Steering wheels are mainly designed to control vehicles. It is used in any type of automobile and reacts through the driver’s inputs. At a glance, the whole function is simple, but there is more than meets the eye. Since a driver always needs to grab it firmly, safely, and comfortably whether the situation is, the steering wheel material is important.
To assure a comfortable ride, you need to be sure of the best material. You may wonder what are steering wheels made of? Here we will uncover this query and other related questions.
What is the steering wheel?
The steering wheel is shaped like a wheel and moves in a circular motion. Though all steering wheels are not the same, most are round and connect with a central hub. However, you also can see butterfly steering wheels that are designed to be half-circles.
Steering wheels work like an input system. It transmits the driver’s direction to the steering shaft and moves the car wheels to the left and right. The periodic motion is used to control the vehicle’s movement.
History Of Steering Wheel
The existence of steering wheels has been seen since the 19th century. In 1894, the earliest instance was seen that had a wheel-shaped device used to steer a car. Later in 1898, the French manufacturer launched a steering wheel in all its cars. Then other manufacturers followed their models and began to make vehicles with steering wheels.
Gradually, it becomes a set part of the automotive structure. Early on, when traffic increased, the carmakers used to set bulb horns with the steering wheels. Later, it becomes necessary to warn other drivers and sound horns have been added.
What is a steering wheel made out of?
From the revolution of the steering wheel, many materials were used to make the steering wheel. Like wood, metal, and now plastic. Below we have described how steering wheels are made and what are the materials.
The skeleton or base of the steering wheel is made of strong yet light material. The metal steering wheel becomes heavier. That’s why there are used magnesium, aluminum, or steel. Among all other materials, the steel steering wheel is very much popular. After preparing the internal support, the rest of the components are added to the steering wheel. A horn is also installed in the skeleton of the steering wheel.
The base of the steering wheel was lined with wood in the early stage. Nowadays, which has been replaced by plastic materials because it reduces internal costs. Moreover, there is a risk of splitting of wood materials that can cause accidents. Plastic wheels are easy to clean, but they get scaled in summer and drivers face problems holding the steering wheel.
To make an automobile steering wheel, the base is covered with a soft, durable foam material. Typically, manufacturers have used polyurethane. Before using it, polyurethane foam is formed with an injection molding process.
In this process, polyurethane is mixed up with other chemicals to make it flexible and full-skin polyether polyol. Finally, it produces an expanding foam and takes place inside a mold. Further, the foam will take on a steering wheel shape.
Before adding polyurethane, the mold is covered with a greasy agent so that the foam won’t be glued to it. There is also used protective paint to color the foam, in most cases, there is used black. Paint prevents wear and damage due to UV rays.
The process of full-skin polyurethane foams gives a soft feel and good texture, and color. When polyurethane is processed with injection molding, there is excess foam left on the flywheel. So it needs to be trimmed. After trimming, the structure is ready to install the internal components.
3. Internal components
Internal components mean different switches for controlling features. When all the controlling features are assembled, called a unit of wire loom. The wires of the loom are connected to the switches and attached to the system. The basic function is the same in most vehicles. Features may vary in different models.
4. Outer layer
The covering material needs to be comfortable as you can handle it for a long time. The material should not be influenced by the environment and should not become too hot or cold. Carmakers try to make the wheel attractive as well as ergonomic so that drivers can easily handle it. Moreover, the wheel should have a secure grip on drivers without being too slippery. Some covers are featured with moisture-absorbent agents that are ideal for those who have sweaty hands. Some popular materials for covers are:
- Genuine Leather: leather-covered steering wheels look elegant and are often used on higher-priced cars. These leather covers are made of pigmented leather so that the driver won’t face skin irritation and sweating.
- Cloth: cloth covers are great to tough and provide a firm grip even in too hot and too cold weather conditions. They are non-slipping and sweat-absorbent.
- Microfiber Leather: this type of leather is a type of synthetic fabric that is the preferred choice of many drivers. They come in attractive colors, are durable, and are resistant to any weather condition. Your hands won’t slip due to the fabric’s breathability. They are perfect in all ways and save for long riding.
- Synthetic resins: here a polished coating is used with a thoughtfully painted finish. But many drivers claim these wheels are too slippery for handling.
Are steering wheels made of leather?
Leather is used as a cover for the steering wheels. Leather wheels look attractive and durable too. However, at present microfiber leather is more popular than genuine leather.
Are steering wheels plastic?
Steering wheels can be made of plastic. Plastic wheels are cheap and durable enough. But plastic steering wheels get too hot or cold as per the weather driving.
What is inside a steering wheel?
The base of the steering wheel can be made of many materials like steel, metal, or aluminum.
Do steering wheels have metal in them?
Steering wheels have metal components. But carmakers try to keep the wheels light, so they use mixed materials like aluminum.
A vehicle driver spends much of their time holding the steering wheel. Because it plays a vital role to control car movement. Nowadays, many types of steering wheels are designed and shaped to enhance the look of a car. So there are many materials are used for an elegant look and durability.
In this article, we have pointed out what are steering wheels made of. Now you have already known the whole processing of steering wheels and what materials are used.