If your car’s leather steering wheel looks old and worn out, it’s time to give it a makeover. You can restore the leather yourself rather than having it professionally re-wrapped (which can be very expensive).
Apply the leather dye with a sponge in light coats. This is important as multiple light coats yield a superior result.
1. Clean the Leather
Leather is more sensitive than plastics or other materials, so it’s important to clean it regularly to prevent it from becoming scratched, cracked, ripped, or discolored. It’s also a good idea to condition the leather periodically to keep it soft and flexible.
Start by removing any dirt or dust from the surface of the steering wheel. You can use a leather cleaner or mild soap and water solution. If you choose a leather cleaner, follow the instructions on the bottle for application and wait for it to dry. After you’ve cleaned the leather, wipe it with a towel or cloth to remove any excess cleaner or moisture.
Steering wheels are made of various materials, including polyurethane, faux leather, synthetic resins, and natural wood. It’s best to find out what material your steering wheel is before you decide on a cleaning agent. Using the wrong one could damage the steering wheel or make it less attractive.
Most modern cars have a steering wheel covered in faux or pigmented leather that looks and feels much like real leather. This is much more durable than older steering wheels, which were often covered in strange foam that easily got bumps, stains, and holes. These ruined the look of the car’s interior and dropped its value. You can avoid these problems by covering your steering wheel with a protective cover or keeping it in a shaded area when you’re not driving.
2. Apply a Protective Coat for Leather Steering
The goal here is to protect the leather and keep it looking good. First, apply a good amount of leather cleaner to the steering wheel and wipe it clean with a paper towel. You’ll want to ensure the entire surface of the wheel is cleaned and that no oils are left behind.
Once the surface is cleaned, it’s time to put on a protective coat. For the best results, use a commercial leather conditioner. This will keep the leather soft and also help with the color fading that can happen in a short period of time.
If the leather has cracks or holes that need to be filled, you can also use a wet filler. You’ll need to mix the filler according to its product description and then smooth it out over the leather’s creases, holes, and peeled areas. Once the filler has dried, you’ll need to sand it down to really make it smooth.
Before you do this, be sure to cover up any buttons or logos that aren’t made of leather. The cleaning and coloring agents you will be using may discolor these other components. Once everything is covered, you can begin to sand the steering wheel with 400-grit sandpaper. This will remove any crusty flakes of leather and create small scratches in the wheel that will allow coloring agents to penetrate deeper into the leather.
3. Apply Leather Filler
Leather steering wheels get a lot of wear and tear. They take a beating from repeated use and get covered in bodily oils and sweat that can cause the leather to break down. To help combat this, the leather must be protected with a protective coating.
This will help protect the leather from the elements and rehydrate it so it does not deteriorate. After cleaning the steering wheel, it is recommended that you apply a protective coating of either an adhesion promoter or a leather filler. Once these have been applied, the leather should be allowed to dry thoroughly before proceeding with the next step.
The best way to preserve your leather steering wheel is to cover it with a genuine leather steering wheel cover. You can find these in various colors and styles to match your truck’s interior. You can choose from a classic single-tone, a European-styled dual-tone, or add even more luxury with the addition of perforation. To have your Ford F-150’s steering wheel refurbished with a leather wheel cover, contact Craft Customs. Make sure you have your truck’s make, year & model, and a picture of the steering wheel to send it in with. If you don’t have the actual steering wheel, you can often find one at a salvage yard or on eBay for about $50.
4. Sand the Leather
Nothing ruins the look of a vehicle as quickly as cracking, peeling, or faded leather. This is especially true of the steering wheel, as it’s one of the car’s most front-and-center components. Leather mainly ages because of exposure to the sun, natural oils on the hands, and friction over time.
Luckily, bringing back that beautiful and rich brown color to your Ford Truck’s leather steering wheel is possible. To do so requires sanding the leather with 400 grit sandpaper. This also helps to remove any cracks or tears in the leather. Once the sanding is complete, you can begin applying the dye to the leather.
You can find a wide variety of leather colors at your local automotive store or order a custom color from Craft Customs. Once the dye is applied, it’s cured with a heat gun. After the leather is dry, you can reinstall your steering wheel by reattaching any removed bolts and wires. Pro Tips for Refurbishing Your Ford Truck’s Leather Steering Wheel ideas encompass a wide range of customizations, from aesthetic enhancements to performance upgrades, that can transform your vehicle into a unique expression of your personal style and driving preferences.
If you are interested in having your Ford Truck’s leather steering wheel repaired, contact us. We are experts at reupholstering steering wheels. We can exactly match your current leather and restore it to a like-new condition. Each steering wheel is handmade and tailored to the specific customer’s order. Estimated labor time ranges from 21 to 30 hours to make, inspect, and photograph a perfect steering wheel.
5. Apply Linseed Oil
While it may seem obvious that a car’s steering wheel is one of the dirtiest things you touch on a daily basis, not many drivers think of cleaning it. Over time, dust and moisture build up on the surface, causing it to become sticky with grime. Keeping your leather steering wheel clean and sanitized is important for both comfort and cleanliness.
Using a cloth, wipe down the steering wheel with an alcohol-based cleaner to remove all contaminants from the surface. You may notice that the cloth comes away dark with all of the oils and grime it has sucked up from the surface. This indicates that you must thoroughly clean the leather before proceeding with any repairs or conditioning.
Boiled linseed oil is an excellent choice for treating and conditioning leather as it provides a protective barrier against damage and wear. It also helps to keep leather soft and supple. However, boiled linseed oil is not suitable for suede or nubuck materials as it may cause them to darken or become greasy.
Next, use a damp sponge to apply the base color to the leather of your steering wheel. You should apply several light coats, drying each of them in between, for a superior result. When you are satisfied that the steering wheel is a suitable color, allow it to dry for three hours.
6. Apply Leather Polish
While polish isn’t strictly necessary, it can help protect the leather and give it a glossy shine. It also helps prevent moisture and natural oils from escaping the leather when exposed to direct sunlight or other environmental factors. A sealant may be added to the polish if you would like additional protection.
Leather polish is also commonly used by leather crafters after they finish their work to add a professional shine to the finished product. It can be applied to leather shoes or other accessories as well.
If you have a wooden steering wheel, it can be polished with wood polish to help it look its best. It is important to use only a small amount of polish and to ensure it has been thoroughly rubbed into the surface. Polishing too much may damage the surface of the wood and cause it to scratch.
Plastic steering wheels are one of the easiest types of wheels to clean and usually only require soap, water, and a cloth. You should try to avoid using harsh cleaners on synthetic resin, however, as these can be damaging to the material. Also, be careful when wiping down the surface of your steering wheel to avoid removing any of the rubber grips that keep the wheel from becoming slippery when wet. Finally, when possible, you should try to park in shady spots to protect your leather from extreme heat and sun exposure.