Leather is a luxurious material that can add a touch of class to any car. It’s also important to keep it in good condition, or else it will quickly become dry and cracked. In this article, we will discuss whether or not you can use leather conditioners on your steering wheel.
To answer my question of the day brief, if the steering wheel cover or wrap is made of genuine leather, then you can use a leather conditioner on them to help keep it moisturized, supple, and looking new.
If the leather on your steering wheel is starting to look dry, feel stiff, or have cracks, then you should definitely consider using a leather conditioner to treat it. Just like your skin, the leather on your steering wheel needs to be hydrated to stay healthy and prevent cracking.
In the rest of the article, I will share with you some important benefits of using leather conditioners on your steering wheel, as well as how to do it, so you do not ruin your steering wheel.
Benefits Of Using Leather Conditioner On Steering Wheels
There are a lot of benefits to using leather conditioners on your steering wheel. Here are a few of the most important ones:
1. Protects The Steering Wheel From The Sun
One of the primary benefits of using a leather conditioner on your steering wheel is that it will protect the leather from the sun.
The positioning of the steering wheel allows the sun to beat down on it for hours at a time. With this level of exposure, it’s not surprising that the leather can start to fade, crack, and dry out.
A good quality leather conditioner will contain UV protection that will help to shield the steering wheel from the sun’s harmful rays. This will keep the steering wheel looking like new for much longer.
In addition to protecting the leather from the sun, the conditioner will also help to keep the steering wheel from drying out.
2. Helps To Keep The Steering Wheel From Cracking
As mentioned above, one of the main reasons to use a leather conditioner on your steering wheel is to prevent it from cracking.
Cracks in the leather are not only unsightly, but they can also be quite painful if you happen to brush up against them. A good quality conditioner will help to keep the leather supple and prevent cracking.
Cracks on your steering wheels can be caused by excessive exposure to the sun’s rays, sweat, and even just the natural aging process.
While you can’t completely prevent cracks from happening, using a conditioner will help to minimize them.
The conditioner works by keeping the steering wheel hydrated and pliable. This prevents it from becoming dry and brittle, which is what causes cracks.
When applied regularly, a leather conditioner will help to keep your steering wheel looking new for years to come.
3. Gives The Steering Wheel A Soft, Supple Feel
Another benefit of using a leather conditioner on your steering wheel is that it will give the leather a soft, supple feel.
We all love the rich, luxurious feel of the leather steering wheel, and we all do not want to lose that feeling. A good quality leather conditioner will help to maintain that soft, supple feel.
The conditioner does this by replenishing the natural oils in the leather that are lost over time. This keeps the steering wheel hydrated and prevents it from becoming dry and stiff.
This will surely make your driving experience much more enjoyable.
4. Makes Cleaning The Steering Wheel Much Easier
Cleaning a leather steering wheel can be quite a challenge. The pores in the leather tend to trap dirt and grime, making it difficult to clean.
If you don’t clean your steering wheel regularly, the dirt and grime can build up and become very hard to remove.
However, if you use a conditioner on your steering wheel, dirt and grime will have no room in the pores of the leather steering wheel–making it easy to clean.
The conditioner creates a barrier that protects the leather from dirt and grime. When it’s time to clean the steering wheel, all you need to do is wipe it down with a damp cloth–it’s that easy!
5. Enhances The Look Of The Steering Wheel
When you use a leather conditioner on your steering wheel, it will not only feel better, but it will also look better.
A good quality conditioner will restore the natural color of the leather steering wheel and add a healthy sheen. This will make your steering wheel look new again.
Leather conditioners can also help to fill in minor scratches and nicks, making them virtually invisible.
If you want your steering wheel to look its best, then using a leather conditioner is definitely one of the best ways to go.
6. Restores Lost Oils After Cleaning The Steering Wheel
Although I have mentioned this a couple of times already, it bears repeating–using a leather conditioner on your steering wheel will help to restore lost oils after cleaning.
A lot of people make the mistake of not applying a leather conditioner after cleaning most of their leather-made items. This hurts the leather surface more than it helps it.
Cleaning the steering wheel with soap and water will strip away some of the natural oils that keep the leather healthy. These oils need to be replaced in order for the leather to stay hydrated and supple.
