My steering wheel can get soft and runny

January 1, 2010 | By Richard Prince


I have a 1949 pickup truck whose steering wheel becomes soft on days of high humidity. The vehicle, of course, then becomes difficult to drive because the residue gets on my hands, leaving them quite dirty and difficult to clean. Is there some way to restore the wheel to prevent this from happening?


I’ve never experienced a steering wheel that gets soft and gooey when it’s humid out and couldn’t find anyone else who has experienced this so I can’t offer any proven solution for you. Simply wrapping the wheel with an inexpensive steering wheel cover would obviously help but I’ll assume you don’t want to take the easy way out, so here’s what I’d try doing:

Remove the wheel from the truck and disassemble the horn ring and center button if your wheel is so equipped. Wash the wheel with liquid detergent and thoroughly rinse it. Sand the entire surface of the wheel with #400 paper so that all of the shine is taken off. Wipe the wheel with a degreaser, then wipe it dry, and let it air dry for a couple of hours. Place the wheel in an oven and “bake” it at about 100 degrees F in order to eliminate moisture.

Remove the wheel from the oven and spray it with a catalyzed primer/sealer and go over this with catalyzed urethane paint. Bake the steering wheel again in accord with the paint manufacturer’s instructions. I think that the primer, sealer and paint will do a good job of keeping moisture away from the wheel, thereby preventing the surface from getting gooey when it’s humid outside.