How to Paint a Steering Wheel: 3 Things You’ll Need


Want to paint your steering wheel but unsure what you will need or where to start? Painting your steering wheel can be a complex project, especially if this is your first time. You want to do it right and make no mistakes.

What are the three things you will need to paint your steering wheel? You will need:

  • Sandpaper

  • Adhesion promoter

  • One can of vinyl/plastic spray paint.

These three things will help you have your steering wheel looking like new and have long-lasting results.

Just as there are only a few items needed to paint a steering wheel, there are only a few steps as well. From prepping your area to painting the wheel, following these steps make the process simple. 

How To Paint a Steering Wheel

While you are able to pay someone else to paint your steering wheel, you can save plenty of money by doing it yourself and following these steps.  

  1. Gather Materials

At your local hardware store, from Amazon, or in your garage, grab the following materials:

Abrasive Wet Sandpaper Sheets

Adhesion Promoter

SEM Paints Satin Black Color Coat

While these are our recommended products, you can pick different colors or a particular brand adhesive that you prefer. 

  1. Remove the Steering Wheel

remove steering wheel

Depending on the model of your car, there are different ways to remove the steering wheel from your car, which you can reference here

Before you paint, you will have to take apart your steering wheel. Check your owners manual to see if it has an airbag or not. If so, the steering wheel can be removed after the car battery has been disconnected for 30 minutes.

Then, disconnect the horn wire from the steering wheel. After this removing the parts becomes easy. For a more detailed process, this should help or watch the video below.

  1. Prep the Area

Prep the Steering Wheel

When you are ready to start painting your area, you will need to use the 500 grit sandpaper to prep your space. Remove all cracks and dirt, making the steering wheel surface even. Then, the paint can coat the steering wheel evenly as well. 

Be careful to not sand it down too much to where the grip shape of the steering wheel is lost. If your steering wheel happens to have some deep cracks, epoxy foam can help fill in those spaces. Just fill it in according to the package directions and wait for it to dry. 

When dry, sand it down to match the surface of the steering wheel. You want to make sure that during this step you take your time. The better the prep, the better the result.

  1. Apply the Promoter

apply the promoter to steering wheel

When your steering wheel is clean and sanded down, you will want to add your adhesion promoter. This is used so the paint can stick to the wheel. Without it, the paint will slide off. It provides a bond between the steering wheel and the paint for the product to last longer. 

There are two ways you can use the promoter: sponge or spray. The spray promoter is typically used on plastic/vinyl steering wheels, and the sponges generally are used on leather steering wheels. Whichever you decide, liberally apply the promoter and let it dry until there is no sticky residue. You can apply multiple coats if needed.

  1. Paint the Wheel

apply paint to steering wheel

This is the easiest part, choose your vinyl/plastic spray paint and paint. Do this outside to protect yourself from the fumes. 

When you paint your steering wheel, make sure to apply it liberally and evenly to make it look uniform. When done, let dry until the paint has hardened and does not have a sticky film. This can take anywhere from 4 to 24 hours to completely dry. If needed, apply additional coats.

Options 6th Step: Apply a Clear Coat

You are done with painting your steering wheel and want to know if there is anything that can make it look better. In some cases, a clear coat of paint can be applied to the steering wheel after it is completely dry. It makes it shiner, and some say that it makes the paint last longer. If you decide to do this extra step, the clear coat can take another 4 hours or more to dry. 

Is Painting My Wheel Worth it?

Painting a steering wheel yourself can save a few dollars, but it can be a bit of a hassle for the beginner. If you want to take it to a professional, a typical price starts at just 500 dollars, without any restoration they deem fit. 

They will charge extra for crack fill-ins, shipping, if necessary, and insurance. Listed below are the highest rated items needed to paint a steering wheel and the price. As you can see, painting a steering wheel on your own is about 45 dollars compared to a starting price of 500 dollars. All you need is some patience.

How Long Will It Last?

If done correctly, your steering wheel should not have to be repainted for the duration of the car's life

But if the steering wheel is not properly dried between each step, wear will happen almost immediately. When this happens, the steering wheel will have to be repainted in a matter of months. To achieve not only the best results but long lasting results, take your time with each step.

During the summer months, when a hot car can get up to 100 degrees or higher, the paint may begin to come off. It is recommended you use the optional step and apply a clear coat. It will harden the outer surface even more and keep the paint from fading away.

If you take care of your car's plastic and vinyl parts, you can go a long way towards keeping everything looking like new. 

Like any paint job, it will need some care to last for a long time. Make sure to apply your clear coat according to the directions of the product that you are using. 

Visual Aid

For some people, they have to see it done to perfect the process. Here is a great video to guide you as well.

Other Ways to Paint Your Steering Wheel

With seeing how easy painting a steering wheel can be, you can be more creative more often. Whether you decide to paint your steering wheel a different color every month or every season, these three items are a necessity for it to look great every single time.

One alternative is to hydro dip your steering wheel. Hydro dip is a new and creative way to paint by using multiple spray colors at once. 

Instead of just spraying the color on the wheel, you can get a bucket, fill it with water and spray your desired colors into the water.

The paint will then sit on top of the water ready for you to dip the steering wheel. After it is dipped the steering wheel will come out having a tye-dye aesthetic. Here is a video that shows you. 


Just as it is important for you to dry a regularly painted steering wheel, it is even more important with this technique. The dry time on the steering wheel can take from days to weeks to completely dry without a sticky residue.

It is also strongly recommended that a clear coat is added for long lasting results. This alternative still has the three things you will need, it is just more creative and requires patience.

Depending on the weather your paint job might take longer to dry. 

Paint Your Steering Wheel With Confidence

By using these three items, there are multiple ways to get the results you want from painting your steering wheel. Whether it is a one time project or you are looking into changing the color multiple times, these items will be crucial to your success. 

The post How to Paint a Steering Wheel: 3 Things You’ll Need appeared first on DRIVING LIFE.