To remove the steering wheel on a VW, you will need to remove the driver's airbag. Remove and handle the airbag with caution. If the airbag deploys while removed, it causes damage or injuries.
What you will need
How to remove a Volkwagen steering wheel.
- Turn the front wheels so that they point straight forward.
- Keep the ignition on or in position I so that the steering is not locked. This is important, especially on VW with Start/Stop button otherwise, the steering wheel will lock up, and you won't be able to turn it to get to the airbag release holes on the back of the steering wheel.
- Open the hood, disconnect the negative battery terminal and wait 15 minutes before continuing to the next step.
- Remove the driver's airbag. There are two holes on the back of the steering wheel where you insert a screwdriver to release the airbag.
- Handle the airbag with care, and keep your body at least one foot away from the airbag at all times. For more help, watch our video and guide on how to remove the VW driver's airbag.
- Disconnect the airbag wires. Use a flat head screwdriver to remove the orange plastic that locks the connectors. Once the orange plastic is pulled out, you will pull and disconnect the electrical connector.
- Have a friend counter hold the steering wheel. Use an M12 triple square bit to loosen the bolt at the center of the steering wheel. Do not depend on the steering lock to counter; hold the steering wheel while you loosen the steering wheel bolt. This is a common mistake that many people make when they remove a VW steering wheel, leading to the failure of the steering lock.
- Mark the steering column with a marker so that when the steering wheel is installed back on, it is installed in the same location. Otherwise, when you drive in a straight line, your steering wheel will be offset.
- Grab the steering wheel on both sides and pull it toward you to remove it from the steering column.
- Reinstall the steering wheel in reverse order. Make sure to use the thread locker on the steering wheel bolt and torque to the bolt to spec.
When you remove a VW steering wheel, make sure to mark the steering column shaft before you take off the steering wheel. Also, tape the clock spring so it doesn't rotate.
The clock spring is mounted right behind the steering wheel and exposed when you remove the steering wheel. After you remove your VW steering wheel, make sure to put tape on the clock spring to not spin to the left or right.
The clock spring will need to be in the exact position and should not be spun at all. If you have spun the clock spring, you will need to figure out how to set the clock spring.
Steering Wheel Bolt Torque
Typically VW steering wheel bolt needs to be torqued to 50NM (37.5ft-lbs). Always check the correct torque specifications by calling a VW dealer.
How do you break loose VW steering wheel bolts?
The bolt at the center of the steering wheel requires a significant amount of force to break loose. It also requires an M12 triple square bit, but a Torx-55 can be used with caution.
A Torx-55 socket doesn't' fit perfectly, which means there is a risk of stripping the bolt. You will need a second person to counter hold the steering wheel while you break loose.
What tool do you need to remove a VW steering wheel?
The unique tool that is required to remove a VW steering wheel is an M12 triple star socket. While not ideal, a T-55 bit also works, but it increases the chances of stripping the bolt.
The picture in this guide is based on a Volkswagen Jetta MK6, but the procedure is very similar and will help you if you are looking to remove the steering wheel on a VW Beetle, Golf, Polo, Caddy, Cabrio, and other models.