BMWs are high-performance, precision-engineered vehicles. You may need to remove the steering wheel on a BMW in order to install an aftermarket one, replace the stock one with one in better shape or even to perform routine maintenance. Removing the wheel on a BMW is a relatively straightforward procedure. It should be noted that extreme care should be taken when removing the wheel on an air-bag-equipped BMW. If you do not feel confident in doing this job, you should have a professional remove the wheel.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
Things you need
- Socket set and ratchet
- Torx bit (for air-bag-equipped BMWs)
Park the BMW on a flat surface with the steering wheel pointed straight ahead. Disconnect the negative battery cable from the battery. If the car is equipped with an air bag, let the system discharge for a few minutes.
Remove the screws that hold the air bag in place if the BMW is equipped with an air bag. These screws will be located on the back of the steering wheel and are recessed into the wheel. They will likely be star-shaped Torx bits, but this may vary depending on which BMW you are working on. Consult a workshop manual for your particular car if you cannot locate the screws for the air or cannot determine how to remove them.
Hold the air bag in place with your hands as you remove the last screw so that the air bag is not allowed to fall. Carefully disconnect the wires for the air bag and the wires for the horn from the back of the air bag. Set the air bag out of the way, facing up so that the roundel on it does not get scratched.
Pry out the centre trim pad that has the BMW roundel in the middle of it on older BMWs, such as the E28 5 Series and E30 3 Series, that are not equipped with air bags. You may need to use a tool like a flathead screwdriver to pry the piece out. Disconnect the wires for the horn from the back of the trim piece.
Remove the large centre nut that holds the steering wheel to the steering column with a socket and a ratchet. You may need to use an extension on the socket in order to reach the nut, which will be recessed a bit into the wheel. Use a marker to make a mark on the steering wheel where it mounts to the column as well as on the column so that the wheel is reinstalled correctly.
Slowly pull the wheel straight off of the steering column. Disconnect any wires that go to the back of the steering wheel for the horn or air bag, if the car is new enough to have an air bag.
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