How to: Remove steering wheel

Disclaimer: Links on this page pointing to Amazon, eBay and other sites may include affiliate code. If you click them and make a purchase, we may earn a small commission.

jared999

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Posts
176
Reaction score
311
DISCLAIMER. I AM NOT RESPONSIBLE IF YOU GET HURT OR IF YOU DAMAGE YOUR VEHICLE. THINK BEFORE WORKING ON YOUR VEHICLE. ALWAYS DISCONNECT YOUR BATTERY BEFORE WORKING ON ELECTRICAL COMPONENTS OR ANYTHING RELATED TO AIRBAGS.
NEVER STICK ANYTHING SHARP INTO THE RELEASE HOLES ON THE STEERING COLUMN.

Tools needed:

*21mm deep socket (+ a 6 inch extension) + ratchet to clear steering wheel
*1/8 drill bit
*plastic pick
*pliers or crescent wrench
*paint pen
*10mm socket

1. remove negative terminal on battery
2. stick 1/8th drill bit into one of two small holes on steering column
The bit will be perpendicular to the column. You will insert bit and find
some resistance and a spring type feel. When you feel that, you have the right spot. You may need to insert the bit / tool multiple times until you find the spring.
Push and that side of the airbag cover will release. You may need to pull the cover a little near the horn symbol at the same time. NEVER use a sharp pick or tool for this task.
It will stay open but you can wedge a plastic piece in there if you wish, to not accidentely close it.
3. repeat process on other side / opposite hole.
4. now that both sides have been released, gently pull the airbag away a couple inches. Gently
because you have some cables to detach. Using a plastic pick, detach the cable(s) at the top.
Now you have some more slack. There are two yellow cables attached to back of bag. Use a plastic
tool to lift, a small amount, the plastic clips that keep the cables in place. once you lift those a
bit, you squeeze tiny textured plastic clips, one on each size, then lift and remove connector. remove both connectors. now remove airbag.
5. Make sure your steering wheel is at high noon. use paint pen to mark the nut, stud and then below the stud.
I dont' know the torque spec on the nut, but you can tighten until snug. if you marked it, you can tighten until you get to your mark.
i've been told step 5 (paint pen) isn't necessary but I would do it just in case.
6. with airbag now removed, hold the wheel. use 21mm socket to loosen nut.
7. once you break the nut, back it off a few turns, no more than half way down the stud.
8. using a rocking motion, pull left side then right, pull the steering wheel hard. A fair amount of
resistance is normal. You left the nut on there right? This will prevent damage to your wheel mechanisms and to your face.
9. With the wheel loose, back off the nut and remove the wheel.
Your wheel is now off. .
10. Perform steps in reverse for install.
* line up steering wheel at high noon
*when you reinstall the airbag , line it up and push it into place. it should clip on both left
and right side. that's it. Bag cover should be flush with steering wheel.

If you need to swap the color of your airbag cover or for some reason R&R it, here are the steps.
10. flip center cover / bag over. there are 4 10mm nuts. take those off.
11. push aside the 8 plastic / rubbery holder clips
12. pull the metal bracket off. you may need to gently move one or more of the metal tabs
on the side. don't force them much as they will bend.
13. pay attention to the airbag orientation. carefully remove it, KEEPING it folded as you pull it out.
14. place it into your new plastic cover, making sure folds are correct.
15. place bracket on. install 4 10mm nuts.
16. make sure the 8 rubber clips are in place
17. reinstall airbag on secured steering wheel.

WP_20230225_18_05_58_Pro.jpg

WP_20230225_17_24_42_Pro.jpg

WP_20230225_17_23_24_Pro.jpg

WP_20230225_17_30_29_Pro.jpg

WP_20230225_17_29_13_Pro.jpg
 
Last edited:
OP
OP
J

jared999

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Posts
176
Reaction score
311
WP_20230225_17_26_44_Pro.jpg

This is how one side of airbag looks when you successfully release one side spring.
While you insert your bit, you may need to gently pull on the bag cover near the horn symbol.

WP_20230225_17_24_30_Pro.jpg

this is how it looks when flush / properly installed.
WP_20230225_17_24_34_Pro.jpg

WP_20230225_18_01_39_Pro.jpg



DO NOT USE A SHARP TOOL LIKE THIS WHEN RELEASING THE SPRING / AIRBAG.
WP_20230225_17_31_52_Pro.jpg
 
Last edited:

Odii

Member
Joined
Dec 19, 2022
Posts
70
Reaction score
144
Location
Maryland
Beautiful instructions!
Completed that this morning.
the left-side airbag release thing was a bit of a pain in the ass, but i used the replacement steering wheel to get an understanding of what i was feeling for, and that helped out a ton
 

89Suburban

Bull in the china shop
Supporting Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2013
Posts
13,576
Reaction score
37,314
Location
SE PA
OP
OP
J

jared999

Full Access Member
Joined
Sep 19, 2021
Posts
176
Reaction score
311
Beautiful instructions!
Completed that this morning.
the left-side airbag release thing was a bit of a pain in the ass, but i used the replacement steering wheel to get an understanding of what i was feeling for, and that helped out a ton
No Problem.

It's definitely a 'feel' thing when you are pushing those springs / releasing the lock mechanism. Once you get a feel for the spring and how the resistance feels, the swap is super easy.

The 1/8" drill bit is the perfect size for that hole and won't damage internals if you stick it in wrong direction. That is also why I made it a point to say not to use a sharp ended tool.

If you use a smaller pick or something, it's harder to release the bag.
 

Tonyv__

Full Access Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2018
Posts
2,776
Reaction score
5,574
Location
Bucks county PA
I just obliterated my clock spring the other night because I didn’t screw the nut back on as I was yanking on the wheel

Just reiterating how important step 7 and 8 are.
 

Forum statistics

Threads
129,966
Posts
1,824,067
Members
93,368
Latest member
zddmum
Top