A steering wheel is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. Without it, no vehicle would be complete or able to safely get from point A to point B. That’s why it’s so important to ask yourself – what size steering wheel do I have? You should know a little bit about each vital part of your car; it will make you a better driver, so do some research.
Why Is It Important To Know What Size Steering Wheel Do I Have?
A steering wheel is something you simply can’t drive without, and there is nothing that can substitute it. Without it, your car would only go in a straight line without the ability to follow the roads. That’s why it’s of the utmost importance to know what size steering wheel you have. You need to know that information for many reasons.
In Case of an Emergency, You Need to Know the Size of Your Steering Wheel
No matter how much you take care of your car, how often you take it to the mechanics, how often you change the brake fluid, or how often you clean your seat belts, problems can arise at any point. Whether it’s a flat tire or you have to change your tail lights, every car has some issues after a while, especially used cars. A steering wheel isn’t a car component that breaks or causes issues often, but it could still happen. And if that situation does happen, you should be prepared to tell your mechanic what your wheel measurements are. You might need to replace the whole steering wheel or simply some part of it.
Different Sizes of Steering Wheels Are Suited for Different Types of Driving
There is a reason why there are different types of steering wheels. Some are better suited for off-road driving, others are better suited for city driving at lower speeds, and then there are others that are best for really fast driving, where every slight movement can affect your direction. There is a reason why a Formula 1 car and your day-to-day car have different types and sizes of steering wheels.
So, if you’re a car enthusiast, you know how big and how significant of a difference a steering wheel can make. The driver’s every whim and desire is expressed through the steering wheel, as it’s part of the car that connects the driver to the engine and the inside mechanisms. That’s why it’s so important to get the right size for you.
You Will Need to Know the Size of Your Steering Wheel If You Ever Decide to Get a Steering Wheel Cover
A steering wheel is the most dominant part of any car’s interior. It’s the largest component in the driver’s cabin and the first thing the driver comes into contact with. That’s the reason why so many people pay a lot of attention to it. They try to upgrade it in many ways. They either change the whole steering wheel and its shape and size, or they add certain parts to it, such as new functions and buttons or materials.
One of the most common ways people try to spice up their car interior is by adding a steering wheel cover to it. A steering wheel cover is simple to put on and take off; it’s not a permanent addition, which makes it perfect as an accessory.
It can be made out of almost any material you can imagine, but some of the most common ones are cloth, leather, nylon, and so on. But in order to choose the perfect cover for you, you first have to find out the measurements of your steering wheel. Once you know the exact measurements of your steering wheel, you can even order a custom-made cover.
How Do You Measure the Size of Your Steering Wheel?
While it might sound a bit complicated, measuring the size of your steering wheel is quite simple. All you need to have is a measuring tape, a pen and paper, and some patience. The measurements you will be needing are the diameter and the circumference or the thickness of your steering wheel. If, in any situation in life, you need to tell someone the measurements of your steering wheel, those are the two numbers you will need to know.
A Guide to Help You Measure the Size of Your Steering Wheel
Here is an easy step-by-step guide on how to measure your steering wheel without a fuss. Let’s start by measuring the diameter of your steering wheel. Take your measuring tape and stretch it out and place it horizontally across the steering wheel, holding it tightly. The starting and ending points should be where the outside of the steering wheel ends. Don’t make the mistake of taking the wrong measurements by looking at the inside, hollow part of the steering wheel as the ending point.
The next step is to measure the grip circumference or the thickness of your steering wheel. Simply take the measuring tape and carefully wrap it once around the steering wheel. Once you’re done, write down the measurements either on a piece of paper you will keep in your car or in the notes on your phone.
The measurements you should have at the end should fit within the standard range: 36-44 cm (14-17.5 inches) for the diameter and 5-11 cm or a couple of inches for the grip circumference. These measurements fit a standard, fully circular steering wheel that fits most day-to-day cars.
Some other steering wheels, like the ones that sports cars have, might have different measurements. They will also need to be measured differently since their diameter and grip circumference won’t be the same throughout the entire steering wheel. So, you might have to repeat the measuring process a couple of times in different spots on the steering wheel.
What Types and Sizes of Steering Wheels Exist?
