How to Remove the Steering Wheel in Cars

by Contributing Writer; Updated June 12, 2017

Nissan car have come a long way, and the Nissan car line of trucks fits into that category. After all, they used to be small mini-trucks, and now they have the midsize Frontier and full-size Titan. The Frontier comes with lots of options from the factory, but not every vehicle comes with steering wheel controls. If you want to remove your steering wheel to install a new one, it can be done at home with basic tools, as long as you take proper safety precautions.

Under The Hood:

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel in a Dodge Caliber

Disconnect the negative cable on the battery using an open-end wrench. Allow the car to sit for at least 10 to 15 minutes before you continue to the next step.

Locate the small access holes on the sides of the steering wheel. Use the 1/4-inch ratchet and socket to remove the screws inside those holes. Pull the airbag away from the steering wheel with both hands. Unplug the connectors, then lift it out of the vehicle. Carefully set it face-up on a non-conductive surface, such as a wood table.

Unbolt the center bolt on the steering wheel using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket. Install the steering wheel puller into the threaded holes flanking the center of the steering wheel so that the center of the puller is on the steering column. Tighten the puller using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket until the steering wheel comes off of the column.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • 1/4-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Torx-head driver set

  • 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Steering wheel puller

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel on a 1994 GMC

Turn the key in the vehicle ignition to release the steering wheel lock and rotate the steering wheel until it is in the 12 o'clock position. Turn the key back to the "Off" position and remove the key from the ignition. Pull the hood release lever, then open the vehicle's hood.

Remove the positive battery cable from the battery terminal by loosening the terminal bolt with the appropriate socket and ratchet. Once the bolt is loose, remove the connector by simultaneously twisting it and pulling upward until the cable comes free.

Locate the fuse panel in the vehicle and remove the airbag fuse, only if your vehicle is equipped with an airbag. Use the diagram on the inside of the fuse panel cover to locate the correct fuse. The fuse panel will be located underneath the steering column or on the driver's side of the dashboard (facing the driver's side door). If there is no diagram on the fuse panel cover, consult the service manual to locate the fuse that controls the airbag.

Wait 30 minutes for the airbag backup power to shut down. This will let you remove the airbag unit without accidental deployment, which can cause serious injury or death.

Insert the 1/4-inch flat blade screwdriver into one of the round holes on either side of the back of the steering wheel and then push the tip of the screwdriver upward. This will disengage the leaf spring mechanism that holds the airbag unit in place. There may be up to three additional holes that require this method to completely disengage the airbag unit.

Lift the airbag unit away from the steering wheel enough to access the small wire that connects the unit to the vehicle's electrical system. Do not pull or stretch the wires. The wire should be connected to the steering wheel column with a small connector and attached with a yellow connector position assurance clip. Unclip the connector position assurance clip, disengage the wire connection, remove the airbag unit, and set the unit aside with the airbag cover facing upwards.

Disconnect the horn contact pin--a small pin that is connected to the airbag retention clips--by pushing it inwards, turning 1/4 turn counter-clockwise, and then pulling it out.

Remove the steering column shaft nut using the appropriate socket and ratchet. It may be necessary to use a socket extender to access this recessed nut, depending upon the depth of your sockets. Put the nut back on the column shaft a few turns to prevent the wheel from flying off of the shaft when using the steering wheel puller.

Place steering wheel puller in the center of your steering wheel, over the steering column shaft. Align the puller with the holes in your steering wheel and insert the bolts that came with in the puller kit through the steering wheel puller and into the steering wheel.

Tighten the bolts until the steering wheel pops off of the steering column shaft. Remove the bolts and steering wheel puller unit. Remove the nut from the steering column shaft and then remove the steering wheel.

Items you will need

  • Socket set and ratchet

  • 1994 GMC vehicle service manual

  • 1/4-inch flat blade screwdriver

  • Steering wheel puller

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel of a 2002 GMC Sierra

Open the hood. Remove the side post terminal from the negative side of the battery using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Allow the truck to sit without the battery connected for at least 10 minutes.

Locate the two holes on the backside of the steering wheel. Place one of the hex-head keys into one of the holes in the back of the steering wheel and push it toward the back of the truck until the airbag pops out of the side of the steering wheel. Repeat the process on the other side of the steering wheel, then pull the airbag out of the steering wheel. Unplug the airbag harness from the back of the airbag, using your hands. Carry the airbag face up over to a storage place, away from any static electricity. Set it in storage with the horn button pointing toward the celling.

Unbolt the center bolt on the steering wheel using the 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket. Place the center of the steering wheel puller onto the steering shaft at the middle of the steering wheel. Thread the two bolts included with the steering wheel puller into the two threaded inserts on either side of the steering shaft. Tighten the center of the steering wheel puller using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket until the steering wheel pops off of the steering column.

