You may have seen drivers using a manual steering wheel in an automatic car. It looks like they are struggling to turn the wheel, and it’s not very efficient. So can you use a manual steering wheel as an automatic too? These questions and more will be answered in this article.
To answer the big question: It is indeed possible to use a manual steering wheel as an automatic steering wheel too. However, you must know that a few changes would have to be made to and in your vehicle to enable it to continue running smoothly without any issues.
Just so you know, if you want to fix a manual steering wheel in your automatic car, you cannot treat it as a DIY project. You need to take your car to a professional so the right processes are followed and you eliminate some dangers when using the car.
Are steering wheels universal?
With the answer and explanations given in the previous paragraphs, I sure do need to clarify something! Steering wheels are no longer universal. This means you cannot just decide to buy any steering wheel on the market and have the existing one changed just because you think it is that easy.
You can therefore not use manual steering as an automatic too without making some modifications. The steering wheel houses several controls. Among other things, the airbag hookups, console connections, audio connections, and phone connections are different on each steering wheel. Because these controls are customized by the manufacturer, you cannot just change your steering wheel like you would a flat tire.
Even when left to the professional, fitting a manual steering wheel in an automatic car is a complex and tedious task.
Differences between manual and automatic steering wheels
Even though steering wheels seem to be the same, there are slight differences that exist between manual and automatic steering wheels. These subtle changes make a big difference in how each type of steering wheel functions.
1. Power steering
First off, all cars have power steering, but the level of power assist varies from car to car. The system also requires slightly different amounts of pressure to turn the wheel at low speeds and high speeds.
Automatic steering wheels have a lower power assist than manual steering wheels. They also require less pressure to turn the wheel at low speeds.
The main difference between the two types of steering wheels is that automatic steering wheels have sensors that detect when the car is turning so it can provide the correct amount of power assist.
Manual steering wheels do not have these sensors. This means that the driver has to provide the correct amount of pressure to turn the wheel at all times.
3. Power assist
Another difference between manual and automatic steering wheels is that manual steering wheels have a button that allows the driver to turn off the power assist. This button is usually located on the steering column.
Automatic steering wheels do not have this button. This is because the power assist is always on and as such doesn’t need to be turned off.
4. Buttons and switches
The buttons and switches on manual and automatic steering wheels are also different. Automatic steering wheels have buttons for the cruise control, audio system, and phone. They also have a switch that controls the power assist.
Manual steering wheels do not have these features. Instead, they have a button that turns off the power assist and a switch that controls the headlights.
Benefits of using the manual steering wheel in automatic cars
There are several benefits of using manual steering in automatic cars. Some examples are:
The first benefit of using the manual steering wheel in automatic cars is that it is usually lighter than the automatic steering wheel. This is because manual steering wheels do not have all the buttons and switches that are found on automatic steering wheels which adds extra weight and is sometimes not comfortable to use
The price of the manual steering wheel is also usually cheaper than the automatic steering wheel. This is because manual steering wheels are simpler in design and do not have as many features as automatic steering wheels.
With just a few dollars you can purchase a manual steering wheel from any car dealership shop or a car parts store.
The manual steering wheel can also be customized to your liking, unlike the automatic steering wheel which is usually not customizable. You can add racing stripes, and decals or even change the color of the manual steering wheel to match the color of your car. This is not possible with automatic steering wheels.
5. Better resale value
The manual steering wheel also has a better resale value than the automatic steering wheel. This is because the manual steering wheel is seen as a performance option and many car enthusiasts are willing to pay more for a car with a manual steering wheel.
On the other hand, the automatic steering wheel is seen as a luxury option and is not as popular with car enthusiasts. This means that the automatic steering wheel does not have as much resale value as the manual steering wheel.
Factors to Consider before using manual steering in automatic cars
A friend of mine prefers to drive a manual car. She once said that even if she bought a “modern” car, she would have loved for it to be a manual car. So, here is a piece of good news for her and anyway else like her for that matter.
It is possible to convert an automatic transmission into a manual transmission. However, it is a complex task that should be left to a professional. You will also need to consider certain factors before making the conversion.
1. Make and model of car
The make and model of your car will determine how the transmission from automatic to manual will be done. Newer vehicles have special computer chips so you would have to convert the actual mechanics as well as the computer components.
2. Components for replacement
For the conversion of automatic to manual transmission, several components that rely on the automatic processes need to be changed. One of such replacements is the brake pedal which will be replaced with a complete manual brake and clutch installation.
A separate bell housing, clutch mechanism, and hydraulic or manual clutch system will need to be created and the drive shaft may also need to be replaced.
Since the conversion is extremely complex and should not be done as a DIY project. Thus, it requires experience, knowledge, and skill. This means you will need to visit a transmission shop to get the job done well.
We can all agree that this means that if you are looking to change just the steering wheel, it is not as complex or as expensive. On the other hand, if the intention is to change the entire system, then it becomes more complex and costly though not impossible.
In all honesty, both the manual and automatic steering wheels may look the same or similar at first glance. However, they are a tad different in certain aspects. For example, the manual steering wheel is seen as a performance option by car enthusiasts and therefore, has a better resale value. On the other hand, the automatic steering wheel is usually not customizable and is seen as a luxury option.
In the end, it all comes down to personal preference. If you want a manual steering wheel because you think it looks cool or gives the car a more sporty feel, then go for it! There is nothing wrong with that. However, if you want an automatic steering wheel because you think it is more convenient or easier to use, then that is perfectly fine too. Ultimately, the choice is up to you!
Just be aware that some changes would have to be made to your car, and it’s best to leave it to a professional.
Thanks for reading!