How to Install a Steering Wheel in a 94 Kia Sephia

Swapping out the steering wheel on the 1994 Kia Sephia means not only that you must remove the steering wheel, but that you must first disarm the air bags to remove the wheel. Of course, once the wheel of your dreams is in place, you'll have to re-arm the airbag system. Because of the presence of airbags, the task is fraught with that peril and is not for the inexperienced avocational mechanic.

List of Items Needed

  • Adjustable wrench
  • 5/16-inch socket
  • Steering wheel puller
  • Torque wrench

    Disarm the Airbags

  1. Disconnect both battery cables using an adjustable wrench, removing the black negative cable first.

  2. Turn the vehicle's headlights on. Allow the car to sit undisturbed for more than 30 minutes -- with the headlights on -- to allow the backup power unit for the airbags to fully discharge.

  3. Turn the wheels so they are straight ahead. Turn the ignition key to the "Lock" position in the ignition switch and remove the key. Lift the hood and raise the support rod to it.

    Remove the Wheel

  1. Locate the four retaining bolts on the back side of the steering wheel. Remove the bolts with a 5/16-inch socket.

  2. Remove the air bag unit -- called the air bag module, it's the padded center of the wheel -- from the steering wheel. Unplug the air bag module's blue and orange SRS connectors, found on the clock-spring assembly on the rear of the air bag module.

  3. Remove the air bag module from the car completely. Do not leave the air bag module in the car. When holding the airbag keep it aimed away from your body at all times.

  4. Remove the lock nut from the steering wheel shaft, using an adjustable wrench. Install a steering wheel puller onto the steering wheel. Turn the center bolt of the wheel puller clockwise to remove the wheel from the tapered steering shaft.

    Install the New Wheel

  1. Press the new steering wheel onto the tapered steering shaft. Thread the lock nut onto the shaft. Tighten the lock nut to between 29 and 36 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

  2. Turn the air bag module so the air bag, the surface visible when the wheel is installed, faces away from you.

  3. Connect the blue SRS connectors coming from the steering column into the connector on the back of the air bag module. Because the connector is keyed to fit the blue SRS connector only, the connector will slide in with an audible "click" to indicate it has seated fully.

  4. Plug in the orange connector for the horn. It will click, just as the blue connector did. Turn the module over so that it faces upward and set it into the steering wheel, without catching the wiring harness between the wheel and the air bag module.

  5. Thread the four bolts through the back of the steering wheel and into the air bag module, using your fingers. Tighten the bolts to between 10 and 12 foot-pounds with a torque wrench.

    Re-Arm the Airbags

  1. Reconnect the battery cables, connecting the positive cable first.

  2. Turn the ignition key so that the ignition switch is in the "On" position.

  3. Inspect the instrument panel and ensure that the air bag light remains lighted for between four and six seconds before going out.

Tips and Warnings

  • When removing the wheel from the tapered shaft, do not -- under any circumstances -- succumb to the urge to tap the back of the wheel with a hammer.

© Demand Media 2011