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Old 06-10-2009, 05:03 PM   #1
e46amazed
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Question M3 Steering Wheel Leather Restore? PROBLEM SOLVED

UPDATED: See images/text below

I bought a used m3 with 48k miles and the leather on the steering wheel is pretty worn out. It looks like some combination of the use of bad products, lots of sun, and maybe heavy use?

Any recovery possible? Tips or tricks? should/can I re-dye the wheel?

I tried LOTS of Lexol leather conditioner, but it didn't do a whole lot. And when applying it, it made the leather wear out a little more (because it was softer until dry)... but not noticeably different

I was debating getting a new steering wheel, but the M3 SMG wheels cost way more than a regular non-SMG (I actually have a non-SMG wheel from my previous 330).

Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. thanks!

All I have to say is WOW!

I had read a previous thread about a product called Mr. Clean Magic Eraser... and I didn't think it would work until stolidog brought it up again in this thread. It is basically a specialized sponge with no chemicals... that you get wet/damp... and just wipe down your steering wheel as if you were trying to remove some dried lotion from leather (hint hint).

Just dunk it in a bucket of water after a handful of wipes and then squeeze it out so it is damp again (the bucket of water was brown after I was done). My only guess is that the previous owner (or his girlfriend) used hand-lotion frequently... along with maybe some bad leather product (maybe armorall). So basically, I took about 15 minutes to obsessively wipe down every bit of the steering wheel including the stitching... and the steer wheel was like FRIGGIN NEW!!!

I actually liked the way it felt and looked after the cleaning (felt like the brand new matte finish of a new wheel)... but decided for longevity and applied some lexol leather conditioner after about 30 minutes of drying. Since the cleaning was done with water and the magic eraser sponge I feared the water might dry out the fresh leather. It still feels and looks AWESOME after the leather conditioner.

Anyways, I am so stoked and blown away by the results. A four pack set me back about $3.00 at target and would recommend you use them on even just a barely dirty steering wheel. I don't know how these things work sooo well.. but Im glad I can share the results.

If I had to compare the steering wheel to a brand new one, I'd say it looks and feels about 90% new. Obviously can't get away from wear that occurs over time, but my steering wheel looked beat... as you all concluded




























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Last edited by e46amazed; 06-17-2009 at 06:52 PM. Reason: problem fixed
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Old 06-10-2009, 06:38 PM   #2
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thats alot of wear. he must had some rough as s hands. that looks like alot of dirt buildup to. if it were up to me, id get a new steering wheel.
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Old 06-10-2009, 07:55 PM   #3
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only thing I can think of is that the previous owner may have taken the car to the track often or something (which I am trying not to think about)... but I had an inspection done and the rest of car is in great condition. Its a 2003 with 48k miles.

Could crappy products like Armor All (a guess) have sped up the deterioration (along with other things)?

Although it looks super patchy, dry, and dirty, the overall feeling of the wheel is uniform, soft, and doesn't feel bad. It really is just the look that throws me off.

Would the Leatherique Steering Wheel kit for $25 be worth it?
http://leatherique.org/detail.aspx?ID=39

or would a different re-dye kit be better? or should I fork over $650+ for a new SMG wheel (which I don't really want to)?

I am pretty hands on and would like to try a DIY solution... unless it is just not realistic/logical.
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Old 06-10-2009, 10:10 PM   #4
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I'd get a new wheel too. The look alone will make a lot of difference. The damage will be hard to DIY fix, I would imagine.
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Old 06-11-2009, 11:12 AM   #5
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maybe go to a detailer, or try anything (like leatherique for $25) cheaper than 650....
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:08 AM   #6
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Tried the magic eraser? A lot of that could just be dirt and oil build up. If you lightly use the Mr. Clean magic eraser with some water and maybe a drop of soap, you might get some good results. Then when you are done make sure you put some conditioner on the leather.

http://forum.e46fanatics.com/showthr...t=magic+eraser

Last edited by stolidog; 06-13-2009 at 10:10 AM.
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Old 06-13-2009, 10:15 AM   #7
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I'd say try the kit, as posted above way cheaper than buying a new wheel.

Also, are you willing to part with that extra wheel you have? Shoot me a PM
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Old 06-15-2009, 12:04 PM   #8
e46amazed
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nickchuck, thanks for your feedback... and the non-SMG wheel I mentioned is on another car. Sorry.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:11 PM   #9
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Problem solved. I edited the first post with more text and before/after images

Thanks Everyone!!!
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:27 PM   #10
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holy $hit I can't believe thats the same wheel?!! Cleaning up the attachments for a better visual...







Last edited by sna77; 06-17-2009 at 05:33 PM.
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:30 PM   #11
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:31 PM   #12
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Old 06-17-2009, 05:55 PM   #13
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Wow, amazing results. Your wheel looks almost new.
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Old 06-17-2009, 06:18 PM   #14
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yeah seriously, I thought people would think I was lying and bought a new wheel

Im sooo happy... you don't even understand I had such low expectations and was ready to buy a new wheel.

and thanks sna77 for the relinked pictures!

oh, and here is the link to my similar thread at m3forum.net:
http://www.m3forum.net/m3forum/showthread.php?t=270389
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:05 PM   #15
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Bow to the Magic Man!!!



OK..so I was forwarded this thread by a good friend (SNA77) who HATED the condition of my wheel..and I wont lie..i hated the shine on it equally..

SO i read this thread and said..wth heck..try out Mr Clean..dont have anything to lose...so I just did it..and below are the results...

All i can say..is...I believe in MAGIC!!!

This thing is SUPER for ALL types of surfaces.
(Granted the leather on the wheel is no longer as supple as it once was, it look 1000 times better now!)

PICS : (first is the old wheel after a full interior detail..and the pic was NOT taken with a flash (which multiplies the reflection))
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:10 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Addy25 View Post


OK..so I was forwarded this thread by a good friend (SNA77) who HATED the condition of my wheel..and I wont lie..i hated the shine on it equally..

SO i read this thread and said..wth heck..try out Mr Clean..dont have anything to lose...so I just did it..and below are the results...

All i can say..is...I believe in MAGIC!!!

This thing is SUPER for ALL types of surfaces.
(Granted the leather on the wheel is no longer as supple as it once was, it look 1000 times better now!)

PICS : (first is the old wheel after a full interior detail..and the pic was NOT taken with a flash (which multiplies the reflection))

Holy $hit Addy! I can't believe that's the same wheel!!!



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Old 06-17-2009, 08:22 PM   #17
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so what kinda condition do you guys recommend after u use the magic eraser?
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Old 06-17-2009, 08:35 PM   #18
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no conditioner for me yet.... i do have the bmw leather cleaning//restore kit, i might use that. but for now, im just gonna leave it as is
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Old 06-18-2009, 07:03 AM   #19
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I used leatherique on my steering wheel even though my wheel wasn't as discolored as the OP's it still got rid of the lines/wrinkles these steering wheels get after time. It also made the wheel feel thicker like how the steering wheel is when its brand new and the color came back to life as well. I think leatherique would have done just as good as a job as the magic eraser in most ways I think the biggest thing is getting all the dirt and sweat plus the sun abuse off the wheel to restore the look it use to have.
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Old 06-18-2009, 11:24 AM   #20
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wow, gonna to this today.
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