When I took delivery of my first car with an MSport steering wheel, I immediately thought to myself two things; First, that is the best steering wheel I had ever felt in a car, supple and comfortable with just the right amount of thickness. Second, I knew that stopping this wheel from turning into a shiny, disgusting mess was going to be somewhat of a challenge if I didn’t keep up with it from day one.
If you’re reading this at day one (or somewhere not too long after delivery of your car), then you’re in luck. You don’t need to restore your steering wheel, you don’t need to use any harsh cleaners, and as long as you keep up with wiping it down, maintaining the matte finish of your wheel should be relatively easy. If you’re reading this somewhere further down the line, and your steering wheel has started to turn to a more shiny, gloss black appearance, don’t worry, it can still be saved, but it’s going to take just a little bit more work.
First, we’ll quickly touch on what to do if your car is new, and you just want to keep the wheel looking fresh. For leather cleaner, I recommend the Chemical Guys branded cleaner, while I’m not a huge fan of Chemical Guys in general, this one product stands out in their lineup, and performs well. I’d also recommend you purchase these mini spray bottles from Amazon. What I like to do is take the CG leather cleaner, put it into one of those mini sprayers, and keep that in my door card storage pocket along with a clean, microfiber towel (low pile for this use). Once every week, or once every two weeks, take the sprayer and lightly mist the wheel with cleaner then wipe clean gently, so as to not leave towel marks in the leather. On my previous M3, using this method kept my steering wheel in near-new condition for the 9,000 miles that I owned the car.
For those of you whose steering wheels are already starting to show signs of damage and are turning a shinier black color or don’t feel as soft to the touch, we’re going to perform a deeper cleaning. In the spirit of all automotive detailing, we want to try the least aggressive method first. Use the same Chemical Guys Leather Cleaner, but this time, preload your towel with it a little bit and rub it together to get it to foam up. Next, Spray the wheel down with cleaner and rub the towel in circular motions, buffing the grime out of the wheel. Go over the whole wheel like this once, changing position on the towels so you’re not buffing in the dirt you’re removing. If all goes well, your towel should become noticeably discolored (white towels are great for this job, really lets you see what’s coming off).
If you’re satisfied with the results from this cleaning, you can stop here and proceed to use the directions above as a weekly cleaning regimen. If, however, the wheel still is a bit grimy or hasn’t fully restored, we can move on to a more aggressive product, Leather Masters Strong Cleaner. Use Strong the same way you just used the Chemical Guys product, it should remove any leftover contamination.
If your wheel is still dirty, there is a chance that it is past the point of restoration. If this is the case, leave a comment below and we’ll see if we can come up with a product combination that will work to solve your problem. Likewise, if you’ve used this method successfully, have a suggestion, or would like further advice on keeping your wheel clean, leave a comment blow.