Installing an aftermarket steering wheel is a popular modification and there is a variety of options to choose from that include wooden, racing and a range of other styles. Most aftermarket replacements allow you to wire the horn to the steering wheel but it’s important to note that you may lose other controls. For most classic or race cars, this isn’t an issue but if you drive a modern vehicle, this can be a drawback.
If you require a quick answer, the best aftermarket steering wheel is the Nardi Classic, which is made in Italy and is constructed of wood with polished spokes. However, if you are looking for a more track based alternative, the MOMO Mod 78 is the best option that provides superior grip.
To rate the aftermarket steering wheels within this article, we based our recommendations upon hours of research and multiple factors. The factors that we considered included their grip, styles, construction, size and value.
Table of Contents
Aftermarket Steering Wheel Comparison
|Aftermarket Steering Wheel||Diameter||Style|
|Nardi Wood||390 mm||Classic|
|MOMO Mod 78||330 mm||Racing|
|Sparco L360||330 mm||Flat Bottom Racing|
|NRG ST-006BK-Y||350 mm||Deep Dish|
|Grant Products 838||342 mm||Classic|
Installing an aftermarket steering wheel allows you to choose the material, thickness, diameter and the overall finish. There is hundreds of options to choose and it can make a huge difference to your driving experience.
Below is a list of the best aftermarket steering wheels that are suited to classic, racing and modern interiors.
The Best Aftermarket Steering Wheel
1. Nardi Classic Aftermarket Steering Wheel
For those that want a classic design, the best option is the Nardi aftermarket steering wheel. It’s a genuine Italian wheel that’s constructed of mahogany wood and polished spokes. It’s by far one of the best looking examples on the market and can make a great addition to any car interior.
In terms of fitting this steering wheel, it will require a 6 hole hub adapter with a 2.875 inch bolt pattern.
Other features of the Nardi Classic (5061.39.3000) include:
- 390 mm diameter
- Aluminum ring
- 100% made in Italy
- Interchangeable center cap
- Classic look and feel
Nardi produce a wide range of steering wheels but for the classic wooden style, this model is the best option. The brand is highly reputable with automotive enthusiasts and installing this wheel will certainly improve the overall appearance of your car’s interior.Check it Out
2. MOMO Alcantara Suede Racing Steering Wheel
MOMO are another highly reputable brand in the racing scene and the Mod 78 aftermarket steering wheel is designed for those that want a racing setup. It features an alcantara suede grip, which is comfortable to hold and provides superior grip. With regards to the installation, MOMO recommend that you use their own hub to avoid any complications and ensure a secure fit.
Other features of the MOMO Mod 78 include:
- 330 mm diameter
- Alcantara suede grip
- Aluminum construction
- Central rim for an anatomic grip
- Includes a horn button
Overall, if you require a simplistic design and an excellent grip, the MOMO Mod 78 is perfect. Due to the alcantara finish, we strongly advise that you keep your hands clean and purchase an alcantara cleaner.Check it Out
3. Sparco L360 Aftermarket Leather Steering Wheel
The main competitor to MOMO is the highly rated Sparco brand and they produce multiple steering wheels that are mostly designed for racing. The L360 model in particular is a premium option that features a leather grip.
Installation of this aftermarket steering wheel is universal and it fits to most hub adapters with a 6 bolt pattern.
Other features of the Sparco L360 include:
- 330 mm diameter with a flat bottom
- Premium leather grip
- Made in the USA
- Flat depth to the dish
- Aluminum spokes
The L360 aftermarket steering wheel by Sparco is a great option for those that require a racing setup. The brand also offer this model in different cover materials and diameters but the 330 mm with leather is the most popular.Check it Out
4. NRG Innovations Deep Dish Steering Wheel
NRG are a brand that are well-known for their quick release hubs but they also produce a range of steering wheels. The ST-006BK-Y model in particular is a deep dish steering wheel that’s a universal fit for all vehicles when using a 6 hole hub adapter. A unique feature of this aftermarket steering wheel is the yellow center marking. This is used as a reference to orient the driver to how much the steering is dialled in.
Other features of the NRG ST-006BK-Y include:
- 350 mm diameter
- Black high quality leather grip
- Three aluminum spoke design
- Includes a horn button
- 3 inches deep
- Hardware included
Overall, the deep dish style of the NRG ST-006BK-Y makes this steering wheel look very aggressive when installed to any vehicle. When compared to other options, it’s designed by a reputable brand and it also uses high quality materials to ensure that it’s long lasting and feels great to grip.Check it Out
5. Grant Products 838 Classic Steering Wheel
If you require a classic steering wheel but without the wooden element, the Grant 838 aftermarket steering wheel is the best option. It uses an extra thick vinyl foam grip that’s finished in black and is comfortable to hold.
The brand recommend their own specific installation kit for this steering wheel but you may be able to use alternative hubs to best suit your requirements.