If you don’t replace these lost oils, the leather will become dry and brittle–which can lead to cracking.
So, if you want to keep your steering wheel looking its best, make sure to apply a conditioner after every cleaning.
7. Enhances Patina On The Steering Wheel
If you have a steering wheel that is made of vintage or distressed leather, then using a leather conditioner can enhance the patina.
Patina is the natural process of leather where it changes color and develops a soft sheen. This usually happens over time with exposure to sunlight and other elements.
However, you can speed up this process by using a leather conditioner. The conditioner will help to darken the leather and give it a soft, beautiful sheen.
If you want your steering wheel to have that vintage look, then using a leather conditioner is definitely the way to go.
8. Prevents Stains On The Steering Wheel
A properly conditioned leather steering wheel will not get stained easily.
The conditioner creates a barrier that helps to repel water, oil, and dirt–three of the main culprits when it comes to staining leather.
If you spill something on your steering wheel or your hands are contaminated with grease, the conditioner will help to prevent those stains from setting in.
All stains and spills will bead up on the surface of the steering wheel and can be easily wiped away–leaving the leather looking clean and new.
It’s always better to be safe than sorry. So, if you want to protect your steering wheel from stains, make sure to use a leather conditioner.
Downsides Of Using Leather Conditioner On Steering Wheel
While there are a lot of benefits to using a leather conditioner on your steering wheel, there are also a few downsides that you should be aware of.
1. It Can Make Your Steering Wheel Sticky
If you use too much leather conditioner on your steering wheel, it can make the surface quite sticky.
This is usually the case for faux leather steering wheels as they are non-porous, so the leather conditioner will not be absorbed as easily.
Also, if you use an inferior quality conditioner, it can leave a sticky residue on the steering wheel that is difficult to remove.
If you do end up with a sticky steering wheel, the best thing to do is to clean it off with a damp cloth and then reapply a thin layer of conditioner.
Sticky steering wheels are not fun to drive with–so make sure to avoid this problem by using a good quality leather conditioner and applying it sparingly.
2. The Steering Wheel Becomes Darker With Time
Another downside of using a leather conditioner on your steering wheel is that it will become darker over time.
This is because the conditioner contains oils and waxes that will darken the leather when it’s applied.
In most cases, this will be inevitable–so if you’re not a fan of dark steering wheels, then you might want to limit the use of the leather conditioner.
You can also go for non-darkening leather conditioners, which are available in the market.
3. Can Attract Dirt If Not Applied Properly
If you don’t apply the leather conditioner properly, it can actually attract dirt and grime–which is the last thing you want.
When applying the conditioner, make sure to buff the surface until it’s completely absorbed.
If there is any excess conditioner left on the surface, it will attract dirt and dust–which will make your steering wheel look dirty and grimy.
Steering Wheels You Should Not Use Leather Conditioner On
As mentioned before, it is recommended that you use leather conditioners on real or genuine leather steering wheels.
There are steering wheels you should not use a leather conditioner on. Here are some steering wheel wraps you shouldn’t use leather conditioner on:
- Faux Leather Steering Wheels
- Suede Steering Wheels
- Nappa Steering Wheels
- Alcantara Steering Wheels
Using a leather conditioner on these steering wheel wraps can actually damage the material and make it look worse.
So, if you have any of these steering wheel materials, it’s best to avoid using a leather conditioner altogether.
How To Use Leather Conditioner On Steering Wheels
Here’s a quick step-by-step guide on how to use a leather conditioner on your steering wheels.
- Start by cleaning the steering wheel with a leather cleaner to remove any dirt, grime, or other build-ups that could prevent the conditioner from being fully absorbed.
- Next, take a clean cloth and apply a small amount of conditioner to it.
- Gently rub the conditioner into the steering wheel in small circular motions until the entire surface is covered.
- Be sure to pay special attention to any cracks or crevices–as these are the areas where the leather is most likely to dry out.
- Once you’re done, buff the steering wheel with a clean cloth to remove any excess conditioner.
And that’s it! You’ve now successfully conditioned your leather steering wheel. Enjoy the softer, more supple feel of your steering wheel and the improved grip that it provides.
Keep in mind that you should only need to condition your steering wheel once or twice a year–so don’t overdo it.