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Sticky Residue on Steering Wheel Airbag Cover

navy2kcoupe

Well-known member
Joined
Dec 16, 2006
Messages
799
Location
West Central FL and SE Mass.
Corvette
2000 Navy Blue Coupe A4 Z51
Another one for you...........

DSCF1364_sm_TimFitz_B&W.jpg

Andy :w
 

wholmes98

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
20
Location
McKinney,tx
horn/air bag sticky material

I used Goof Off with a rag and kept wiping (scrubbing) on it till it came off avoiding getting it on the steering wheel while doing so. Also reluctantly used a little lacquer thinner on the stubborn spots. It took a while, but it came out looking very good. Finished it with a thin coat of Armoral. Don't know what it looked like when new, but I am very pleased with it now. It has held up well, too.
 

KiddPain

New member
Joined
Oct 19, 2018
Messages
2
Location
Green Valley
Has anyone else encountered this? I was cleaning up my '04 the other day and noticed that the rubber cover of the steering wheel airbag was covered in a sticky residue; it actually appears that the rubber cover is deteriorating. I tried cleaning it with water that had a hint of soap in it and only succeeded in getting lint from the rag trapped in the gummy residue. I didn't want to use anything stronger on the rubber for fear of really accelerating the degeneration. And for what it's worth, I've never used anything like ArmorAll or a similar product on the steering wheel. None of the leather on the steering wheel seems to be affected.

Never seen anything quite like this before... ;shrug Anyone else had this happen to their steering wheel airbag cover...? Any remedies...?

The best thing that I have used for over twenty years is the spray cleaner FANTASTIC. Now don't get something like fantastic buy the brand name. Believe it or not that residue is mostly from oils from your hands. It builds up along with whatever you use on the interior parts. To clean I would disconnect the battery when working on the airbag just to be sure. Use a heavy cotton towel and the fantastic. Spray the towel getting it pretty wet and start on the steering wheel and really rub and twist the towel around the wheel. Your going to be amazed at how much dirt will be on the towel. Your going to have to do this multiple times until you have a clean towel after cleaning. The airbag is a little more work as your going to need an old toothbrush to get in the nooks and crannies. Again make sure that you get all around it and don't be afraid to really scrub. When you have everything cleaned use clear water to rinse any residue. Don't put anything on the wheel or airbag for at least a day allowing it to dry out. Then put on a good leather conditioner on the wheel and bag. Really rub it in good as cleaning has removed the natural oils from the leather. Make sure to wipe off all conditioner so that the wheel isn't slippery. I just did mine this way as I've only had the car three months. I put around three or four coats on everything and the wheel feels completely different, nice and soft almost velvety. You can use the fantastic on most everything but glass and clear plastic. Just be sure to rinse after your done and put a conditioner on whatever you cleaned weather it's leather, vinyl or plastic. You won't believe how dirty things are especially if you have black interior which hides a lot. Well good luck and don't worry if you have to do the wheel and bag up to ten times to get everything out. Let me know if you end up trying my method.
 

MarkusKY

New member
Joined
Jul 1, 2019
Messages
1
Location
Louisville, KY
Corvette
1999 Torch Red Coupe
I was not planning to post as I was just implementing what I learned from you guys, but I learned something new which might benefit those who come behind with this same sticky steering wheel problem. I used Goof Off professional as recommended and it took the sticky finish right off. It smells like MEK or MIBK - both heavy industrial solvents which quickly remove paint. The cleanness of the layer underneath the sticky layer leads me to believe this part was factory painted from the beginning and it's the paint that is failing - not the underlying part. Regardless, the Goof Off gets the sticky off and mine looked like everyone else's when I first cleaned it. I tried the 303 plastic protectant to get the color back, but it was marginal as some of you mentioned. I started down this thread with the intent to remove the airbag and paint/dye it as described here to get the color back.

I had a wild idea with what I have in the house to try two things before I went to the trouble to order the vinyl dye/paint and remove the airbag. Here at home I had black shoe polish as well as a black shoe sole and heel dye handy. I went out and tried a little spot of shoe polish - it didn't look good and it would come off. So then I tried a little spot of the heel & sole black - it seemed better. I tried a little more - better yet. I tried enough to actually buff - it looked great! I wound up doing the whole cover in about 10 minutes. I was very careful at first, but found that you can dab it on directly on the airbag cover with the applicator sponge, and then spread it and buff it out with a heavy disposable shop towel. It looks just like new, does not look painted and does not rub off to the touch.

I had intended to re-clean the steering wheel to get the protectant off first, but I found the dye took just fine after I had already protected the wheel. If I were doing this from the beginning, I'd probably try the dye first. But this method worked. Photos attached.IMG_1956.JPGIMG_1957.JPG
 

timfitz63

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2010
Messages
1,146
Location
Pittsburgh / South & Centrl TX
Corvette
'98 Aztec Gold Coupe; '04 Millennium Yellow 'Vert'
... I tried a little spot of the heel & sole black - it seemed better. I tried a little more - better yet. I tried enough to actually buff - it looked great! I wound up doing the whole cover in about 10 minutes. I was very careful at first, but found that you can dab it on directly on the airbag cover with the applicator sponge, and then spread it and buff it out with a heavy disposable shop towel. It looks just like new, does not look painted and does not rub off to the touch...

Seems like a good solution as well! I've personally had satisfactory results using multiple applications of the 303 Aerospace Protectant, but if one wants a truer-looking black finish on the airbag cover, your solution is probably a better one. Either way, though, it's better than having a tacky-feeling airbag cover...!
 

wholmes98

Member
Joined
Jul 21, 2018
Messages
20
Location
McKinney,tx
Yes. This seems to be a common problem. I tried a lot of things and finally removed it with goofoff and lacquer thinner. Used mostly the goofoff on a small rag and kept working at it till most of it finally came off. Then I finished it very carefully with a small amount of lacquer thinner (be careful as this stuff is powerful and don't get it on the steering wheel, etc. Just use both on the exact area that is covered. It still looks like new and matches the rest of the interior perfectly. You would never know it was there.
 

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