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Can You Put a New Steering Wheel in an Old Car?


Your car steering wheel can sometimes get weak and worn out, thereby reducing the car’s functionality. If you’re experiencing a steering wheel problem, the question you might be asking is can you put a new steering wheel in an old car to improve its efficiency?

The answer to your question is yes. Putting a new steering wheel in an old car is one of the ways to give a car a new lease of life.

Changing your steering wheel can improve your driving experience. However, you might lose some steering features such as cruise control and audio control. To mitigate this disadvantage, you can replace your steering wheel with a replica.

This article sheds light on when you need to change your steering wheel and how to go about it.

Symptoms of A Bad Steering Wheel

A steering wheel is very important hence a bad steering wheel needs to be promptly fixed. The steering wheel can develop different faults which you can spot from your driving experience.

This is a list of failing steering wheel symptoms you can look out for.


Warning Light On

Cars that use an electric steering wheel have a computer system that monitors the car features including the steering wheel. Therefore, an issue with the steering wheel will cause the system to indicate a warning light on the dashboard.

If your dashboard shows a steering wheel warning light, you should visit a mechanic to scan the car to determine the problem.

Steering Wheel Is Hard To Turn

When your car uses power steering, the car steering wheel is soft and easy to turn. When you experience unusual difficulty turning the steering wheel, there might be a problem with the power steering system.

The problem might be due to a leaking steering pump or hose which causes the fluid level to drop. You can take your car to the mechanic and have it checked out.

Failed Tilt Angle

Cars with a power steering system come with a tilt function that allows you to set the angle of the tilt. When the tilt fails to lock in a position, it could mean that there’s a problem with the steering system.

Grinding Noise

If you hear your steering wheel making some noise when turning, it might mean something is wrong. You should check the steering wheel for possible wear or damage.

Loosening Of The Steering Wheel

A loose steering wheel is a symptom of a failing steering wheel. A loose steering wheel is often due to excessively worn-out components. It’s very risky to drive with a loose steering wheel hence you should avoid it.

Crooked Steering Wheel

A crooked steering wheel is the result of a misalignment in the wheel configuration. To fix this, you can take your car to the mechanic to adjust the steering wheel and restore the driving accuracy.

Excessive Steering Wheel Vibration

While driving, if you find that the steering wheel is vibrating excessively, it suggests something is wrong. Aside from creating a terrible driving experience, a vibrating steering wheel is risky to use.

If you’re experiencing excessive steering wheel vibration, you should consider changing the steering wheel.

The Steering Wheel Is Off Center

After making a turn, the steering wheel should normally return to the center by itself. When the steering wheel fails to return to the center, it means it’s off-center. This could be a result of a broken part in the steering column or a blockage to the steering wheel.

Steering Wheel Shaking At High Speed

If you notice that the steering wheel is shaking when you accelerate, it might be due to damage in the steering systems. You can have the steering wheels’ gear and linkages replaced.

How To Change Your Car Steering Wheel

If your car steering wheel is failing, you might have to replace it with a new one. If you want to change your car steering wheel, these are the steps you should follow.

changing car steering wheel

Find a Suitable Steering Wheel

There are notable differences in steering column construction hence you should choose a suitable steering wheel.

Before buying a replacement, you should have the necessary dimensions and specifications to ensure that you don’t buy the wrong type of steering wheel.

Disconnect The Battery

Before starting, you should disconnect the negative terminal from the battery. This will cut off the electricity to the car and make it easier and safer to disconnect the wire.

Remove the Plastic Covers

You need to carefully remove the plastic that covers the steering wheel. While removing the plastic, ensure you keep track of all the screws and their holes. This is to ensure easy reassembling.

You need to patiently uncouple the plastic around the wheel to ensure you don’t cut the wires or lose the small screws.

Disconnect the Wires

There are a lot of wires that pass from the dashboard to the steering column. You should disconnect the wires one by one to free up the wheel and prepare it for replacement.

While disconnecting the wires, you want to approach the job with caution to avoid cutting or tearing the wires. If you accidentally cut or tear the wires, you quickly call a mechanic to fix the problem.

Center Lug Nut

The center lug nut is what holds the steering wheel in position and after disconnecting the wire, you should have a clear view of the center lug.

You can remove the center lug with regular tools. However, in some cases, you might require a special set if the center lug has a different pattern. After removing the center lug, you can begin replacing the wheel.

Apply Lubrication

The steering wheel requires lubrication for easy movement hence you should apply sufficient lubrication after placing the new wheel. Apply enough lubrication on the center part to ensure that the new wheel works smoothly.

You can then begin reconnecting the wires to the necessary pots after which you can return the plastic to its rightful place.


The steering wheel is an important part of a car as it determines its direction. An inefficient steering wheel will lead to a poor driving experience and also increase the risk of accidents.

It’s therefore important that you change your steering wheel when you find any faulty symptoms. If you are unsure of your ability to change the steering wheel yourself, you should hire the services of a professional.

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