Historically, high-end vehicles have always had steering wheels covered in leather. As the steering wheel is constantly in contact with the hands it is usually made out of pigmented leather, also known as surface-coloured leather.

   Suede Audi Steering Wheel    Alcantara Steering Wheel    Perforated Leather Steering Wheel

Some manufacturers use leather with a Teflon coating because it is particularly resistant to hand perspiration. However, compared with pigmented leather, Teflon leather has a plastic-like feel. Fortunately, this is not noticeable so much on steering wheels. 

A common steering wheel covering is split leather. It’s of a lower quality than standard grain leather, but since steering wheels have hard surfaces and do not need to be flexible, it is an inexpensive solution for middle and lower priced vehicles.  

Steering wheels with smooth leather are easy to clean and maintain. Regular cleaning and sealing extends the life of the wheel and makes smaller damages easy to repair. Plastic or synthetic leather coverings are also easy to clean and maintain.  

Another material growing in popularity is perforated leather. The level of care and maintenance required for perforated leather is the same but certain precautions must be taken. Please refer to our post on Perforated Leather.

Steering wheels in high-end cars tend to have suede or synthetic materials like Alcantara. These materials are more sensitive than the more common smooth leather or plastics. Through regular use, fibre bobbles, known as ‘pilling’ appear on the surface. Regular cleaning of Alcantara and sanding it down occasionally will get rid of any ‘pilling’ and will help achieve a smooth surface. Suede steering wheels are prone to bleaching, and they can be re-coloured using COLOURLOCK Suede & Nubuck Fresh. The colour in Alcantara steering wheels however cannot be refreshed. Grease and perspiration from the hands can be removed by cleaning thoroughly with COLOURLOCK Leather Cleaning Spirit. Some grease stains may need to be treated with COLOURLOCK Fat Absorber Spray. Another way to prevent these stains from happening is wearing gloves which may not be to everyone's liking! It is worthwhile remembering that Alcantara and suede steering wheels wear quicker than normal leather or synthetic steering wheels.


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