How to remove scratches from a leather steering wheel

Written by brenda priddy
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Many vehicles have steering wheels covered in leather. This leather cover is made of thin, flexible leather that adds luxury and softness to a vehicle. Over time, different materials can scratch the leather, including nails, keys, rings and buttons. Scratched leather does not appear as beautiful or luxurious as undamaged leather, and scratched leather also can turn into torn leather fairly quickly. There is a method to repair steering wheel scratches and return the vehicle's steering wheel to a like-new appearance. It also helps protect the steering wheel from receiving future scratches.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • White vinegar
  • Soft cloths
  • Leather filler
  • Popsicle stick
  • Fine grit sandpaper
  • Leather dye
  • Colourless shoe polish or leather conditioner

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  1. 1

    Rub the surface of the steering wheel with a soft cloth dipped in white vinegar. This will swell the cracks and make them nearly indistinguishable. Allow the vinegar to soak into the leather for several minutes.

  2. 2

    Inspect the scratches. If they are still visible, place a small amount of leather filler inside each crack with a Popsicle stick. Allow the leather filler to dry for one hour. Sand the filled area carefully with a fine grit sandpaper to even the level of the filler to that of the rest of the steering wheel. Take care not to scratch the original leather.

  3. 3

    Apply some leather dye to the scratches or leather filler with your fingers. This will blend the scratches into the leather and make them invisible to the naked eye. Work the dye into the leather until the filler or scratch blends in with the original leather. Allow the dye to dry for one or two hours.

  4. 4

    Buff the steering wheel leather with a soft cloth dipped in colourless shoe polish. You also can use leather conditioner to cover the leather and protect it from future scratch damage, oil or moisture. Blend the repaired areas into the main leather and create a shiny lustre over the surface of the steering wheel.

  5. 5

    Allow the steering wheel to absorb the dye and conditioner for 24 hours before using the vehicle, if possible. If you cannot wait an entire day before using the car, wait overnight for best results.

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