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How to Take off a Steering Wheel: A Complete Guide

One indispensable part of a vehicle is the steering wheel that helps with changing the directions. Steering wheel removal may be required sometimes when you need to work on the steering components or change the whole steering wheel for some reason. To avoid damage to the airbag, horn, and other attached systems, you need to know how to take off a steering wheel.

A Complete Guide on How to Take off a Steering Wheel

A correct how-to manual will help you remove the steering wheel of your car and save some bucks that would have been spent on professional service. This easy to implement guide will make sure that you do it correctly, and there is no chance of a mishap afterward.

how to remove a steering wheel
The steering wheel may need replacement.

Prerequisite Tools

Though the steering wheels of different look different, the process of taking off a steering wheel is more or less the same. Before going through the procedures of how to remove a steering wheel, collect these instruments:

  • Protective gloves
  • Toolset including screwdrivers
  • Protective eyewear

Step-by-Step Procedures

Before you proceed, remember that safety comes first. There is no need to take risks if you don’t have the required skills. Leave this task to a professional.

However, if you decide to take off the steering wheel anyway, park the car on a plain ground, pointing the car wheels straight, so it remains in a straight position. Set the emergency brake and switch off the engine. Your car is ready now.

Here are the necessary steps you need to follow regarding how to take off a steering wheel:

Remove the negative battery cable.

This is the first step. It will prevent any incident of electrical short circuits while you are replacing steering wheel. Detach the airbag located in the middle of the steering wheel.

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Take off the mounting bolts.

After removing the airbag carefully, locate the mounting bolt or nut of the steering wheel. If a mounting bolt is holding your steering wheel, there is no need to use a wheel puller.

Turn the steering wheel at 90 degrees and turn the bolt counterclockwise to loosen. Most cars have a steering lock that needs to be unlocked to make this unbolting process seamless. Using an air impact gun will make this process easier. However, if you do not have it, use a socket or wheel brace to loosen the bolt.

Pull out the steering wheel.

After detaching the bolt, inspect the threads carefully to check if you caused any damage while removing steering wheel.

Now, hold the steering wheel firmly and pull outward using equal force with both hands. If the steering wheel feels stubborn, change the position of your hands and try pulling again by twisting and turning it a bit. The steering wheel will come out of the shaft. This is how to take a steering wheel off.

Check the wiring and other things.

Watch out for an alignment indicator that you will need during the wheel re-installation. The indicator mark which way is up. If you notice no mark, create one for your reference. (Note: Some shaft splines contain a flat spot that works as a marking.)

When the wheel is free, put out the wiring, connectors, and terminals through the access hole located at the center of the steering wheel.

Examine the steering wheel.

Inspect the steering wheel to find out if there is any damage. If you are going to replace it, check the similarity with the new unit.

The clock spring unit consists of a bunch of wiring that stays attached to the steering wheel when you turn it in any direction. You have to be careful while handing that unit. Do not rotate that when the steering wheel is not attached.

removing steering wheel
Be careful when removing and re-attaching the steering wheel.

Re-install the wheel.

When this wheel is ready after repairing, or you have a new steering wheel in line for installation, connect it with the wiring and connector that come out through the access hole of the steering wheel.
Keeping aligned with the indication mark, place the steering wheel onto the wheel column shaft and gently push. The alignment will help you to avoid any accidents in the future while driving.

Take the mounting bolt and apply a thin layer of Loctite Blue on it. It will help the mounting bolt to stay in place tightly. Use your hand to insert the mounting bolt. It will prevent any cross-threading. Tighten the bolt according to the recommendations of the manufacturers. It is the last step of steering wheel installation.

Do a final check.

This is how to take off a steering wheel, examine it, and re-install it. Recheck the wire routing and bolt tightening before you go for a drive.

Wrapping up

Knowing about the steering wheel removal will save you plenty of money. All you have to do is following the instructions of this guide and act accordingly. Also, be careful when handling the components because even minor damage may lead to expensive repairs.