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Discussion Starter #1
Has anyone found a solution or fix to the steering wheel fading? I have a MY2000 and the wheel used to be a nice uniform black, but in the past 5 years has become grey around the outer rim of the wheel. It's not consistent, like you might expect from sun damage and there are still specks of black mixed in so it looks pretty bad.

I have a co-worker with a same year car, but much less miles (20k vs 65k) and his has done the same thing. Is this just poor quality materials from Honda?
 

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Hi rsouthern and welcome to the forum :!:

Yup :!: :(

Seems to be a materials quality problem. And the odd size and shape of the wheel makes adding a cover difficult. I chose an exact replacement in the Honda S2000 factory stitched leather wheel.

My original is only in slightly degraded condition. It was posted in the for sale forum last December. If your interested PM for my email addy and then make me an offer via mail (forum buy/sell rules).

HTH! :)
 

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It's likely a lot less sun damage and more the oils from your skin. Clean it regularly to neutrailze these effects and apply something that provides uv protection. I'm not suggesting applying armoral to it, that would be dangerous, but there are some surface protectants that you could apply to the steering wheel which would help it and not make it greasy or slippery. I'm afraid the damage may already be done, but maybe try using Meguiar's interior quik detailer on it. You might also try taking some all surface safe cleaner with a tooth brush and scrub it and see if that makes a difference. I once had a steering wheel on a golf car where it looked like the paint was comming off, but it was actually just compacted dirt on it.
 

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I've had my Insight going on 3 years now and the steering wheel still looks as it did when new. I've never cleaned it or put any protectant on it. It could be UV from parking in the sun alot.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Sun, oils or dirt

I don't have any problems with the leather wrapped wheels in my 3 other cars, which in theory should be more sensitive to oils, and my previous cars haven't had any sort of problems even remotely like this. Another thing that makes me doubt that it's hand oils is that I tend to drive holding the wheel at the 9-3 positions, however the damage is even around almost the entire wheel, which one could argue could result from the rotation during turns, but I would expect to see a wear gradient, where the 9-3 positions had more wear, and that's not the case.

The car is parked indoors most of the time, so I don't believe it's extended exposure to UV, unless the wheel is very sensitive to the sun, which would be very bad design by Honda's materials team.

What I find strange is that my friends wheel is doing the same thing and his car is also a MY2000 Insight. It does spend all day outside and shows the same level of wear as mine, which is inside a lot more and I also use a windshield sun screen when I park outside. The wheels in both have been doing this for at least the last 3 years, so it may be time related with some other factor contributing.

However if the later model year cars are not showing any wear, then I suspect Honda may have changed the composition of the plastic on the wheel.
 

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My steering-wheel, also an S-2000 replacement, has no deterioration. The only thing I've noticed though is the air-bag housing. The thing with the Honda badge on it... That is getting grey-ish on my 2000 model.
:(
 

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My wheel is still nice and black. (shrugging shoulders)
 

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Well, UV could be a factor here, are your windows tinted? Another factor could just be how much lactic acid your hands excrete. I have a friend who's hands are always so naturally greasy it drives me crazy every time I let him ride in my car. I'm out there the next day wiping everything down that he touched because there are fingerprints on everything.

My families business deals in used cars. I've seen some pretty bad ones. In particular I recall a VW where you could tell exactly how the previous owner grabbed the steering wheel. At the 9oclock spoke a finger above and below it and one around the outside of the wheel. The color was literally worn off on those spots (this was a 40K mile car too).

Thats my story and I'm sticking to it. "The easiest car care is frequent car care" (Berry Meguiar) - Clean it often and prevent the damage.


Also, people with leather wrapped steering wheels, I have one too (grr and I had kept it a secret for so long that it just bolts right on). Don't neglect the leather. It's a natural material with natural oils in it that come out with time, heat, uv etc. Get a good leather cleaner and clean the wheel at least a few times a year. Once a year take a tooth brush and really scrub the stitching, you'll be amazed what can come out of the stitching. Then follow with a leather conditioner. This will put the natural oils back in the hide and prevent cracking. If possible the best way it to lay it on thick and let it soak overnight, then wipe away any excess in the morning.
 

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Here's my low tech fix for a sun damaged steering wheel. Get rid of any of that slick silicone Armorall type stuff with window cleaner and a soft rag. Do several applications with a Sharpie Magnum permanent marker. It actually leaves a layer of glossy black that gets better with each application. Be sure to get the back side of the wheel that you don't usually see from the driving position. The surface will have a maroonish gloss when done, so you can be sure you got everything. Finish the job off with black Kiwi shoe polish which will cancel out any red, Be sure you dont clog up the little holes on the perforated sections of the wheel with shoe polish. Buff lightly with a soft rag. The shoe polish will come off a little on your hands and clothing for the first week or so, then that stops happening. I was considering getting a replacement wheel, but am now very satisfied with how it turned out. Jim
 

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My steering-wheel, also an S-2000 replacement, has no deterioration. The only thing I've noticed though is the air-bag housing. The thing with the Honda badge on it... That is getting grey-ish on my 2000 model.
:(
Does the S2000 wheel fit "plug & play" into the Insight? Does the Insight Airbag fit into the S2000 stearing wheel?
 

