Leather or Alcantara(R) - which is better for your steering wheel cover?

Updated by Mike Sep 2023-09-15


The key issue is how to make your steering wheel look great for a long time? Well, for starters (no pun intended), start with the correct selection of materials! It basically comes down to the choice between leather and Alcantara. While there are other fabrics out there, let's focus on those two. For a steering wheel cover, leather or Alcantara are the only viable options. Any woven textiles won't last a steering wheel and will wear out pretty quickly!


The picture on the left shows leather, the one on the right - an Alcantara(R) steering wheel. So, why choose one over the other? Well, the answer is a cliche "it depends".


The "form" factor (looks) is simple as it is only your personal taste that matters really. Make sure it matches your car's interior. And, to that tune, you can mix and match Alcantara with any of our available customizations!

Alcantara + Stripes:

Two-Tone + Alcantara + Stripes:


But the "function" factor is a bit more complicated. Alcantara is, in principle, a durable fabric - it is heat- and color-resistant so will not bleach or fade even under constant sunlight through the windscreen. However, its surface is prone to mechanical wear from your hands due to sweat and friction. Coupled with salt and grease (ingredients of human sweat) this can put premature wear on those areas of your steering wheel. It will quickly become shiny and tiny balls of peeling fiber will appear on the surface.


There is a way to avoid this, but we wouldn't call it an easy way. You either need to drive with suede gloves on or wash your hands carefully everytime you get into the car. Realistic? You tell us!


Unlike leather, cleaning Alcantara is somewhat of a chore as well. Tons of videos on YouTube explain the how-to. Keep in mind that it's really time consuming (or expensive, if you're paying someone to do it for you!) Conversely, 99% of stains on leather will wash off with a wet sponge. The remaining 1% requires nothing but soap!


Before we even get into maintenance and durability, we need to discuss the step that comes prior. Installation of an Alcantara steering wheel cover is much more involved than of a leather cover. Make sure you consider that if you're going to do it as a DIY project! First, Alcantara is much less stretchy than leather, so it is more difficult to align it properly and make it lay smooth on the curves of steering wheel spokes. What's worse, it is much thinner than leather so any imperfections such as wrinkles or bulges are clearly visible and very difficult to remove once they had appeared. Third, as Alcantara is thinner than leather, your Alcantara steering wheel will also be thinner than it was while it was covered in original leather, so you may need to consider padding to avoid ending up with a thin steering wheel rim. Steering wheel padding will provide for a nice, thicker grip and will also reduce the risk of wrinkling due to its thickness but... it further complicates installation and exacerbates issues with evenness of the final result, which means adding a lot of additional effort to the wrapping process!

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