There are several parts of our cars that we think about all the time. The tires, the paint, the radio, the gas tank... but how often do you think about the main part you interact with? Because your steering wheel puts up with a lot of abuse, and you might be prematurely ageing it.
To help it last as long as you can, here are a few, simple habits you should avoid, in addition to some good steps to preserve your steering wheel's longevity.
#1: Too Much Sun
Parking in direct sunlight is never a good idea. It heats up your car, makes things uncomfortable, and worst of all it exposes everything to direct UV light. Those UV rays can dry out the material of your steering wheel, bleaching it, and doing it long-term damage the more exposure it gets. To help prevent this, it's important to either park in the shade, or to put a screen over your windshield when you're not driving. This can also help keep your car cooler, making it a win-win situation. Regularly treating your steering wheel can prevent drying and cracking, as well, especially if it's leather.
#2: Rubbing and Picking
We've all been sitting in traffic, nowhere to go, rubbing our palms over the steering wheel. That friction can take its toll on your steering wheel, and if you start picking at it with your nails that's only going to compound the damage being done. While there isn't much that can be done with a steering wheel that's already begun to wear away (short of rejuvenating oil/spray if you have a leather steering wheel), a good preventative measure is to get a steering wheel cover. These protect the wheel from wear and tear, sunlight, and even the oil on your fingers, which can add a lot of life to the length of this component.
#3: Dirt and Grime
Steering wheels see a lot of use on a day-to-day basis, and all of that dirt, grime, grit, oil, etc. builds up over time. That's why it's important to make sure you clean your steering wheel on a fairly regular basis. Especially if you don't have a cover on it to keep the worst of the problem from sinking in. Cloth-covered steering wheels are fairly easy to clean, as it's usually just a matter of spraying them down and soaking out any stains. Leather ones can be more difficult.
While serious accidents usually involve collisions, this is more about the sort of everyday accidents we have behind the wheel. The kind where you spill your drink, or when you drop some food. Everything from the deodorising spray you put in your vehicle, to what you spill, to what you clean those spills off with can prematurely age your steering wheel. That's why it's important to make sure the cleaning products you use are specifically meant for keeping your steering wheel's material clean and rejuvenated, because using the wrong cleaner on the wrong material can lead to all kinds of problems. You should also be sure you minimise your accidents, and that you clean them up as quickly as you can. Keep wipes in your car just for such accidents, and make sure you give your steering wheel a proper, thorough cleaning when you get the time.
These are just a few things that can cause your steering wheel to look older than it is. For more ways you can help fight time and keep your car looking and driving young, simply contact us today!