Step by Step Instructions on How to Install a Steering Wheel Cover

Learn the proper steps on installing a leather steering wheel wrap to protect your vehicle’s steering wheel.

Leather steering wheel covers not only help protect the wheel from everyday wear or sun damage but they also greatly improve the driving experience by providing excellent grip for better handling.

Here you will gain the knowledge to perform a baseball stitch installation to any newly bought or homemade leather steering wheel cover.

The regular instructions that usually come with a store purchased leather wrap shows a typical loop stitch. If the stock factory look is what you’re looking for then you will need to know how to use a baseball stitch.

1) To begin with, take your leather wheel wrap and stretch it over the entire steering wheel. Make sure that the temperature in your vehicle is not too hot or cold as leather easily stretches in hot weather and become less stretchable in cold weather. Place the cover over the bottom of the steering wheel and stretch it over the sides. Don’t forget to use your fingers to stretch it over the top of the wheel. At this point you want to be a little bit careful as to not pull too hard on the seam as you can easily tear it. Double check it to see if it is carefully aligned so that the seam will be where it is supposed to be. This is usually over the old seam location but you may want it be slightly more to the front or back. Consistency is important here as a seam that meanders inside the rim can make it more difficult to install. A quick tip is to slow twist as you stitch so that you are able to pull evenly from both the front and back.

2) Now you can commence with the stitching of your leather steering wheel wrap. You will need 2 needles for this. Start by threading one end through each seam meeting in the middle, located at the bottom of the steering wheel. Tie the 2 threads together and then have 1 thread going out each seam. Allow approximately 7 inches of thread to come through and tie 2 or 3 knots to tie the ends together. After that you can pull the threads through so the knot is in the seam.

3) Carefully trim the excess thread to about a quarter inch but make sure it is not too close. Make sure to utilize holes that are directly opposite from each other. To begin your stitches make sure to cross the threads over and also under the seam as well as back out the opposite side. An important thing to note is that you will need to consistently cross the threads the same way every time.

4) Do not begin stitching at the seam as this will make it very difficult to get it pulled tightly. Similar to a loop stitch, you need to pull every stitch tightly before proceeding to the next one. As you attempt to pull each individual stitch tight you will notice that the wax in the thread aids in helping to hold earlier stitches tight. The proper way to pull is firmly and slowly as opposed to quick jerky motions. Furthermore, pull straight out to the sides and not in a forward motion as you may accidentally over stretch the cover if pulled incorrectly.

5) Slowly and methodically should be your method when attempting to install a steering wheel cover for the first time. Managing the thread is the most challenging step, but doing it slowly and surely will get you into an easier rhythm. Prepare about 2-3 hours to successfully perform baseball stitch on your leather steering wheel cover. You will notice that when you arrive at a spoke, the baseball stitch has distinct advantages over a loop stitch method. Firstly you will have a thread on each side of the spoke which allows you to loop the thread on both sides. Second, you will be able to pull the seam tighter and closer to the spokes than with a loop stitch.

6) You have now arrived at your first spoke in the steering wheel. To cross the wheel spokes, use a loop stitch by looping the thread around and into the next hole on both sides of the wheel spoke. Pull each and every stitch as tightly as possible with a firm and steady pull. Don’t worry about breaking the waxed thread as it was designed to take a lot of abuse. After you get to the other side of the wheel spoke pick up the next pair of holes that you can close almost all the way and keep going.

7) If the leather wheel cover is sized correctly it will not overly stretch are you proceed with your stitching. There will be a bit of bunching but this is normal in the installation process. After you get to the bottom again grab the last stitches and loop them over and back under the original knot while running the threads out the seam. Afterwards you will need to tie several knots and then cut off the excess stitching. Make sure to leave at least a half inch slack and tuck the knot in the seam.

8) Grab a flat head screwdriver and push the knots and thread ends directly into the seam. Do this carefully and lightly as you can cut the thread by accident if the screwdriver is too sharp. The main reason you need to leave some extra string at the end after tying the knots is so that the knots can pull a bit loose if required. By leaving a bit of thread it will prevent them from coming all the way apart.

You have now successfully learned all the steps on how to install a steering wheel cover. Don’t distress if your first attempt at installing a leather steering wheel wrap did not come out as perfectly as you planned as you can always start again by going back to where you have a good seam. The most important factor here is to keep the seam straight as you continue with your stitching. If you run into a knot don’t try to tug at it, rather, use the needle to untie the knot. Leather steering wheel covers are a great investment and will improve the look of your wheel as well as provide better grip and handling.