How to Remove the Steering Wheel on a BMW 325Iby William Zane
The 3 Series is without question BMW's most popular model and the one that most everyone is familiar with. The 325i has been one of the models that has been available since the E30 generation of cars. Replacing or removing the 325's steering wheel is sometimes necessary, either for repairing the car or more commonly for replacement with a different wheel. Removing the wheel on a 325i is not that difficult.
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.
Things You'll Need
- Flat-head screwdriver (for non-airbag models)
- Torx bits (for airbag models)
- Socket set and ratchet
- 5-inch socket extension
William Zane has been a freelance writer and photographer for over six years and specializes primarily in automotive-related subject matter among many other topics. He has attended the Academy of Art College in San Francisco, where he studied automotive design, and the University of New Mexico, where he studied journalism.