Items you will need

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

  • Hex-head key set

  • Steering wheel puller set

  • 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel on a 1999 Silverado

Disconnect the negative battery terminal cable using a wrench. Place the cable far enough from the battery terminal to prevent accidental contact. Allow 15 minutes for the circuits to go to sleep before continuing.

Remove the two Torx head screws securing the air bag to the steering wheel through the two access holes in the rear of the wheel. Lift the air bag up enough to disconnect the two yellow and black air bag wires and the two horn wires from the back of the air bag.

Lift the air bag off the steering wheel, keeping the front of the air bag facing away from you. Lay it face down on the passenger floor so if it should deploy it has nowhere to go.

Remove the large nut on the steering shaft using a socket. Install the wheel puller and turn the center shaft clockwise to pull off the wheel.

Install the wheel by aligning the hole for the horn over the plastic horn post and lower the wheel. Install the steering wheel shaft nut and tighten it to 30 foot-pounds using the socket.

Install the air bag by holding it close to the wheel and connecting the yellow and black wires to the air bag wire terminals of the same color. Connect the two horn wires. Lower the air bag and tighten the two Torx head screws with the Torx drivers. Connect the negative battery terminal cable and tighten it with a wrench.

Items you will need

  • Set of Torx drivers

  • Ratchetd

  • Set of sockets

  • Steering wheel puller

  • Set of wrenches

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel on a 1995 Chevy Pickup

Open the hood and disconnect the negative terminal from the battery using an open-end wrench. Allow the vehicle to sit for 30 minutes before you work on the airbag.

Place the key in the ignition and turn it to the on position. Turn the steering wheel 90 degrees clockwise from the straight forward position. Locate the small hole in the back of the steering wheel. Place the flathead screwdriver into the hole and push it forward, which will pop the airbag out of that side of the wheel.

Turn the wheel 180 degrees counter clockwise. Place the flathead screwdriver into the hole and push it forward, which will pop the airbag out of that side of the wheel. The airbag will pop out of the wheel into your hands, then unplug the wiring harness leading into the airbag. Remove the airbag from the vehicle and set it face up in a safe place, away from any static electricity.

Unbolt the center bolt on the steering wheel using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket. Then bolt the steering wheel puller to the steering wheel using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Tighten the center nut on the puller until the steering wheel pops off of the column.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Small blade flathead screwdriver

  • Steering wheel puller kit

  • 1/2-inch ratchet and socket set

 How to Remove a Steering Wheel From a Chevy S10

Turn the steering wheel from side to side until it locks into place. This will make the process a bit easier, as the wheel won't be turning as you work.

Remove the horn button in the center of the steering wheel by pulling it off towards you. This will expose the steering wheel nut at the center.

Unbolt the center bolt from the steering wheel, using the 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket. This might free the steering wheel right away, but most likely you'll have to proceed to the next step.

Position the steering wheel puller on the steering wheel such that the center bolt on the puller is on the center shaft of the wheel. Then thread in the bolts supplied with the puller into the two threaded holes on either side of the center shaft on the wheel.

Tighten down the center bolt on the steering wheel puller using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket until the steering wheel pops free. Then remove the steering wheel puller from the steering wheel.

Items you will need

  • 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

  • Steering wheel puller

 How to Remove a Steering Wheel in a Nissan Pickup

Pop the hood and use an open-end wrench to disconnect the negative terminal from the battery. Allow the vehicle to sit for ten minutes before proceeding.

Look under the bottom of the steering wheel and locate a small hole in the panel. Place the flathead screwdriver in the hole and push up toward the headliner. This will pop the airbag out of the wheel. Pull the airbag back and unclip the wiring harness from the airbag. Take the airbag out of the vehicle and set it to the side, with the horn button pointing up.

Unbolt the center of the steering wheel from the steering column, using the 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket. Place the steering wheel puller on the column so that the center of the puller is where the nut on the steering wheel was, and then thread the bolts that come with the puller through the puller itself and into the holes to the sides of the center nut on the wheel, using a 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Tighten down the center of the steering wheel puller, using the 1/2-inch ratchet and socket, until the wheel pops off of the column. Carefully pull it away from the column and unclip the wiring leading to the wheel, using your hands. Unbolt the steering wheel puller from the wheel.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • Flathead screwdriver

  • 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket

  • Steering wheel puller

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel in a Ford Fusion

Pop the hood and disconnect the negative terminal from the battery using an open-end wrench, then disconnect the positive terminal. Allow the car to sit for at least 10 minutes before you proceed forward.

Locate the small holes on both sides of the back of the steering wheel. Place the 3-mm hex-head key into one of the holes and push it in firmly. This is going to pop out the airbag from one side of the steering wheel. Repeat the process on the other side of the steering wheel until the airbag falls out of the steering wheel.

