How to Choose the Perfect Aftermarket Steering Wheel for a Subaru WRX STI?

When it comes to personalized modifications for your Subaru WRX STI, one of the most impactful changes you can make is swapping out the factory steering wheel for an aftermarket one. It’s a modification that not only enhances the visual appeal inside your car but also significantly improves your driving experience. The steering wheel is the connection between you and your vehicle. It’s where you feel the response of the car, making it a crucial part of your driving experience.

Before you rush to purchase the first aftermarket steering wheel you see, it’s important to understand the factors that influence your choice. Aftermarket, in this case, refers to any part or accessory that’s not sourced from the original car manufacturer.

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This guide takes you through the process of choosing an aftermarket steering wheel for your Subaru WRX STI. We will explore key factors such as the steering wheel size, material, design, and brand. So whether you’re a Subaru enthusiast looking for a sleek upgrade or a novice car owner searching for the perfect fit, this guide has you covered!

1. Steering Wheel Size

The size of your steering wheel significantly impacts how your car handles. The diameter and depth of the steering wheel influence the steering response and effort.

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Typically, a smaller steering wheel provides quicker response and turning, which is beneficial for high-performance driving or racing. However, it requires more effort and can be tiring on long drives. A larger steering wheel, on the other hand, requires less effort to turn but offers slower response.

The choice of steering wheel size for your Subaru WRX STI depends on your driving style and preferences. If you’re into aggressive driving or participate in track days, a smaller steering wheel might be ideal. For everyday driving or long trips, you may opt for a larger wheel for comfort.

2. Steering Wheel Material

The material of your steering wheel affects both its durability and grip. Common materials used in aftermarket steering wheels include leather, alcantara, and wood.

Leather steering wheels are popular due to their durability and comfortable grip. They’re easy to clean and maintain, and they age well. Alcantara, a synthetic material, offers an excellent grip and a luxurious feel. However, it can wear out faster than leather, especially without proper care. Wood steering wheels offer a classic look but may not provide the best grip, especially in wet conditions.

The choice of material ultimately depends on your personal preference, driving conditions, and the maintenance effort you’re willing to put in.

3. Steering Wheel Design

The design of your steering wheel can significantly enhance your car’s interior aesthetics. It’s an opportunity to express your personality and style.

Flat-bottom steering wheels have become increasingly popular in recent years. They provide more legroom, making it easier to get in and out of the car. This design is also beneficial for taller drivers or those who prefer a lower seat position.

In addition to shape, consider the color and stitching patterns. You can choose a color that matches your car’s interior or go for a contrasting color for a bold look. Stitching patterns not only add visual interest but also enhance grip.

4. Steering Wheel Brand

There are numerous aftermarket steering wheel brands available, each with their reputation and specialties. Some brands excel in producing racing-inspired steering wheels, while others focus on luxury or vintage designs.

Renowned brands like Momo, Nardi, and Sparco have a long history of producing high-quality steering wheels. However, they can be pricey. There are also less known brands that offer good quality at a lower price.

When choosing a brand, consider the quality, design, price, and customer reviews. Always ensure the brand you choose is reputable and provides products that comply with safety standards.

Choosing the perfect aftermarket steering wheel for your Subaru WRX STI can be an enjoyable process. Armed with the knowledge from this guide, you can confidently select a steering wheel that not only enhances your car’s interior but also elevates your driving experience.

5. Steering Wheel Installation

The process of steering wheel installation is another key factor to consider when choosing an aftermarket steering wheel. If you’re a DIY enthusiast, you might opt for a steering wheel that’s easy to install. However, it’s important to understand that the installation process involves dealing with sensitive components such as the airbag system and horn. A wrong move could lead to serious accidents or malfunction of these crucial systems.

Most aftermarket steering wheels come with installation instructions. However, these instructions might be complex and confusing for inexperienced individuals. Some steering wheels are plug-and-play, meaning they can be easily swapped with the factory wheel without any modifications. Others might require an adapter or hub to fit perfectly to your Subaru WRX STI.

Professional installation is highly recommended if you’re not confident about the process. A professional mechanic has the knowledge and tools to handle the installation correctly, ensuring your safety and the functionality of your car’s systems. This may come at an extra cost, but it’s worth the peace of mind it brings.

6. Steering Wheel Cost

The cost of an aftermarket steering wheel for your Subaru WRX STI varies widely depending on several factors. These include the brand, material, design, and ease of installation.

While it’s tempting to opt for the cheapest option, remember that you often get what you pay for. A low-cost steering wheel might not offer the quality, durability, or comfort you desire. It might also lack crucial features such as airbag compatibility or proper grip.

On the other hand, the most expensive steering wheels are not necessarily the best. They might have premium features that you don’t need or inflate their prices due to their brand name.

When considering the cost, factor in the potential extra expenses such as professional installation or the purchase of additional accessories such as a hub or adapter. Also, consider the longevity of the steering wheel. A high-quality, durable steering wheel could save you replacement costs in the long run.


Choosing the perfect aftermarket steering wheel for your Subaru WRX STI is a significant decision that influences your driving experience and the aesthetics of your car. From the size and material of the steering wheel to its design, brand, installation process, and cost, there are numerous factors to consider.

While the process might seem daunting, this guide has provided you with valuable insights to help you make an informed decision. Don’t rush your decision, take your time to research different options, consider your driving style and preferences, and always prioritize quality and safety.

By investing in the right aftermarket steering wheel, you can enhance your Subaru WRX STI’s interior, improve your driving experience, and express your personal style. Happy car customization!