Getting a new steering wheel cover is probably the best way to customize and protect the steering wheel of your car, so it’s no wonder why numerous drivers are so interested in buying them. In addition, there are so many interesting types with different designs and materials that make purchasing one a hard choice. However, choosing the right one isn’t nearly as hard as putting one on the steering wheel. Some might be easier to put on than others, but they all require a bit of know-how.
For example, some covers have to be stitched over the wheel while others just require a tad bit of stretching over. The difficulty of the procedure, of course, depends on the model, size, and the position of the wheel. Whatever the case might be, this article will tell you everything you need to know about putting on wheel covers. Additionally, you’ll read about useful products, different methods to use, tips and tricks, etc.
Why Would You Want/Need a Steering Wheel Cover?
People who opt for a steering wheel cover are generally trying to prevent their wheel from being worn out. The wear-and-tear state of the wheel might be extremely dangerous because it can diminish the driver’s ability to control the vehicle — if the hands slip off the wheel, who knows how tragic the outcome might be. But there are other reasons as to why using a wheel cover is beneficial.
It Guarantees Safety
Steering wheels belong to the category of easily overlooked parts of the vehicle when it comes to safety. However, they’re still quite important and keeping them in mint condition is crucial. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, having a worn-down steering wheel can potentially cause a disaster. That’s especially true for steering wheels that don’t have a particular texture for a better grip.
Fortunately, you can prevent potential inconveniences by purchasing a steering wheel cover with a good texture. For example, leather steering covers seem to be quite popular at the moment due to their structure. Leather, if maintained properly, allows you to grip the wheel more firmly, which means that there’s no way that your hands will slip from it.
It Has Protective Properties
It’s a widely known fact that vehicles do not fare well against the sun; that is, when they’re directly exposed to it for a long time. There’s a chance that the surface of the wheel will crack or change its color due to long exposure. That’s why the manufacturers focus on creating heat-resistant wheel covers. In most cases, they include materials such as textured fabric or suede.
Depending on the type of person you are, long drives can either be a pleasant or a bad experience for you. Whichever of the two you might be, one thing is certain – you want your wheel to be as comfortable as possible. Well, it’s safe to say that using a wheel cover increases the overall comfort of the wheel to immeasurable levels. That’s especially true when you’re driving in the exhausting summer heat. How so? Because it feels so satisfying to hold a cold wheel on a hot summer day.
It’s Visually Appealing
Steering wheel covers are so customizable that you can find them in literally any style imaginable. There are so many colors, materials, patterns, and textures to choose from, so you’re bound to find something you’ll absolutely love. There are even imitations of other materials such as wood, metal, etc. Besides, having a visually striking wheel cover elevates the aesthetic value of your vehicle.
Why Are They So Hard to Put On?
Now that you know the advantages of these little aftermarket upgrades, it’s important to understand why they are so problematic in terms of installing.
The main reason they’re difficult to put on lies in their design. In order for the covers to fit the wheels as tightly as possible, the manufacturers have to design them in a specific way.
The ones that don’t require stitching usually have to be stretched over the wheel inch by inch. The problem here is that you have to use one hand to hold the cover while you work your way around the wheel with the other. For some people, that’s quite problematic.
As for the ones that do require stitching, it’s almost as equally frustrating and challenging to install them. How so? Let’s be honest — it’s quite likely that the percentage of people who know how to stitch is lower than the ones who don’t. Therefore, the entire procedure requires a little bit of know-how and preparation. What’s more, even people who know how to stitch properly may experience problems with the installation.
Therefore, the main issue in both cases is having to apply constant pressure during the entire procedure. Failing to do so might result in a loose fit, and that defeats the purpose of the entire product.
Steering Wheel Cover Installation Instructions (How to Put It On)
This section of the article will guide you through all the necessary steps that you should consider in order to put on the cover properly. Both methods (stretching and stitching) will be explained in greater detail. However, before you start anything, it might be a good idea to gather everything that you need and prepare in advance.
1. Take Some Measurements
Before you make your purchase, it goes without saying that you’ll need to measure your steering wheel if you want to get the right cover for it. First, you should measure the diameter by stretching a tape measure horizontally across the wheel. The usual values can go from 35 to 45 cm, so expect something within that range.
Second, you need to measure the thickness of the steering wheel by wrapping a measuring tape around it. Grip thickness values usually range from 5 to 11 cm.
