find a company that sells Leatherique leather products in Australia, = http://www.ppc.au.com/contact.htm = . They use a little different process then what I talked about in my article but they do have a great product and should do you very well with what ever your trying to accomplish. Let me know if this works out for you.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike - The Interior Guy

Mike,

I have a 1998 Mercedes E320 beige interior. I did not see any dyes for this interior steering wheel. Any sites you can recommend? Also My steering wheel is wearing by coming off in very small falkes. Would the super glue material be the best for this type of wear. Last, the clear coat that you use for the last step, is that the ones I see in a aerosol form? Thank you for your help.

Mark,
As far as dyes for this repair I recommend you check out Viper Products for a water based dye or if your looking for an aerosol like what I've got in the article, you might also check this place out, TCPGlobal ,they have a great selection on all kinds of restoration paints and products. You may have to do a bit of searching but they have interior paints by SEM. You will also find the clear coat there too, a satin or low gloss would be probably the best for this.
The flakes you see can be wet sanded off and probably smooth out enough that super glue won't need to be used. Try sanding it as smooth as possible first then use your super glue as a last resort.
Let me know how things go or if you need anything else...

Talk to ya soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

WOW!
I can't believe how well the wheel & airbag in my 99 4runner look after I followed your restoration guide. Eleven years and the finish on the top half of the steering wheel was gone now it looks new.
I would suggest that the steering wheel be removed to do the work if time permits it adds about an hour and a half to the job but it makes it much easier to get full & even coverage. My results would not have been as good if I had not removed the wheel and restored the airbag & wheel individually as separate pieces.
I was hesitant to perform this restoration even after reading your step by step guide but am glad I took the chance. I used the SEM classic coat & Bulldog products you recommended.
Thanks for the info and your effort in writing it up.

Rob

Mike, you are giving out some great advice. I know that I have been detailing cars for a number of years on my own projects. Thanks for all the great tips!

A few quick questions. My 2004 Explorer has lost its dye at 10 and 2. I used a gojo orange cleaner to get the goop off and I just have rough leather there now, so it sounds like I'm better off than some of the other wheels that need superglu. I went to the VinylPro site, and they say to use their vinyl/leather prep to clean and seal, and then you just use the SEM classic coat. They don't mention sealing with a water seal, is this okay? They also don't mention a clear coat at the end, or a leather conditioner.

I'm going to follow your instructions, but is Bulldog adhesion promoter available at auto stores like Autozone? Also, you mention a satin clear coat with a cross linker. I was just going to buy a spray can of satin clear coat, will that work? I'm not really familiar with adding cross linker to a clear and I'm trying to simplify this. Can you help with these few questions, and then I'm going to get started on this. I'm a bit nervous about this.

Rick,
This fix I describe in this article to a steering wheel is definitely a quick fix and really for something that is more severe then your steering wheel. The Vinyl Pro site is right about the way they do it, but again it is a quick fix and may not last as long as you may want. I'm not a real fan of the solvent based dyes (Sem Classic Coat is a solvent paint)after more research. For years I used solvents and still do at times but not on leather. The steering wheels from the factory are dyed with a water based leather coating. This is done for a number of reasons, one health, another is feel, and another is solvents dry leather out to much for use in automotive leathers. So my point is here why not use a water based coating like what is used on the wheel to begin with. If I were you I would call the guys at Vinyl Pro and see if they can get you the supplies to do your wheel with water based instead of the solvent based. If they can't help check out Viper Products they also have a wide variety of water based coatings that you can use to resurface the wheel. In fact if you look at the bottom of this article I have another link to another article where I describe how to do this with water based. One last thing if your not confident in doing a repair yourself, check with your local upholstery shops and your local car dealers and ask if they have an Automotive Interior Repair Professional like myself that does there work for them and see if you can get it done by a professional. The cost of having one repaired like what your needing done should be minimal, so it might be worth your time and frustration to check into.

Talk to ya soon,
Mike Warren - The Interior Guy

Hello Mike,

I have a 1999 Toyota Avalon, and the steering wheel is fading. I not sure whether or not it is leather, can you tell? I will post pictures. My questions are is this glue the right one http://www.homedepot.com/h_d1/N-5yc1vZ1xgg/R-100371839/h_d2/ProductDispl... , and also where would I be able to by the dye. Would this work? http://www.autozone.com/autozone/accessories/Rust-Oleum-11-oz-gloss-char...

Pictures of my steering wheel and shift knob:
http://s125.photobucket.com/albums/p63/Philemondahustla/Steering%20Wheel...

Sorry if these are dumb questions,but I need some help.

Thanks you greatly,
Phil