Restoring Old Leather Steering Wheel

If your leather steering wheel is looking tired — a little shiny, white grime in the grain — and just won’t clean up, it may be time to refresh the leather.  Colourlock makes a kit that is easy to use and very effective at bringing the leather back to near original condition. You’ll just need a stiff cleaning brush, some towels and masking tape in addition to the kit. Allow 30-60 minutes from start to finish.

Start by masking-off any plastic trim and clean with a brush. As you work your way around the steering wheel, look for deep scratches or other imperfections in the leather. If the steering wheel isn’t hasn’t been terribly neglected, a good cleaning maybe all you need.  It this case, it needed the full treatment.

The next step is to remove any remaining grease, oil or conditioners before refreshing the surface color.  Usually shiny leather is a sign of grease and oil build up from the years of grubby hands grasping the wheel. Wear gloves and use leather spirit to remove any remaining surface contaminates. This will leave the leather very dull looking. 

Lightly sand the leather to increase surface adhesion and reduce areas of shine. Take care to avoid the stitching. Carefully sand any rough spots, scratches or other surface imperfections. Clean again with leather spirit. At this point you may be thinking, “What have I done?” but carry on.

Start with areas of the heaviest sanding and apply the Colour Fresh according to the instructions. Use the sponge to apply with a dabbing motion. Apply in sections and use a heat gun or hair dryer when complete with each section. As soon as you see the dye change to a dull sheen, it’s dry to the touch. Apply two coats to the entire steering wheel. Areas of heavy damage or more sanding will likely need additional coats. 

Allow to dry overnight and apply a light coating of UV protectant. Let it soak in and then buff it to a dull sheen. Now stop eating in your car.