The steering wheel cover is a very used and popular car accessory. Having that in mind, learning how to put a steering wheel cover on seems almost necessary.
Most people have them in their cars for two main reasons: they protect the steering wheel and enhance the overall look of the interior.
Although the whole procedure for putting the cover on is pretty simple and obvious, there are some issues that most people encounter when doing this.
This article is about those issues and how to help you overcome them and successfully put the steering wheel cover on.
If you’re not in the mood for reading, you have a video tutorial that you can watch on our YouTube channel.
HOW DO YOU CHOOSE THE CORRECT COVER?
Choosing the proper cover is equally important as knowing how to put it on the steering wheel.
If you make a mistake, putting it on will be much harder or even impossible.
We’ve made a separate article on this topic so, if you have the time, take a look by clicking here.
HOW TO PUT A STEERING WHEEL COVER ON?
1. SET THE STEERING WHEEL STRAIGHT AND CLEAN IT
Before starting, align the steering wheel so that it’s straight (12 o’clock position).
Of course, it can be turned however you want, but the next step is much easier if you turn the wheel this way.
After that clean the grip part of the wheel (where your hands go).
You can use a clean cloth or paper towel but a good alternative is wet wipes.
The cleaning is necessary because over time a thin and slippery layer of filth and grease forms on the grip surface.
If leftover, it can cause the steering wheel cover to lose grip and even slip while driving which is very dangerous.
Clean it as thoroughly as possible.
2. ALIGN THE COVER WITH THE STEERING WHEEL
Take the cover and align it with the steering wheel as you would want it to be when the job is finished.
As you’ll see once you put it on, it’s almost impossible to move it since it’s a tight fit. So, if you don’t align it, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to repeat the whole procedure once more.
If there are grips inserted on the cover, it’s perhaps best to align them to the 10 and 2 o’clock position or where your hands will rest most of the time while driving.
In any case, best fit it to your own comfort and safety.
3. SLIP THE TOP OF THE COVER OVER THE TOP OF THE STEERING WHEEL
Once aligned, put the top of the cover onto the top of the wheel.
This serves as a starting point from which you’ll slide the rest of the cover into place.
You can, of course, start at the bottom or on the side, but from the top is easier and more practical.
4. SLIDE THE COVER BIT BY BIT INTO PLACE
Once the cover is on the wheel, it will seem smaller although you’ve bought the correct size.
Don’t worry this is normal and is meant to be this way. As mentioned, because of safety reasons it has to be a very tight fit.
Most people immediately try to stretch the cover from top to bottom and put it on that way. If you do this, you’ll see that it’s almost impossible not to mention the fact that you can damage the cover this way.
If you want to learn how to put a steering wheel cover on, you’ll have to have some patience.
Best start from one side. Hold with one hand the part of the cover that is sitting on top of the steering wheel.
With the other hand, slowly and carefully pull the cover over the wheel, bit by bit.
You should be able to reach and finish almost half of the steering wheel on one side.
Once you do, switch hands and do the other side.
Again hold the top with one hand, and slide the cover into place with the other, bit by bit.
You’ll see it slowly stretching and sliding into place.
By the time you reach the bottom, if everything is done correctly, the cover will sit in.
5. CHECK THAT THE STEERING WHEEL COVER IS FIRMLY IN PLACE
Once finished, take hold of the cover and turn it towards and from yourself while going around the whole wheel.
Sort of „massage“ the cover into place.
The point of this step is to make sure that the cover fits properly.
During the whole process, the steering wheel cover may get a bit twisted and by doing this you straighten it and allow it to sit in properly.
WHAT IF THE STEERING WHEEL COVER DOESN’T FIT?
Although you may have bought the correct cover in terms of size, you still may encounter problems fitting it on the s.wheel.
The most common reasons are different standards, low quality, or because „stiff“ materials were used to make it.
Whatever the reason may be, the usual scenario is that you follow the mentioned procedure for putting a steering wheel cover on but you simply can’t do it.
It seems too small despite the correct size.
Well, besides returning it back to the shop and buying another one, there is one thing you can try that may help.
I’ve used this successfully a couple of times and it worked.
All you’ll need is a water bowl big enough to fit the steering wheel cover inside it.
Here’s what you should do:
1. Fill the water bowl with some warm water. Don’t pour hot water, so you don’t damage the cover. If it’s not too hot for you to keep your hand inside, then it’s OK
2. Submerge the steering wheel cover and leave it like that for at least five minutes.
3. Take the cover out and shake off the water.
4. Put the cover onto the s.wheel as soon as possible so it doesn’t cool down. Use the mentioned procedure for putting the cover on.
5. Wipe away any leftover water and make sure the cover sits in place properly.
As you’ve concluded, the point is to warm up the material and make it stretch easier. It’s very important to do this while the steering wheel cover is still warm.
I would recommend this method on covers that are made of more synthetic materials (like plastic and rubber). These are resilient to water (the water will just slip off) and the cover won’t get soggy.
To be honest, these materials cause most of the problems regarding this issue anyway.
Covers made from more natural materials tend to stretch more easily and putting them on isn’t that much of a problem, in most cases.
So, I would avoid this method on covers made from leather, textile, or if they contain sponge-like materials so water doesn’t ruin them.
So, as you’ve seen, learning how to put a steering wheel cover on is simple. No more complicated than changing the windshield wiper blades, for instance.
Just make sure to buy the one with the right size and that will be comfortable for you while driving.
Make sure that it fits on the wheel properly so it doesn’t slip around while driving. This is very important as it’s a matter of safety.
Again, if the cover is too stiff and if the material allows it, use warm water to loosen it up a bit and then give it a try.
Know that using this car accessory, besides the aesthetic effect, will protect the steering wheel from damage over time. As you probably know, the sweat on your hands is s pretty aggressive substance and over time can make the wheel look shabby and worn out.
Keeping it in good condition is pretty important, if for nothing else, then for the future selling of the car.
Written by: Sibin Spasojevic
Former car technician, life-long car and DIY enthusiast, author for Despairrepair.com
HOW TO PUT A STEERING WHEEL COVER ON-YOUTUBE VIDEO