2. Go Shopping
Each steering wheel cover package should have a label that states these values (unless there’s no package at all). Alternatively, you can find out the dimensions by visiting the product’s page.
You’ll also be able to choose the color, style, finish, and design that matches the aesthetics of your car. However, it’s quite important to decide whether you want to purchase a cover that has to be stretched over or stitched. That step will determine whether you’ll stitch or stretch the cover later on.
3. Clean the Steering Wheel Cover
The next step is to clean the wheel cover to prevent the excess dirt or dust from getting caught under it. To do that, you’ll have to dip a rag (or any other piece of cloth, fabric, etc.) into alcohol and wipe the cover with it.
4. Pick the Right Method and Install the Wheel Cover
The Stretching Method
STEP ONE: Soften the Cover by Heating It with a Blow Dryer
The first thing to do here is to use a blow dryer to heat the cover in order to soften it up. This step is practically crucial because it allows you to extend the flexibility of the cover enough to allow you to install it. Turn on the blow dryer on the highest setting and keep it approximately 2 to 3 cm away from the cover. Your main focus should be the interior of the cover because you’ll be able to distribute the heat evenly in that section.
You should keep the heat on each section for about 10 seconds. Gradually move along the cover until you feel that it’s warm and flexible enough. It’s important not to let it cool off because that would mean that you’d have to start the entire process again.
STEP TWO: Slide the Top Side of the Cover Over the Top Part of the Steering Wheel
Start by centering the wheel right in front of you. Once it’s in position, pull the cover over the top part of the wheel. Check to see whether there’s a gap between the cover and the wheel and slide it down as much as you can. The seam of the cover should be facing down.
STEP THREE: Stretch the Sides
Now that the top part of the cover is on the wheel, you’ll have to stretch out both sides to make the cover fit better. The best possible way to do that is to alternate between the left and the right side. Therefore, grab the cover’s interior with your fingers and stretch it away from the wheel. Now, do the same thing with the other side. You should repeat that several times as you work your way down the wheel.
STEP FOUR: Pull the Cover Over the Bottom Part of the Wheel
The only thing that’s left to do is to slide the cover over the bottom part of the steering wheel. That’s the part where you’ll likely to find the most resistance. There’s no real trick or workaround to this part, so you’ll have to use force. Therefore, try forcing the cover down as much as you can until it fits over the wheel. And that’s it — you’re done.
The Stitching Method
As mentioned, there are steering wheel covers that you don’t have to stretch out or heat in order to install them. Those are, in fact, the ones that require stitching. Now, putting them on the wheel is a breeze because they always fit so loosely. Therefore, that’s not the issue. The real problem here is the actual stitching part.
Before you start reading through the steps and the particulars of the procedure, you should know that most of these covers come with their own sewing materials. On the other hand, there’s a chance that you’re unfortunate enough not to receive the materials. In that case, you can use lacing string as a substitute (more on that later).
STEP ONE: Stretch the Cover Over the Wheel
Start by centering the wheel and placing the cover over it. This type of cover is meant to be stitched together, so you won’t have any problems placing it. If the manufacturer includes some kind of adhesive along with the cover (for example, tape), be sure to use it. It will help secure the cover in place while you stitch it together.
STEP TWO: Thread the Needle
Take the lacing string and push it through the eye of the needle. Once you’ve done that, tie a knot around the needle to prevent the string from moving around.
STEP THREE: Run the Needle Through the Sides of the Cover
Now, you need to push the needle through the inside of the cover first. There are already holes where the needle should go, so you don’t need to worry about that. The needle has to go through the side that’s closest to you first. Afterward, push the needle through the other side and bring both sides together by pulling the string.
STEP FOUR: Slide the Needle Under the Cover’s Threads
The steering wheel cover is likely to have a pre-sewn thread in its seam. Take the needle and slide it under that thread by targeting the side that’s furthest first. You’ll probably have to repeat this process several times until you reach the end. Keep in mind that you don’t have to pierce the rest of the cover. Instead, you should only connect the pre-sewn thread with a piece of string in order to stitch the entire cover.
STEP FIVE: Tie a Knot
Once you’re completely done with the stitching process, you should tie a knot at the end and remove the leftover string. Provided that you did everything well, the entire process should be finally done.
How to Make a Steering Wheel Cover Fit Tighter
Since you were able to attach a wheel cover successfully, you’ll probably want to fine-tune it as much as possible. Most people are interested in making the cover fit tighter and better. To be honest, there’s not that much that you can do besides the following options.
