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Old 12-02-2019, 08:58 PM   #1
blueknigh7
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1997 SC2
Default Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

So I've noticed it for years, but I thought I'd ask...

Is anyone else's steering wheel melting? It gets really sticky in the hot weather - to a melting point with black residue on my hands. In the wet weather, it also absorbs moisture and gets sticky - again with black residue on my hands. To get around it, I hold it with napkins, which creates a nice paper seal after peeling them away in both instances.

I'm sure there's a better solution. I'm not a fan of the old steering wheel covers as they're too big for my small hands. I've thought about some sort of sealer, but wonder what I should use.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:09 PM   #2
focusofheart
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1998 SL2
Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

Quote:
Originally Posted by blueknigh7 View Post
So I've noticed it for years, but I thought I'd ask...

Is anyone else's steering wheel melting? It gets really sticky in the hot weather - to a melting point with black residue on my hands. In the wet weather, it also absorbs moisture and gets sticky - again with black residue on my hands. To get around it, I hold it with napkins, which creates a nice paper seal after peeling them away in both instances.

I'm sure there's a better solution. I'm not a fan of the old steering wheel covers as they're too big for my small hands. I've thought about some sort of sealer, but wonder what I should use.

Thoughts?
leather or vinyl?
...
Saturn 1998 - SL2 automatic
Singer 1952 - 301A knee driven
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Old 12-02-2019, 09:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

Google steering wheels decomposing for some background info. There's a good chance plastic used in mass produced steering wheels decompose from the combined effects of human oils, ultraviolet exposure and chemicals in the air. Chemicals can come from local manufacturing facilities to have a local effect. Once started, plastic deteriorating may not be reversible, halting what you're experiencing. The easiest remedy is replacing the steering wheel. The most difficult remedy may be attempting to repair, seal or restore it back to factory condition.
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Old 12-03-2019, 04:28 AM   #4
focusofheart
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Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

If doing a deep clean on your steering wheel with either a degreaser or saddle soap does nothing and you are unable to replace the steering wheel, you might just grab an old style steering wheel cover that was popular about 40 years ago - no sewing, just wrapping the cover on. I used these on several of my cars over the years and felt little difference in the circumference (I also have small hands).

https://www.amazon.com/C-P-R-Classic...5NT9EF1GKZM5DW

If nothing else, it is an inexpensive stop gap until you are able to replace the wheel itself.
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Saturn 1998 - SL2 automatic
Singer 1952 - 301A knee driven

Last edited by focusofheart; 12-03-2019 at 04:34 AM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:17 AM   #5
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Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

If this is the 97 SC2 in the OP's profile it should have a perforated leather steering wheel.

You can either change your steering wheel to another leather one in good shape or downgrade to the standard plastic steering wheel. You can take one from any sedan, wagon or coupe from model years 95 through 99. I wouldn't think it would cost you that much from a wrecker.
...
1999 SL2 MT (287,130 km @ 10/2019)
2012 Ford Focus SEL HB MT
2011 Suburban LT

Past Saturns
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1993 SW2 AT (10y)
2001 LW200 MT (3.5y)
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:59 PM   #6
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1998 SC2
Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

Wheels are dirt cheap at JYs. Some types of automotive leather wheel decompose this way when the incorrect cleaner is used or the car is driven with a person who for some reason always has automotive grease or oil on their hands.
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Old 12-04-2019, 07:38 PM   #7
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Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

Save the old wheel to use as a fire starter. When I changed out the wheel on my 2000 sl to add cruise, I threw the old one in a fire to remove the outer covering. The white light emitted was equal to arc welding.
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Old 12-04-2019, 09:06 PM   #8
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1999 SC2
Default Re: Wet & Melting Steering Wheel

My 97 SC2 was doing the same thing... getting sticky and disintegrating. The more I cleaned it, the worse it got.

What has worked for me is Meguiar's Gold Class Rich Leather Cleaner & Conditioner. It helped stop the disintegration, and also made the steering wheel less sticky, especially between the 10:00 and 2:00 clock positions. I put it on liberally every 6 months and also try not to get the steering wheel wet with sweaty hands.
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