Whether you are just looking for an upgrade or replacing a damaged steering wheel, changing a Jeep steering wheel can be a difficult task. However, with this guide, you should be well on your way to getting your new steering wheel installed.
Removing and installing a Jeep steering wheel can be done in a few simple steps. You need to disconnect the car battery, remove the airbag and horn capsule, and disconnect the wiring before removing the steering wheel itself. To reinstall the wheel, you perform these steps in reverse order.
To replace a Jeep steering wheel you will need a few special tools like a steering wheel puller and a torque wrench. In this article, we will give you detailed steps on how to safely remove and install your steering wheel.
Can You Replace a Jeep Steering Wheel?
You are able to replace a Jeep steering wheel; however, it is a very lengthy process that requires a lot of detailed knowledge of electrical connections and mechanics. Therefore, while you can change a Jeep steering wheel, it is not recommended that you do so unless you have experience working with cars.
Steps for Removing a Jeep Steering Wheel
Removing a Jeep steering wheel can be done in four fairly simple steps:
- Disconnect the battery
- Remove the bolts holding the horn and airbag capsule in place
- Disconnect all wires from the airbag and horn
- Assemble the Steering Wheel Puller (link to Amazon) and remove the steering wheel
It’s essential to take things slowly and ensure that you don’t damage any of the wirings throughout the process. Here is a breakdown of how you complete each step, in detail.
Disconnect the Car Battery
The first and most important step of replacing a Jeep steering wheel is to disconnect the car battery before doing anything. The steering wheel is often connected via electrical wiring to the car’s audio and temperature control.
Most importantly, the steering wheel has an airbag located in it that you do not want to go off mid-steering wheel removal. You should wait 30 minutes after disconnecting the battery before moving forward.
Remove the Bolts on the Back of the Steering Wheel
There are two 10mm bolts located behind the back of the steering wheel almost directly behind the volume controls. Removing these will allow the horn and the airbag to fall out of the steering wheel.
Disconnect the Air Bag and Horn
As you pull the airbag and horn slowly out you will see three connection wires. You should first disconnect the horn and airbag from the harness (a small plastic clip) in order to give yourself more room to work.
Two of the three connecting wires should just come off with a simple pinching motion. The third and bottom-most wire will require a little more force. You may need to use a screwdriver to loosen the connection.
Once you remove the airbag and horn capsule you will see one final wire behind the capsule. You should be able to simply pinch it to remove it. This will be the final wire that you need to disconnect.
Assemble Your Steering Wheel Puller and Remove the Wheel
To remove the steering wheel, you will need to either purchase or rent a steering wheel puller. There are steering wheel pullers that are custom to Jeep, but a generic one will work just as well.
Prior to using the steering wheel puller remove the 13 mm bolt holdings the steering wheel in place. Then, assemble the steering wheel puller per the instructions and use a wrench to loosen the wheel with the steering wheel puller tool.
We recommend finding a Steering Wheel Puller (link to Amazon) here if you don’t have one.
Once the steering wheel is loose enough, you can remove it by hand. Be very careful not to damage any of the exposed wires. There will be one cord that is connected to the steering wheel. This can be removed.
All that should remain is the clock spring and an alignment pin.
Here’s a quick video showing the process, with more info below:
Installing Your Replacement Jeep Steering Wheel
Now that you have your steering wheel removed, you’ll want to start installing the new one.
Put Your Steering Wheel on the Exposed Shaft
Before putting your steering wheel on the exposed shaft slide the exposed wires through the top of the inner circle of where the horn and airbag capsule will sit.
Once you have the wires through the wheel, place the steering wheel on the exposed shaft and apply light pressure while shimmying it down the shaft.
Once the wheel is seated on the shaft, the alignment pin should be visible through a small rectangular hole towards the bottom of your steering wheel. If you cannot see the alignment pin you either need to continue shimmying the steering wheel or take it off and realign it.
Tighten the Bolt Using a Torque Wrench
Once the steering wheel is seated you should screw the bolt-on to secure the steering wheel. Using a torque wrench set to 40 ft/lb. tighten the bolt completely. It should be a tight fit, but don’t worry if it seems like it’s a little looser than it should be.
Reconnect the Wires to the Horn and Airbag Capsule
After the steering wheel is secure, you can begin reattaching the wires. The following wires go in the corresponding locations:
- The wire with the white clip attaches to the clock spring.
- The thin, black wire attaches towards the bottom of the airbag and horn capsule and should be secured using a clip.
- The yellow and black clips attach towards the middle of the airbag and horn capsule.
Once all the wires have been reconnected you can place the airbag and horn capsule back in the center of the steering wheel.
Reattach the Steering Wheel and Test All Functionality
The final major step is to reattach the bolts that are located behind the volume controls of the steering wheel.
After the bolts have been secured you should test to make sure that the steering wheel feels like it turns appropriately and that you can push down on the horn.
After you are confident that the steering wheel is attached, you should then reconnect the battery and test all electrical functionality. This includes:
- The volume buttons
- Any buttons that control your dashboard
- Any buttons that control the temperature settings
- The blinker resetting after you turn the steering wheel
- The horn
- Any other buttons that you may have on your steering wheel
If everything is working well, then the installation is complete, and you have a new steering wheel!
When to Get Professional Help
While the steering wheel removal and installation process may seem straightforward there is a lot that can go wrong. You can damage the electrical wiring, incorrectly align the wheel, or even set off the airbag.
If you aren’t comfortable working with cars, it is best to hire a professional to complete the removal and installation. If the steering or electrical functionality seems off after a self-installation you should get your car looked at prior to driving it.