How to Repair Leather Steering Wheels

Written by kellyb
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How to Repair Leather Steering Wheels
Leather steering wheels should be well maintained to avoid damage. (ford mustang's steering wheel image by Lario Tus from

A car's leather-wrapped steering wheel experiences a lot of wear and tear due to constant use. Being a highly visible part of the vehicle, you will want to repair small nicks and holes in the leather while also restoring the colour and shine. Luckily, you can do this yourself rather than replacing the entire wheel.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Plastic sheet
  • Acetone
  • Ammonia
  • Rubbing alcohol
  • Spray bottle
  • Plastic scouring pad
  • Gel super glue
  • 240-grit sandpaper
  • Water sealer
  • Adhesion promoter
  • Automotive leather spray dye
  • Satin finish clear coat

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  1. 1

    Spread a plastic sheet under the steering wheel and over the surrounding area to protect it while dealing with the leather.

  2. 2

    Mix 59.1ml each of acetone, ammonia, rubbing alcohol and water in a spray bottle and spray it all over the leather steering wheel.

  3. 3

    Rub the solution into the leather with a plastic scouring pad to remove any dirt, grime or oil.

  4. 4

    Let the wheel dry and look for any small holes that can be patched. If the holes are smaller than your thumbnail, you can repair them.

  5. 5

    Fill each hole with gel super glue and let it become tacky. Arrange the loose leather fibres so that they cover the hole to create a patch over it. Make sure that the fibres get into the glue. Sand down the surrounding leather with 240-grit sandpaper.

  6. 6

    Apply a water sealer over the leather and let it dry before adding a coat of adhesion promoter. The combination of these materials will allow the dye to stick to the leather and appear vibrant.

  7. 7

    Cover the steering wheel with automotive leather spray dye. You may need to apply more than one coat for the best finish for your leather.

  8. 8

    Spray a layer of satin finish clear coat over the dry dye. Let the clear coat dry before removing the plastic and driving your car again.

Tips and warnings

  • Don't forget the back of the steering wheel. It is visible from the outside of the car.
  • Do not try to fill very large gaps of missing leather. The repair will not take and will result in an uneven dye job.

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