During the evolution of cars and other vehicles, the steering wheel is one of the only practical components of the car that hasn’t changed drastically. Of course, some new features have been added, like buttons for the music and other bells and whistles, but its original shape and purpose have pretty much stayed the same. However, some changes have been made, mostly because of various safety regulations. Steering wheels today are more adjustable, they have progressed in their design and shape, and they come in 11 different types:
- Single-spoke steering wheels,
- Dual-spoke steering wheels,
- Three-spoke steering wheels,
- Banjo steering wheels,
- Telescoping steering wheels,
- Tilt steering wheels,
- Steering wheels with the adjustable steering column,
- Swing-away steering wheels,
- Quick-release steering wheels,
- F1 steering wheels,
- Custom-made steering wheels.
Now that I have listed all the wheels options, here is a brief explanation of each.
Single-Spoke Steering Wheels
A type you don’t often come across is the single-spoke steering wheel. They were popular a long time ago. A French company Citroen introduced them to the world in 1974. This design was innovative at the time because it was developed as a safety feature – in case of a crash, it would minimize the driver’s chest injuries. This steering wheel design is unique because it has a single spokes bar, which it was named after. For those wondering, spokes are the crossbars connecting the steering column to the outer rims of the wheel.
Dual-Spoke Steering Wheels
As the name says, this steering wheel design is known for having two spokes connecting the steering column and outer rims instead of one. The design came out in 1958 on the Plymouth Savoy. The dual-spoke design is the most common design used on modern cars today. Of course, some changes have been made in order to modernize the design, like adding controls on the spokes, making them easily accessible to the driver while driving and focusing on the road. The spokes today are usually angled toward each other, but they can also be placed in a straight line.
Three-Spoke Steering Wheels
A steering wheel design that made the biggest difference in the look of the steering wheel at the time was the three-spoke design. This design featured three spokes instead of just one or two, and it gave the interior of the car a more sporty look. In the beginning, the spokes were thin and made out of metal. Today, this design is still widely used, but the spokes are thicker and made out of different materials.
Banjo Steering Wheels
The banjo steering wheel design was the most innovative one when it first came out. It could come with either two or three spokes, but each of the spokes was made out of 3-5 thick steel wires, resembling a banjo, which it was named after. While the design seems as if it was made purely for its aesthetics, it was actually made because the wires reduced the vibrations in the wheel.
Telescoping Steering Wheels
Telescoping steering wheels were the ones to make the biggest practical improvement out of all the designs in that time. The telescoping design was introduced by Jaguar back in 1940. Before this design, the only way you could adjust the position of your steering wheel was by a mechanic, and it would be adjusted to the main driver. The telescoping design introduced a new mechanism that allowed the driver to adjust the steering wheel from the inside of the car. The steering wheel could have been adjusted by 3 inches to make it either shorter and lower or longer and higher.
Tilt Steering Wheels
Tilt Steering Wheels
Tilt steering wheels were a relatively recent addition since the design came out in 1990. In the beginning, when they first came out, they were only available in luxury vehicles, and later on, they became accessible to the average driver. The design allowed the driver to adjust the steering wheel by tilting it to a more comfortable position.
Steering Wheels With Adjustable Steering Column
The innovativeness that steering wheels with an adjustable steering column brought was the fact that, for the first time, the steering column was the one to move and be adjusted instead of staying in a fixed position.
Swing-Away Steering Wheels
This design was the one that truly showed that car manufacturers think about the details. The swing-away steering wheel was made purely as a convenience to the driver, not because it was a safety feature. It allowed the wheel to move a full 9 inches to the right when the car was in park mode so that the driver could easily enter or exit the vehicle.
Quick-Release Steering Wheels
Quick-release steering wheels were quite practical in their time. They allowed the steering wheel to be removed from the steering column completely, simply by pressing a button. This mechanism was made so that the paramedics could easily remove the driver from the vehicle in case of a crash. This design also reduced the theft of steering wheels since drivers would put them in their trunks. Quick-release models are no longer street legal since airbags today are placed in steering wheels.
F1 Steering Wheels
Motor racing and high speeds require a different type of the steering wheel, which is why F1 steering wheels were invented. They aren’t completely round, which makes it easier for the driver to get a better grip and control the vehicle. This design also has a quick-release mechanism.
Custom-Made Steering Wheels
Car enthusiasts were thrilled when custom-made steering wheels became accessible. They quickly became popular, but they aren’t that widely used today since there are certain safety regulations they have to follow.
Measure the Size of Your Steering Wheel, Write It Down, and Be Responsible Towards Your Car
Most people drive around without knowing what size steering wheel they have. And in most cases, that turns out to be perfectly fine. However, knowing your vehicle inside and out is important firstly because of your safety and the safety of your passengers. Secondly, knowing and taking care of your vehicle makes you a better driver. So measure the size of your steering wheel and write it down somewhere you will remember – who knows whether you might need it someday.