Other features of the Grant 838 Classic Steering Wheel include:
- 342 mm diameter
- Black vinyl foam grip
- Chrome finish steel spokes
- Three holes per spoke
- Includes a matching horn button
Overall, it’s a cheap aftermarket steering wheel that has a uniquely small diameter to suit certain vehicles. Unlike the Nardi classic alternative, it’s also a fraction of the price, which makes it one of the most popular on the market.Check it Out
Aftermarket Steering Wheel Buying Guide
Replacing your steering wheel with an aftermarket alternative can be very beneficial. If you opt for a classic style, they add an element of class to the interior. Those that are into circuit racing or drifting can opt for a racing style, which improves the grip and usability on the track.
Installing an aftermarket steering wheel is fairly straightforward and they are a universal fit for most cars too. However, to ensure that they are compatible, you must install the required hub adapter beforehand for the installation to go smoothly.
To help you make an informed buying decision, we have produced the below guide regarding aftermarket steering wheels.
There are hundreds of aftermarket steering wheels available but you’ll want to match your choice to the cars interior. For example, you wouldn’t install a racing steering wheel to a luxury classic car.
The classic option is often made of a mahogany wood or a premium leather cover and is much larger than the racing alternatives. If you do require a racing style of steering wheel, they will use a material that maximizes grip and are smaller for tackling the challenging turns on the track.
Another popular aftermarket option is the deep dish steering wheel, which looks great when installed to retro or custom vehicles.
Importance of the Diameter
All manufacturers of steering wheels will state a diameter metric, which often varies between 300 to 400 mm. Many people will prefer a smaller wheel for racing but in terms of daily driving, it can be more difficult to steer.
Larger wheels are often more aesthetically pleasing and installed to older vehicles. However, if they are too large, they can make getting out more difficult and even harder if you have racing seats installed as they sit closer to the wheel.
The majority of cars will have dials that can be seen through the steering wheel. If you wish to have a clear vision, you will need to ensure that the diameter isn’t too small or too big. This may not be an issue for some but it can become frustrating.
Shape of the Wheel
Depending upon your personal preferences, you have the choice of a range of steering wheel shapes and the most common shapes include:
- Flat bottom
- Deep dish
- Open top
The choice really depends upon the usage of the steering wheel and the look you desire. The open top shape is best described as a formula 1 style steering wheel, which is only suitable for racing as opposed to daily driving.
Depth of the Dish
The dish of a steering wheel refers to the distance between the mounting surface to the center line of the wheel. For usability, most steering wheels will have a small depth as this allows the driver to access the signal stalks and other controls.
Depending upon your seating position, if the depth of the wheel is too large, it can make it difficult to get in and out of the car. However, for those that take part in racing, the closer steering position is very beneficial.
All the aftermarket steering wheel recommendations within this article are universal. However, you must have a hub adapter (often referred to as a boss kit) installed beforehand and this connects to the steering wheel.
The majority of standard hubs are drilled as a 6 bolt pattern that are 70 mm apart and this is compatible with most steering wheels. However, you can install various accessories between the hub and the steering wheel such as a quick release or a spacer to best suit your requirements.
The most common materials found on steering wheels include leather, plastic vinyl, alcantara or no covers at all. Leather is by far the best option for durability and least amount of maintenance but it’s not always the best for grip whilst racing.
Alternatively, most racing steering wheels will use an alcantara or similar materials, which provides maximum grip. However, it will require regular cleaning to avoid permanent staining and bad smells.
For those that want to further improve their grip, it’s recommended that you purchase driving gloves. They will not only maximize your grip of the steering wheel but also help keep the wheel clean.
The modern steering wheel comes with a range of additional features such as heating, volume or track control and much more. By installing an aftermarket steering wheel, you may lose all this functionality unless you integrate some clever wiring.
To ensure that your car is street legal, it must have a horn installed. Therefore, you will want to ensure that the steering wheel you choose has a suitable horn button. You will need to pass the wires through the center in order to connect the horn. If that isn’t possible, you can purchase an aftermarket car horn to complete the installation.
Highly Rated Brands
Considering that a steering wheel is under constant use, you will want something that’s high quality and durable. By far the most popular brands are Nardi, Sparco and MOMO. Although they only offer premium steering wheels, they are worthwhile investments that are built to last and won’t disappoint.
Whether you are replacing a worn or old steering wheel, there are plenty of aftermarket replacements available. For classic cars, we are big fans of the wooden steering wheels such as the Nardi Classic but this won’t suit all car interiors. If you drive a JDM or stripped out race car, the MOMO or Sparco alternatives are the best option.
All of our recommendations are suitable for a range of budgets and styles. If you haven’t replaced a steering wheel before, we highly recommend that you read our removal guide before purchasing an aftermarket steering wheel. It’s relatively straight forward to change but you must purchase a compatible hub if you don’t already have one.