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For a while now I've been looking for good options to deal with an unslightly problem in my '93 ES300. The problem was the worn leather on the steering wheel.

Over 14 years, the leather on the wheel became cracked and the dye faded, especially around the top half which gets most of the handling and abuse.

I contemplated some type of wheel cover, from the cheaper Wal-mart types to the more expensive "Wheelskins" type. But I've never liked the look of any of them and don't think putting a cover over the wheel to hide the worn surface underneath is any better than putting unattractive seat covers on to hide worn out seats underneath. To be honest, I'd sooner replace the wheel with a new one than go the cover-up route, but that's a pretty expensive solution.

But recently I found a professional steering wheel refinisher who did a great job of sanding, cleaning, crack filling, redyeing, and coating my old wheel so it looks brand spanking new again, and it didn't cost any more than buying a good quality wheel cover. So, I'm good to go for another 14 years! :cheers:

Before:

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strwhlB1.jpg

After:

strwhlA4.jpg

strwhlA2.jpg

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It look about an hour and no, the wheel didn't have to come off. He just taped up the center part so it didn't get anything on it, and he covered the dash and instrument cluster with towels to protect them from overspray.

The process was:

1) Sand the wheel with fine grit paper to get the surface smooth.

2) Apply a liquid cleaner to remove all oils, soil, conditioner residues, etc.

3) Spread a paste-type filler onto affected areas and smooth it in.

4) Sand surface again.

5) Spray the wheel with a coating of dye (2 or 3 layers).

6) Dry with a hot air gun between layers.

7) Apply clearcoat (2 or 3 layers).

8) Dry with hot air gun.

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did it gum up the stitching at all?

Not sure what you meant by "gum up" the stitching.

He didn't sand over any of the stitching or apply filler to it, but the whole leather part of the wheel was sprayed with dye and then a protective coating after that. The stitching is still visible, if that is what you were wondering.

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How much did it cost and what type of company was this? Something like a body shop? Thanks!

The wheel refinishing cost $60 and it was done by a small local business called "New Creations". They have a few mobile service vehicles that go out to their customers' homes to do vehicle repair work "on location" and they also do contract work for a number of car dealerships in the area, reconditioning the interiors of vehicles that have been traded in for newer models.

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Does anyone live in the seattle area that knows of a great place to get this done because my steering wheel really bothers me I have the tan leather and it turned dark brown and green its the only part of the interior that is not mint and I would really love to have everything perfect

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Not a bad job, but steering wheels can be difficult. A lot of mobile tech repair guys will shy away from this, because of long term durability problems. The big issue is all of the oils and dirt soaked into the leather. This has to be removed or you will have adhesion problems. I recently redid my steering wheel and it is holding up well. I cleaned it over a couple of days with my cleaner, straight alcohol and MEK (or acetone, I can't remember). I finished the cleaning with wiping the wheel down with water several times. I let it dry for a full day and then proceeded with refinishing it like I detailed in the Definitive sticky at the top of the page. I did use Leather Skin as my filler instead of the RC leather filler.

As for finding a business that does this, call the Lexus dealership and ask the service writers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Did you have the remove the steering wheel? How long did it take to do the refinishing work? What was the total time you were without your car?

For a while now I've been looking for good options to deal with an unslightly problem in my '93 ES300. The problem was the worn leather on the steering wheel.

Over 14 years, the leather on the wheel became cracked and the dye faded, especially around the top half which gets most of the handling and abuse.

I contemplated some type of wheel cover, from the cheaper Wal-mart types to the more expensive "Wheelskins" type. But I've never liked the look of any of them and don't think putting a cover over the wheel to hide the worn surface underneath is any better than putting unattractive seat covers on to hide worn out seats underneath. To be honest, I'd sooner replace the wheel with a new one than go the cover-up route, but that's a pretty expensive solution.

But recently I found a professional steering wheel refinisher who did a great job of sanding, cleaning, crack filling, redyeing, and coating my old wheel so it looks brand spanking new again, and it didn't cost any more than buying a good quality wheel cover. So, I'm good to go for another 14 years! :cheers:

Before:

strwhlB2.jpg

strwhlB1.jpg

After:

strwhlA4.jpg

strwhlA2.jpg

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Share on other sites
Did you have the remove the steering wheel? How long did it take to do the refinishing work? What was the total time you were without your car?

No, the steering wheel did not have to be removed. The area around it was protected with towels. The whole process took approximately an hour, and I was able to drive the car right away as it was completely dry.

QualityLeather: The guy that did my refinishing cleaned the wheel thoroughly with a strong liquid cleaner, but I didn't ask what was in it. All I know is that he had a small cut on one of his figures and got a bit of the cleaner it in. He was hopping around in agony for a few seconds afterwards, I so I assumed the cleaner he was using was pretty powerful. :whistles:

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