Steering wheels are amongst one of the most critical components in vehicle control. Most modern day stock steering wheels sport intuitive features such as cruise and audio controls that many drivers consider a convenience. For some however, the driving confidence that a steering wheel delivers, takes ultimate precedence over tech gadgetry that is placed into today’s modern steering wheels. Slighting that the stock steering wheel often feels heavy and how it mutes the feedback from the road, some drivers opt for an alternative; the aftermarket steering wheel.
An aftermarket steering wheel is truly a steering weapon of choice that automotive enthusiasts swear by. It is connected to the steering column via a boss kit that acts as a steering hub or adapter for the aftermarket steering wheel. Compromising on convenience comforts found on a modern-day steering wheel, the aftermarket steering wheel is kept light, simple and relatively easy to turn without having to exert unnecessary force to turn. Often comprising of three or twin spokes, it is made of lightweight aircraft grade aluminum that allows it to keep unnecessary weight away, while retaining durability under hard driving conditions. Properly weighted, such steering wheels incorporate ergonomic features, such as finger grips that line the steering’s inner rim or a deep-dish design that puts the wheel closer towards the driver.
While some choose steering wheels solely based on designs, it is also good to note that various designs, such as deep-dish or a flat-dish steering will have a definite effect on your driving posture. Driving posture is extremely important, especially if one is driving for prolonged hours, or on a weekend race track. These contribute a lot to health and personal safety. REV Magazine will share some great advice before you get that desired steering wheel…
1) The authenticity of the product
It is extremely important to verify the originality of the product. Even though the price factor might be tempting, an imitation/replica steering wheel might not have the same quality standards as opposed to an original item. Thus, it may severely compromise your personal safety in the event of an unfortunate accident.
Steering wheels come in different sizes. Most aftermarket steering wheels have a diameter range of 350 to 330mm, as compared to the stock diameter range of 360mm to 380mm. A smaller steering wheel might block portions of the dashboard, so choose one that gives you sufficient dashboard view.
3) Deep Dish or Flat Dish?
If a driver has shorter arms, it is good to choose an aftermarket steering wheel with a deeper dish for the purpose of bringing the steering wheel closer to the driver. However, if the driver has longer arms, it would be good that the driver selects a flat dish steering wheel, to maintain optimal steering distance.
There can be no further emphasis on the sitting distance for the driver. If a driver sits too far from the steering wheel, his hands will be overstretched to hold the wheel. This might cause soreness especially with prolonged driving, as well as a smaller turning radius, since the drivers arms will interlock easily. Sitting closely to the steering does not have any benefits as well, since the driver might need to repeatedly adjust the holding position of the wheel to clear a turn, resulting in a slower turning speed or the tendency to turn slowly.
Telescopic Steering Adjustment
Most steering columns have steering height adjustment. These allow the steering wheel to be lowered, raised or even in some cases, tilted left or right to suit personal driving preferences. It is important to note that the steering wheel should be lowered or raised accordingly to keep the steering wheel below the ridge of your nose, so that there is no viewing obstruction caused by the steering wheel. Preferably, the steering wheel should be held at a hand position parallel with the driver’s chest.
To check if your steering posture is optimum, use these steps to ensure you have it right:
1) Place your wrists on the top of the steering wheel.
Is it resting nicely on the wheel? If your hands fall short of the steering wheel, move your seat closer to the wheel. If your wrists are too far forward, move your seat further from the wheel. The objective is to rest your wrists properly on the rim of the steering wheel.
2) Adjust the height of the steering column or your seat.
Have the steering wheel parallel or roughly pointed towards your chest with your hands held on the 9 ‘o clock and 3 ‘o clock position of your steering wheel.
To keep it simple, ensure that your wrists rest properly on the top of the steering wheel, while keeping the steering wheel pointed towards your chest. At the same time, ensure that your legs are comfortably positioned to keep a good foothold on your clutch, brake and accelerator pedals.
Text by Aaron Hia
Pictures by Manufacturers & Team REV