Steering wheels have an extra coating of protective finish on the already finished or coated leather. Perspiration and dirt are absorbed readily into the dry leather, and combined with the ultra violet (UV-B) radiation of the sun a chemical reaction occurs that degrades the finished leather. All of us have seen this wear on steering wheels
A finished leather steering wheel is protected with a urethane clear top coat. UV heat will allow any dirt / grease to become imbedded and the surface becomes more soiled the abrasive dirt / grit produces a shine.
Using leather oil-based conditioners on finished leather may cause delamination from the leather substrate. As the oils will permeate the leather via the stitching or any micro-cracks in the surface, once oil gets between the urethane and the substrate it causes loss of adhesion (See also Oil and Oil based Products)
Most manufacturer’s advice against using oil-based conditioners on steering wheels as it makes the surface slippery and could be dangerous if you lose control of the vehicles steering
1. Clean the wheel’s leather surface with a leather cleaner (Leather Masters™ Strong Effect Cleaner) or a Limonene (citrus) based degreaser (P21S Total Auto Wash) diluted 5:1 with warm distilled water in a spray bottle; dependent upon type and extent of soil or stain
2. For oil or grease stains use Leather Masters™ Leather Degreaser (as for all cleaners - check for colour fastness) this aerosol product is ideal for cleaning this type of stain as it dissolves the oils and transforms them into a powder that is more absorbent than the leather.
3. This powder is what is wiped off, cleaning and degreasing the leather. Allow the white powder to dry fully. If the powder is drying to a yellow colour, it means that there are still a lot of oils in the leather.
Using a Medium / hard horse hair brush (Swissvax Brush), or a soft sponge, spray and work the cleaner into a foam, lightly scrub surface and immediately wipe with a terry towel to remove excess moisture, especially around stitching (you may need to repeat this process).
4. Then use a compressed air nozzle to dry
5. Once wheel is thoroughly dry apply Leather Masters™ Leather Protection
Do not use an abrasive on the surface as you’ll remove the ultra violet protective topcoat
Maintenance – hydrate the leather surface with a damp 100% cotton towel, occasionally use a diluted 1:10 degreaser (Leather Masters™ Leather Degreaser) solution and distilled water to remove any build-up of body oils from your hands
See also article “Leather Covered Steering Wheel Renovation –http://togwt1980.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/leather-steering-wheel-renovation.html
The DCT Motorsports factory - eighteen years of experience refinishing steering wheels and developing unique aero parts for high end vehicles.
They complete all work orders in-house which allows them to accept a wide range of customer’s requests. Customers can specify material colours, materials, patterns, Carbon weave, or almost any type of finish. DCT has full control of every single step in the manufacturing process, so they can assure the best finish quality and fulfil the work orders with minimum lead time
Alcantara™ Covered Steering Wheel
Alcantara™ is not technically a leather product (included it here as it’s often mistaken for suede)
Often perspiration / body oils will cause the nap to become flattened, in most cases it can be revived simply by cleaning with the correct chemicals (Leather Master™ Foam Cleaner) and using a napping brush. As a general rule when cleaning you should only to use products specifically designed for this type of fabric; avoid using a product designed for cleaning leather.
It's also important to do a patch test before cleaning any fabric to make sure the colour or integrity of the fabric won't be damaged. To do this, apply your cleaning product to an inconspicuous area to see what the effect will be.
Use a napping brush to raise the pile and loosen / separate the fibres. Remove pilling with a single-sided razor blade and then apply a suitable cleaning solution on to an applicator pad and apply to one area at a time (do not over-wet the fabric or use wet steam).
To be of real practical use, a subject like automotive detailing requires a great deal of research, and updating as new products become available. The advent of materials like detailing clay, micro fibre technologies and finely milled micro diminishing abrasives, suitable for ceramic nanotechnology paints are examples of why it’s so important to monitor the industries new products, chemical technologies and ideas that are constantly being introduced, as are the techniques for applying them, hence all of the in-depth articles will be up-dated and revised on a regular basis
Always be willing to learn; because the more you learn, the more you’ll realize what you don’t know. You should never stop learning, and your quest for information should be part of your everyday process. It is said that knowledge is power, with the caveat that it includes access to a reliable information sources. I would like to think that these articles become an asset to anyone who is new to detailing and to professional’s alike, as well as industry experts who seek to advance their knowledge.
Most information on detailing is published by product vendors, so the sharing of an unbiased view is a contradiction in terms. I hope these articles are informative. They are based on the current status of technical development as well as my experience with the products. By having some understanding of the ‘What’ and ‘Why’ as well as the ‘How’ along with a little science to help you understand how the chemicals we use react, you can achieve the results you desire.
I would appreciate it if you would share these articles as it helps other detailers further their knowledge.
As always if you have questions, I’ll do my best to answer; bear in mind the only stupid questions is the one that was unasked. Questions and/ or constructive comments are always appreciated
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