How to Put on a Steering Wheel Cover


Steering wheel covers are great.

They spruce up the interior of your car. They help heat up or cool down your steering wheel. And, they provide a much better grip.

Some people are reluctant to use steering wheel covers because because they think covers are difficult to install. As it turns out, some are and some aren’t. 

Let’s walk through how to put on a steering wheel cover.


Know the Correct Size

Steering wheels are measured in two ways – the outside diameter of the steering wheel and the circumference of the grip.

No need to remember your high school trig class. The helpful visual below makes it super simple.

Two ways to measure a steering wheel


For the outside diameter, simply measure across the face of the steering wheel. In the illustration above, that would be from Point A to Point B.

For the circumference of the grip, measure where you wrap your hands around the wheel. On some cars the grip circumference is not consistent.

For example, if the top half of the steering wheel is wood and the bottom half is leather, they might have slightly different measurements. In this case, measure the portion of the wheel with the largest grip circumference.

Although steering wheels can be up to 18 inches in diameter, most are between 14.5 and 15.5 inches. The circumference of the grip is usually between 3 and 5 inches.

If you don’t buy the correct size, it’s almost impossible to get a good fit. I have sadly made that mistake before.


How to Put on a Steering Wheel Cover

There are different types of steering wheel covers, such as DIY, slip on and lace up. As you might imagine, the process for slip on covers is relatively straightforward:

  1. Clean the steering wheel first. Steering wheels are magnets for bacteria and can even have mold. If especially “germy,” start with an alcohol wipe. Follow up with a cleaner that is suited for the material of your steering wheel (wood, vinyl, leather).
  2. Remove the cardboard packaging from the center of your new steering wheel cover.
  3. Start at the top of the wheel. One side of steering wheel covers is always “cut” or open. Place the cut side on the top of the wheel and press the cover onto the wheel.
  4. Work your way down to the bottom of the wheel slowly pushing the cover on. It will get tighter as you reach the bottom. You may have to exert some force to get the cover fully on the bottom.
  5. Once the cover is on, check to make sure it’s properly aligned and even from all sides.

We love short instructional videos. Here is a 90 second demonstration of the process.


Steering Wheel Cover Stitching Instructions

If you have a lace up cover (usually leather), the process is a bit more involved. Read the full instructions from Wheelskins, a big brand in this space.

  • Stretch the steering wheel cover out and position it correctly so that the sewn portion is at the bottom of the wheel.

Lace up steering wheel cover

  • Straighten out the lacing cord and remove any knots. Thread the lacing needle.
  • Start at the first unsewn portion of the wheel. Thread the cord through and leave about 6 inches of cord to tie off at the end. Tightly stitch the cord as noted in the illustration below.

Steering wheel cover lacing technique

  • For the spokes in the steering wheel use a “dummy stitch.” See below.

Steering wheel cover dummy stitch

  • Once the steering wheel cover is fully laced, bring both ends of the cord up through the middle. Tie off in a double knot and clip away an excess. See below.

Tie off steering wheel cover lace cord


Steering wheel covers are VERY popular in the car accessories market. Some people use them for looks and fun while others have more practical reasons such as improved grip and increased comfort.

Regardless, you should be able to find one to meet your needs, as there are literally thousands of choices available.

Don’t let the installation process scare you. The “slip on” variety can literally be installed in 1 – 2 minutes.

Leather and other lace up types are more involved. The good news is the process is relatively easy to understand. It just takes a little patience. 

Hopefully you have found this guide on How to Put on a Steering Wheel Cover helpful.

Now it’s time to go treat you and your car to a really cool steering wheel cover.

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