Miata Steering Wheel Replacement

by Lester Seal ( apex@miata.net )


An air bag is an explosive device, and should be given the respect of one.

These directions are for information only. Removal of the steering wheel involves working with the airbag. This procedure should only be performed by a qualified mechanic. The author, Miata.net, Mazda, the Miata Club of America, and Eunos Communications are not responsible for any damage or injury caused by use of these procedures.

Tools needed


  1. Remove the negative cable from the battery (10mm wrench).
  2. Remove the panel under the steering wheel (2 phillips screws on the bottom edge).
  3. Disconnect the clock spring connectors (large blue and orange connector). First the orange connector has to be disconnected (there is a clip on the side), then the blue connector is disconnected (the clip is in the middle and is covered by the orange connector when connected).
  4. Put key into ignition switch and unlock steering column so the steering wheel can turn. Locate and remove the 4, 10mm nuts on the back side of the steering wheel (these nuts hold the air bag to the steering wheel). Lift the air bag off the wheel. You will notice it has a cord attached between it and the wheel, loosed the cord from the steering wheel and remove. Pull the orange and blue connector from the clip in the wheel and disconnect (the same way as the clock spring connector). Put air bag to one side.
    Caution: When carrying a live air bag module, make sure the trim cover is pointed away from your body to prevent personal injury in the event of an accidental deployment. When placing a live air bag module on any surface, always face the trim cover upward to reduce the motion of the module if it is accidentally deployed.
  5. Center steering wheel, and mark the stud of the shaft (inside of the nut) with the magic marker so you know where the straight ahead position is when the wheel is removed (I place a mark from the dimple in the center of the shaft, vertically to the edge of the shaft). Remove the 21mm nut. Remove the wheel (a rocking motion with one hand opposite the other on the wheel, pulling toward you at the same time should get it loose). Note the position of the clock spring, there is 2 pointer protrusions, they fit into the steering wheel, and should be in a vertical up and down position. There is also a marker at the 12 o'clock position. Try not to move the clock spring around or it will have to be reset (centered). The directions for centering the clock spring are located on the unit.
  6. Now it is just a matter of installing the new wheel, being sure the clock spring protrusions line up with the holes in the wheel, and the wheel is centered with your mark on the shaft. The torque specification is 29-36 ft-lbs. Reverse the removal directions for installation. Do not forget to attach the cord on the air bag to the steering wheel.

Authors notes: Working for a dealership, I have had to remove many air bags from cars. The first time was some what scary, but after a few times I came to realize, the way the wiring is designed with the special connectors, it becomes a fool proof procedure. Many air bags get stolen from cars with no apparent discharges, and the thieves do not take the precaution of disconnecting the battery. When you get the air bag out, put it down somewhere safe, and don't play with it. I have not actually replaced a Moss wooden wheel yet, if there are any pertinent facts that need revising please E-Mail me at apex@miata.net.

Lester Seal.