Painting a steering wheel


Is there any special requirement for painting steering wheels. I am getting ready to paint a steering wheel from a 64 El Camino. The wheel has been sanded and is ready for paint. My plan is to shoot a coat of reduced epoxy, then base, and then universal clear. Does this sound correct?

Thanks, Jim
Just make sure you clean that wheel well! There's always a lot of body oils from years of use and sometimes oils from the plastic that need to be cleaned off well before priming. I would make sure it's scuffed and cleaned well then shoot two coats of epoxy and allow it to cure a few days, sand the epoxy, shoot a sealer coat of epoxy then your paint. Some of that old paint on them wheels is lacquer, some are molded in color. A water test on the wheel will help show if there's any oils or contaminants on it.


It's holding up on a hook on the ceiling just fine... I guess you want a different kind of answer tho.
I haven't abused it any yet so I can't really speak to its longevity but I still feel better knowing its a closer density match to the original material than JB weld and 'bondo'.
I'm sort of waiting for a qt of SPI red to become available so I can shoot the cab interior and then I'm waiting for Barry to anounce the Black is ready for the rest.
I can say there is no sign of conflict with the white epoxy if that means anything.
I have a similar project but used epoxy resin and carbon fiber to fill the gaps on the ring. I have two places that cracked at the seam where new meets old. The rest are holding up fine.
Mine is a wood grain wheel and I need to get the repairs corrected before I spend any time trying to perfect the wood grain texture look.
The panel bond adhesive sounds like a good alternative so I am interested in seeing how it holds up.


If your wheel is more of an acrylic/plastic material I think your route would work better than the one I chose. I went with the 8081 because this wheel was so rubber like around the steel spokes. I think creating the wood grain would be difficult using my method where as yours would let you imprint your texture into the resin.
How do you plan to match the grain pattern? I could see possibly making a mold with something like the adhesive to imprint your resin with. It would be an interesting challenge at any rate.
Good luck with it in any case.


Well hopefully JCB has the answer he was looking for and we're just tagging along... I miss read your earlier post about the cracks, Thats exactly why I went with the 8081, I was afraid of that.
Seeing where your headed leaves me a little doubtful how well it would work for you as far as inscribing the grain into the still wet adhesive, however if you messed around with applying a really heavy coat of our favorite epoxy and let it set up some maybe that would take some engraving of sorts and you could do your color coats over that? I wouldn't envy you having to engrave the whole wheel that's for sure... maybe a 30 grit sand paper drug through while still wet but sort of set?
I have read where guys use a hacksaw blade and drag it through but so far I haven't experimented much with it.
The texture on there is in the epoxy primer. I shot a couple of heavy coats and while still impressionable I took a piece of textured metal siding off an old motorhome and rolled it over the primer.
If I can get the texture right, JimC already gave me some help with the color selection for getting the wood grain look correct.
I'll start playing around with it again in the near future. Right now I have seats to recover and interior to install.


Yes, I know this is a very old thread, but wondering if anyone would comment on the longevity of these repairs?


New Member
It's been so long I needed to come up with a new handle.

Surprised to spot this thread and felt I should reply with update.

The wheel has been installed for 3 or 4 years but has not seen the road yet. (Finally working on the last part of restoring [the bed] again after a long break) So while it is not road tested there is no shrinking or problems showing up as of now.

On an aside, the same adhesive was used on the channeling of a pair of 56 gmc fenders where I cut 2" of the 'mounting flange' (inside portion of the fender) off and 'glued' it back on and after 4 years no signs of seperation or problems. So if living up inside a fender in Oregon for 4 years hasn't caused problems yet I think the steering wheel repair will hold up inside a cab.


I am the originator of this thread and I just want to say that the steering wheel is holding
up real good. There is not any apparent problems as of now. If I were to do it again I wouldn't
change a thing. Hope this helps. Didn't think this thread would go on this long.


El Toro

Funny I almost forgot a did a 1953 Chevy steering wheel in acrylic enamel back in late 80's and still see the car has held up great.