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Does the S2000 wheel fit "plug & play" into the Insight? Does the Insight Airbag fit into the S2000 stearing wheel?
Yes. Yes. I have done this multiple times. RSX also 'bolts in'.

I change the plastic housing around the back of the wheel also as the S2000 and/or RSX has cruise control while the Insight does not. It is a direct swap replacement and then you don't have the cruise hole on the bottom right of the wheel.
 

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A new Honda foam steering wheel is about $230.
A new Honda S2000 leather wheel is about $450.
I paid $71 + 30 shipping (from Canada) for my eBay S2000 steering wheel. It works great, and feels great. It's a must-have item for the Insight, right next to having an okay stereo system.
 

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I live in europe and so the shipping will be a bit more but thats worth it.
This slippery foam steering wheel in the insight is horrible.

Someday in the future i would like to install a MIMA (2) system and i am thinking of operating it with the cruise control buttons of the S2000, the AP1 AP2 or the EP3 wheel. What do you think, would that be possible?
 

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I can assure you that it is the heat and uv exposure. You live in SoCal. I live in Miami. We both get a little bit of sun and heat. Regardless of whether the car is parked in a garage or not, you can't tell me it never goes out into the intense heat and sun in CA.

The same thing happened to both of the OEM steering wheels I had on insights here. On the other hand, ask the insight owners up north how their wheels have held up and you will see that they all look fairly new. I've purchased 2 from parts cars in CT and Ohio and they both looked new.

How many 10-20 year old cars have you owned in the past? This isn't a new issue with old cars; it happens all the time. Typically, leather wrapped wheels will outlast molded vinyl a little longer but this will always inevitably happen. Surely you weren't expecting a vinyl steering wheel to last forever..

If you want to cover up your aging wheel, get it re-dyed professionally or purchase some SEM Colorcoat paint in a spray can. A lot of the pros use SEM but there is other stuff out there too. It will look as good as new afterwords.
 

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If you want to cover up your aging wheel, get it re-dyed professionally or purchase some SEM Colorcoat paint in a spray can. A lot of the pros use SEM but there is other stuff out there too. It will look as good as new afterwords.
Yes, it maybe is like new after that treatment but it`s still a rubber/plastic material which i don`t like. Its slippery and it feels/is cheap.

I am still looking for an S2000 steering wheel to replace the OEM Insight wheel. Leather feels much more "natural" ... because it just is ;)
 

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Yes, it maybe is like new after that treatment but it`s still a rubber/plastic material which i don`t like. Its slippery and it feels/is cheap.

I am still looking for an S2000 steering wheel to replace the OEM Insight wheel. Leather feels much more "natural" ... because it just is ;)
I'd sell you my spare AP2 wheel, but the shipping would probably cost more than the wheel plus it needs a scratch repaired on the outer side of the rim.


ZE101 said:
Someday in the future i would like to install a MIMA (2) system and i am thinking of operating it with the cruise control buttons of the S2000, the AP1 AP2 or the EP3 wheel. What do you think, would that be possible?
Don't think I would bother. MIMA is controlled by a joystick; up, down, left, right, and center button. You'd be limiting yourself to two buttons with the OEM s2k CC buttons. If I payed over $1k for MIMA, I wouldn't want to limit the functionality of it by my interface. You could try to use some of the unused wires that go through the hub of the steering wheel to attach a joystick to the wheel.. but this has been discussed before and I think there are only 3 free wires and not enough for the joystick.
 

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An alternative to replacing the wheel is to install a leather cover. Wheelskins offers quality covers that fit exactly. If you prefer a "fatter" feel to the wheel
order the S-2000 cover (as I did) as it is large enough to allow for some padding between the insight rim and the cover. (14 1/4" X 4" cover dimensions) If you prefer the wheel to have a hard feel (w/o padding) then order the cover for the insight (14" X 3 3/4") Cost for either is $55.00. I find the appearance and feel to be very acceptable, if laced tightly.
Also, black shoe dye will restore the color of the center portions of the wheel.
 

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I'd sell you my spare AP2 wheel, but the shipping would probably cost more than the wheel plus it needs a scratch repaired on the outer side of the rim.
Do you have time to upload some pictures of the AP2 wheel, so i could see the scratch? ;)
 

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Do you have time to upload some pictures of the AP2 wheel, so i could see the scratch? ;)
You got it. Think I am going to put it up in the for sale section shortly.. I'm not going to use it. I like my perforated leather wheel better.

I can get it fixed professionally like my other wheel for $75 if buyer wants. Asking $80 for the wheel as is or $150 fixed (it will look brand new) + shipping.
 

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