How to Refinish a Leather Steering Wheel

Written by lisa east hunter
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How to Refinish a Leather Steering Wheel
Your steering wheel can look brand new. (steering wheel and dash of British sports car image by Bo Widerberg from

Your poor steering wheel gets tortured by the oil from your hands and the heat from the beating sun. It is no wonder that the leather is beginning to crack and fade. You aren't ready to invest in a brand new steering wheel and you would like to get a few more miles out of the one you have. Refinish your leather steering wheel with a few simple steps. You can find leather dyeing products at an auto supply store.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Ammonia
  • Acetone
  • Water
  • Spray bottle
  • Scrub sponge
  • Gel based super glue (optional)
  • 240 grit sandpaper
  • 600 grit sandpaper
  • Leather dye
  • Adhesion promotor
  • Water seal

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  1. 1

    Mix one part ammonia with one part acetone, one part rubbing alcohol and one part water. Pour the mixture into a spray bottle. Spray the steering wheel and scrub with a scrub sponge. Remove all grease and grime from the leather.

  2. 2

    Sand the leather with 600 grit sandpaper. This will create a slightly rough texture on the leather and will prep it for the dye.

  3. 3

    Apply gel based super glue to any small holes in the leather. Any rip smaller than a quarter can be repaired. While the glue is still tacky, sand the steering wheel with 240 grit sandpaper. The glue and the small pieces of leather will form a patch for the hole. Let the glue dry.

  4. 4

    Apply a light, thin coat of water seal to the steering wheel with a paint brush. This will smooth out the leather and provide a good foundation for the adhesion promoter and the dye. Let the sealer dry.

  5. 5

    Wipe on adhesion promoter or base coat with a clean soft, rag. Apply a thin, even coat to the leather steering wheel.

  6. 6

    Paint the dye onto the steering wheel with a clean paintbrush. Rub the dye into the leather with a soft cloth. Let the dye dry.

  7. 7

    Apply a clear coat over the dye to protect the finish. Rub the clear coat into the leather with a soft cloth. Let the coat dry.

Tips and warnings

  • Cover all areas of the car that might get dye splattered on them.
  • Don't forget to dye the back of the steering wheel.

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