First and foremost, you can always try to tighten everything as much as you can. For example, if you’re stitching the cover, try making each string loop and knot as tight as possible. You can control the tightness by measuring the gap between the two sides of the cover. If they’re touching each other, you probably can’t tighten them any further.
Second, if you’re stretching the cover over the wheel, you can apply additional force and pull the cover harder as you work your way down the wheel. In addition, you can also use some sort of adhesive (for example, tape) on the inside part of the cover. That’ll help the cover fit snugly around the wheel.
The final thing that you can possibly do is insert pieces of other materials (rubber works the best) inside the cover. Many people were able to tighten their covers further by using that little trick.
Steering Wheel Cover Recommendations
At this point, you probably know everything there is to know about attaching and removing a steering wheel cover. So if you haven’t purchased a cover already, this section of the article might prove helpful.
Now, you probably have your preferences when it comes to the finish, style, material, color of the cover, etc. Still, you might be able to find what you’re looking for in the following list of products.
1. SEG Direct Microfiber Leather Steering Wheel Cover
This is a good steering wheel cover that uses a microfiber material. It’s probably not as durable as some of the more expensive alternatives out there, but it does the job quite nicely. The material has an interesting texture to it and allows you to grip it firmly without the possibility of your hands slipping off. In addition, the material is soft, so it’s more than just comfortable.
Visually, the cover looks flashy and very appealing due to its contrastive colors. Also, there are a couple of color schemes available to choose from, so you’re likely to find the one that suits you.
The most important thing about this cover is how affordable it is. If you’ve already researched these products, you know how ridiculous the prices can get.
2. Moyishi Steering Wheel Cover
The first thing that you’ll notice about this Moyishi cover is its intricate and complex design. The main purpose of this cover is to allow you to get a good grip, and it sure looks like that. There are interwoven leather details on the sides of the cover. The texture somewhat resembles snakeskin or ground tiles, and it simply looks amazing. Also, matching it with the aesthetic feel of your car shouldn’t be too much of a problem. That’s due to the fact that there are multiple colors to choose from, so you can match it with anything.
The best part? The cover is actually not that difficult to put on, despite the fact that most of them are.
3. Vitodeco Steering Wheel Cover
Vitodeco steering wheel cover features an interesting design that looks like dragon scales and is simply so pleasant to look at. Moreover, it helps you keep your hands firmly on the wheel due to its unique pattern and texture. It’s not crude and sturdy like some cover materials can be. Instead, it provides enough comfort, even for those long drives. In addition, like most steering wheel covers from this list, it comes in a variety of colors, which allows you to match it with the rest of the car.
The most striking feature of this cover is the fact that it’s odorless. There are so many people that are bothered with certain scents (for example, the smell of rubber). If you’re one of those people, this cover might be exactly what you’re looking for.
How to Remove a Steering Wheel Cover
So, you’ve managed to put on your steering wheel cover, but what about removing it? Have you thought about that? Well, luckily for you, this part of the article will instruct you on how to do this as well.
Since the whole idea of a cover is to stick to the wheel as tightly as possible, it might be a bit difficult to remove. However, you can use the methods that you used to put the cover on in reverse order.
For example, you can always try using brute force first. Pull the cover towards you with one hand while you push it away with the other, and alternate that movement. After a while, you’ll notice that the cover is starting to loosen up, which will allow you to get a better grip. It’s going to take some time, so know this isn’t for people who get easily bored.
Alternatively, you can use the blow dryer again to heat the material and make it more flexible. That will allow you to get a better hold of the cover and hopefully stretch it outwards. The cover will probably pop off shortly after.
As for the covers that require stitching, their removal is far simpler. The only thing that you need to do is cut the string that holds everything in place. You can easily replace the string and stitch everything back together later on.
There might be other methods to remove the covers out there, but keep in mind that some of them might damage them as well. The ones that I have mentioned here are probably the safest.
All in all, putting and removing a steering wheel cover might not be so difficult after all, right? People are usually baffled by the entire procedure because they either lack the necessary equipment or the knowledge to do it. So the main purpose of this article was to fix that problem as much as possible.
The most important thing to remember is that installing a cover takes time and patience. Doing it in a hurry might result in a poorly installed cover, and that would mean that you’d just have to retrace your steps. Therefore, just take it easy and follow the instructions — you should be just fine.