Steering Wheel Buyer's Guide
- Purchasing a replacement steering wheel can be due to need or preference. Whatever your motivation may be in buying one, consult this article first to get some technical know-how on steering wheels.
- A steering wheel’s bolt pattern, size, and dish should be considered well before purchasing one of your choosing. Not all can universally fit any car while giving you the right comfort.
- There are two types of parts, OEM parts, and OE replacement parts. Both may be of equal quality, however, they also both have pros and cons.
- If your reason for purchasing one is because it’s vibrating when you're driving or when you’re braking, you might want to double think about your decision. Most of the time, a vibrating steering wheel doesn’t mean that it’s bad or faulty.
When you get into a vehicle for the first time, one of the most prominent features you notice is the car’s steering wheel. Due to this fact, it’s become a common practice to upgrade or customize steering wheels.
However, because it has been a common occurrence to upgrade or customize this part, a lot of different types have surfaced. In fact, there have been so many in recent years, that it’s become hard to decide which one to purchase among the unending sea of choices. This article is here to help you decide what steering wheel to buy depending on your preferences.
Things to consider when buying a steering wheel
The things to be enumerated below are important considerations that you, the purchaser, should incorporate to your choice of steering wheel. This is because while there may be a lot of choices out there, not all of them will fit or match your car. It’s true that things may be nice to look at, but their function and utilities shouldn’t come second.
This might be one of the most important considerations you will have to make when purchasing a steering wheel. This is because if the bolt sockets for your steering wheel isn’t aligned with the replacement steering wheel you just bought, it might be awkward for you to install. However, more recent cars contain indiscriminate bolt patterns able to accommodate almost every steering wheel out there.
Moving on from installation problems, this next consideration aims to answer your personal preference. It’s important to consider the size of the steering wheel in order to know whether or not it would be the right size for you to slide in and out of the cabin without hassle. A steering wheel that is too big might pose a problem in space consumption and comfort.
Meanwhile, a smaller steering wheel will affect your mobility, given that you’ll need less movement in order to turn. In purchasing the right replacement steering wheel, you must consider the fit of the same while you’re on the driver’s seat. It will matter in the long run.
A steering wheel dish would be more known as the depth of your wheel. This measures how far the steering wheel is from the mounting surface of the dedicated area for it. A deeper dish makes the wheel closer to you while making it more awkward to get in. However, it will also make accessing your car’s light and wiper switches more difficult and annoying.
While the design plays a factor in customization, you should also take the variables listed above and consider the various pros and cons your choice might offer.
Types of replacement steering wheels
While searching for a replacement steering wheel for your car, you’ve most likely stumbled across two acronyms that you don’t seem to understand. These two are Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) parts and Original Equipment (OE) replacement parts. While these two share a very similar name, there are various essential differences between one and the other.
OEM parts are those manufactured either by the carmaker themselves or by authorized third-party manufacturers that take it upon themselves to create and fabricate the parts for a carmaker. These are the parts they use if you experience any problems with your car and have it fixed by the automaker you bought it from.
However, due to the number of licenses, third party manufacturers have to get, or the number of certifications and testing their product has to go through from the carmakers themselves, these types of parts can be very costly. Aside from that, if the carmaker is the sole manufacturer of the parts, or if the demand for the parts is high and the suppliers can’t keep up with the same, the amount of time you’ll spend while waiting for the availability of stocks might go through the roof.
OE replacement parts
OE replacement parts, on the other hand, are replacement parts manufactured by third-party manufacturers not authorized by the carmaker. It is due to this reason that many people doubt the reliability of these types of parts. However, what many people overlook is that some OE brands have their parts tested with the same quality control an OEM part is subjected to.
Because of the number of suppliers or unauthorized third-party manufacturers, the prices of these parts are more affordable. It’s also for the same reason that their availability isn’t as hard to come by as OEM parts. For these reasons, a lot of people tend to go for the OE replacement parts, although one thing everyone should remember is that not all brands are trustworthy. It’s a good thing that CarParts.com only carries brands that you can trust.
Is your steering wheel really the problem?
If you’re asking the question, “why my steering wheel shakes while driving,” or, “why my steering wheel shakes while braking,” then it’s highly unlikely that your problem is your steering wheel. Instead, you should look for signs of wear and tear on your wheel, brake discs, or brake calipers.
Before you look for replacement steering wheels to address different problems, it’s best to look into the other parts of your car first. When one part shakes, it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the bad or faulty part.