How To Install A Quick Release Steering Wheel

So, you’ve got a quick-release steering wheel and a car to put it in, yet you’re not quite sure how to put the two together.

Here I’ve gone through the usual process of installing one of these steering wheels though you can expect some inconsistencies and irregularities since it’s impossible to cover every vehicle and steering mechanism in just one post.

To that end, I’ve covered the steps you should take when installing one of these quick-release mechanisms.

I’ll cover the following:

  • Prior knowledge you’ll need
  • Tools and parts that you’ll need
  • A step by step guide to installation

Install Some Knowledge First!

It may seem obvious but you’d be surprised at how many people ignore or outright forget the user instruction manual.

If you’re here, I could assume you’ve done your due diligence and have turned to us for help, in which case scroll down for our guide.

At any rate, consider this your reminder to consult any literature that arrived with the steering wheel, along with any reading materials related to the steering mechanism of your car if you have any.

While we’ve gone into a general step by step process that most quick-release steering wheels will be installed by, nothing beats breaking out the user manual.

I get it, in engineering industries, it’s common to get a shiny new toy only to crack open the user manual and find it’s written in Arabic or Korean.

Fortunately, we’re all living in an age where online translation is an option, though this isn’t usually ideal for specific instructions.

In those cases, it’s best to search online for other users who have the exact model you’re working with for more specific information.

With that said, let’s get into the general process you’ll have to go through when installing a quick-release steering wheel.

Our guide is tailored more to NRG quick release kits due to how popular they are but the method shouldn’t change too much.

Required Tools

There’s no use starting if you haven’t got the tools and parts that you’ll need to finish the job, so make sure you have the following before you set out.

Assuming you are working with the NRG quick release kit, you’ll want to have that kit with you along with an NRG short hub.

In terms of tools, you’ll want to have the following:

  • A small, flat-headed screwdriver
  • A 3mm Allen wrench
  • A small hook pick
  • 3/8” drive ratchet
  • 3/8” drive 6” extension
  • 3/8” drive 22mm deep socket

These are the tools you’ll need but that might not be everything. For example, you might need to have a wire stripper if the electrical wires in your steering mechanism haven’t been cut. Keeping a lighter to one side is also handy.

Similarly, you may need other parts to get the job done on your particular vehicle.

I can’t fully predict what you’ll need but keeping spare electrical wire and heat shrink tubing aside is a good idea, along with a pair of female wire terminal connectors.

Keeping Allen head bolts is also a good idea, the most popular ones in use being 1/2” 3mm versions.

A Step By Step Guide to Installing a Quick Release Steering Wheel

To make this installation guide easy to follow, I’ve broken it down into steps.

This means you can work along with us, stopping between each step to make sure you’re doing things right.

Step 1: Prep Your Vehicle

I am going to start at the very beginning and that means you should prep your steering wheel for being tinkered with.

There’s a set of things you should do to your car to make sure that the installation goes off without a hitch.

First, your car needs to be parked in a safe place with the brakes on. Its wheels also need to be set straight.

If they’re not, you risk them being misaligned with your steering wheel, which is going to be dangerous for you.

At this point, you’ll need to remove the horn from the steering wheel.

Depending on your vehicle, this can either be done with your bare hand or a small screwdriver to wrench the horn out of its plastic ring.

If you do need to pry, watch you don’t cause any significant damage to the wheel.

You should be looking at a bunch of wires now. Take a picture of them. Even if you’re proud and think you know where everything goes, it’s best to have a reference picture for re-installation.

After that, disconnect the wires and take the horn out.

Step 2: Take Off The Steering Wheel

You can’t do much to the steering wheel while it’s still attached.

By removing the wheel, you gain access to the mechanism that you’ll be working with to install the quick-release system. 

Most steering wheel assemblies can be removed by taking off the nut that’s at the center of the wheel. Of course, consulting a manual that’s specific to your vehicle is a good idea if you’re unsure of how to remove your assembly.

Once you’ve removed this nut and the washer and spacer you’ll find beneath, it’s as simple as pulling the steering wheel towards you, where it pops off.

Step 3: Fixing The Short Hub

Reach for the hook pick that I included in your tool list. Check the back of your now-detached steering wheel assembly and you should be able to identify a gold ring.

Get under it and very carefully and slowly pry it away. Many recommend slowly working your way around the ring with diagonal manipulations. Once the ring is off, there should be a black wire connected to it.

You’re going to thread this black wire through the NRG short hub that you have and, once that’s done, slide the ring back. Now you should take that black wire and connect it to the yellow wire and the other black wire that’s present.

After that, place the spacer, washer, and the first nut back onto the steering wheel and use your ratchet to tighten it again. You may need to tuck wires into the short hub to properly attach them.

Part of your NRG quick-release kit should correspond to the short hub, so grab that. You may need Allen head bolts to fix the quick-release and the short hub together.

Step 4: Install The Quick Release

Time to install the quick-release mechanism and the wheel with it. Press the quick release into position. You should feel it engage or hear it clunk into place.

After that, you need to re-install the steering wheel. This can be the simplest or most complicated part of the process depending on the vehicle you’re driving.

If you’re lucky, your wheel probably requires 1/2″ 3mm Allen head bolts, at which point you can install it easily while making sure that it’s properly aligned.

If you’re not lucky, the hardware involved in keeping your steering wheel secure might now be incompatible with your new mechanism.

This is usually a problem with screws, where you’ll need to get longer screws or cut long screws short to fit them properly.

While you’re finishing up the steering wheel, you need to stick the horn back in too. Consult that picture you took, or should have taken, earlier. This will show you where the wires reconnect and where they need to be.

If you do this successfully then congratulations, you’ve just installed the quick-release system and you’re done.

However, there’s an extra step for those who are left with incompatible connections, namely male-to-male.

Step 5: The Extra Step

If you’re left with male-to-male connectors, you need to adapt them to finish this installation. Fortunately, it’s simple enough if you have the optional gear we’ve listed above. 

Cut a length of wire to approximately two inches and strip both ends of it, then thread this wire into a female connection and make sure it’s securely crimped in place.

Wrap each end in heat shrink afterward, for safety purposes. You should only need about a half-inch and then use a lighter to heat the tubing to, well, shrink it.

Make sure you slip the second tubing on before crimping the wire. Now you should have an adapter for male-to-male connections.

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