Locate the wiring harnesses leading into the back of the steering wheel. Use the flathead screwdriver to pry the protective cover off the back of the airbag harnesses and then push the clip in to pull the harnesses off the airbag. Place the airbag in a safe space, stored face up.

Unbolt the steering wheel from the column using the 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket.

Thread the bolts from the steering-wheel puller into the threaded holes on the steering wheel using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket. Make sure the center of the steering-wheel puller is on the center of the steering wheel, right where the bolt was in Step 4.

Tighten down the center of the steering-wheel puller using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket until the steering wheel pops off of the steering column. Unbolt the steering-wheel puller from the steering wheel using the 3/8-inch ratchet and socket.

Items you will need

  • Open-end wrench set

  • 3-mm hex-head key

  • Small flathead screwdriver

  • 1/2-inch ratchet, extension and socket set

  • Steering-wheel puller kit

  • 3/8-inch ratchet and socket set

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel from a BMW 328i

Before removing the steering wheel, the air-bag needs to be removed as well. Disconnect the battery at the negative terminal. Let the battery drain for at least an hour or so, so that the airbag no longer has a charge.

Using the screwdriver, remove the two screws that hold on the plastic trim on the bottom of the steering column. The trim takes some maneuvering to remove, but should come out relatively easily.

Disconnect the orange air bag sensor cable from the airbag. Use something pointy like a pen to push on the tab on the side of the connector to slip it off.

Loosen the airbag itself. The airbag is held on with two Torx (star pattern) screws. NOTE: Hold the airbag in place to keep it from falling. You should be able to CAREFULLY lift the airbag off the wheel. Put the airbag in safe place. Disconnect the brown wire for the horn. This should be a blade connector.

With the airbag out of the way, the bolt that holds the wheel on should be visible. Using the 16-mm socket remove the bolt. Before removing the wheel, mark the splines of the wheel and the steering column shaft in three positions, or note how the wheel is oriented. This ensures that the wheel will not be crooked when you put it back on. Once the wheel position is marked, remove the center bolt and pull the wheel off. If the wheel is on very tightly, you may need a steering wheel puller. As you remove the wheel, pull gently so that you don't damage the remaining wires that need to be disconnected as the wheel comes off.

Items you will need

  • T30 Torx (star) bit or driver (screwdriver length)

  • Phillips head screwdriver

  • 16-mm socket

  • Sharpie marker

  • Ball point pen or similar

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel on a BMW 325I

Park the car so that the steering wheel is pointed straight ahead and the car is on a level surface. Disconnect the negative terminal on the battery. Make sure you have the security code for the radio (if you have a factory radio) so that it can be reset when the battery is reconnected.

Remove the airbag retaining screws that are accessed from the back of the wheel with a T30 Torx bit if your car is equipped with an airbag. The E30 generation cars did not come with an airbag. For an E30, simply pry off the center of the steering wheel cover with a flat-head screwdriver to access the steering wheel nut.

Support the weight of the airbag as you remove the two screws. Disconnect the horn and the wires that go to the airbag. Set the airbag aside.

Remove the steering wheel retaining nut with the appropriately sized socket and an extension if the socket is not deep enough to reach the nut. Make sure the steering wheel is locked so that it does not turn as you loosen the nut. The nut may take considerable force to remove.

Make two or three marks with a fine-tipped marker on the splines of the steering wheel and corresponding marks on the steering column so that the wheel is reinstalled in the proper orientation. There will also be factory marks.

Pull the wheel straight off of the steering column. Be careful not to tug on any wires as you pull the wheel off. Disconnect any wires that are connected to the steering wheel behind the slip ring where it slides onto the steering column. Installation is the reverse of removal.

Items you will need

  • Flat-head screwdriver (for non-airbag models)

  • Torx bits (for airbag models)

  • Socket set and ratchet

  • 5-inch socket extension

 How to Remove the Steering Wheel From a PT Cruiser

Remove the screws on the back side of the steering wheel, using an appropriately sized screwdriver.

Remove the steering wheel cover by pulling it off with your hands, or use the screwdriver to pry it off if necessary.

Turn the steering wheel so that the front tires are facing forward.

Open the PT Cruiser's hood and disconnect the battery from the negative terminal then the positive terminal.

Remove the retaining clip on the steering wheel with pliers. Use the ratchet set to remove the securing nut on the steering wheel. (Both the clip and the securing nut are underneath the steering wheel cover that you removed previously.)

Pull the steering wheel from the steering wheel column.

Items you will need

  • PT Cruiser's owners manual

  • Screwdriver (short enough to reach behind the steering wheel)

  • Pliers

  • Ratchet set