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Steering wheel extensions

The Honda I am considering buying is used and the steering wheel is too far away, does not telescope. If I move the seat closer, my legs don’t fit. I have seen steering wheel extender kits sold at racing equipment websites. They appear to be spacers and might need a hub kit, whatever that is.

Does anyone know if this is safe to do? And would local car repair places be able to do this modification?

I can’t imagine that it will be much fun to drive long distances having to reach that far for the wheel.

A steering wheel kit that is made for racing cars is not likely to have provisions for an air bag. Do you really want to eliminate that life-saving device?

Also, I believe that it is unlawful to remove factory-installed safety equipment, making it difficult or impossible for the car to pass a state safety inspection, and as a result you could not register the car. All-in-all, I would recommend that you buy a car that fits you in the first place, rather than using after-market devices to make it fit you.

I concur with VDC. In addition to affecting airbag function, changing the position of the steering wheel along the column axis could also affect the area of projection of the bag.

Have you shopped a model with adjustable pedals ? Is the distance acceptable then ? This may be something you’ll just have to get used to, and I bet you will after driving for a few weeks. If the air bag is too close to you , it can injure you badly instead of helping in a crash. In Nascar the closeness of the steering wheel allows the driver to utilize more bicep muscles to wrestle the car around for four hours but in a passenger car you don’t want the wheel so close.

No, it will not be safe to do. The vehicle was crash-tested based upon an occupant maintaining a proper distance from the steering wheel. There is a certain amount of stretch in the belts to allow the belt to decelerate you during a frontal collision. If you are too near the steering wheel, the seat belt may not prevent you from hitting it. Or you may be positioned too close to the airbag for safety during deployment. You do not want an airbag deploying against your chest.

If any shop would do this, it would be a mobility/handicap/accessability mod shop who will know the DOT specs. If you’re a short torso-long legged person and really must adapt then check out the shops whom you’d normaly think just do vans and limos, they do much more for adaptation and stay within the safety specs.

Thanks for your replies. I don’t think that year model has a steering wheel air bag. The reason I am trying to make this work is that there are very few other good options for someone who wants a lot of cargo space with a flat floor in that price range. I am currently driving a very old pickup with a cap and want that kind of cargo space, but inside accessible.

Which model year is this mysterious Honda?

The model is 2003. And I called the Honda service dept to find out the salesman was wrong…there is an airbag in this steering wheel. Maybe all the steering wheels now are too far away, it seems a fairly common complaint, and all having to do with the distance of the driver from the airbag. Guess they think that is more important than driver comfort (and safety) in having to reach so far for the wheel. Arms straight out to reach the top of the wheel. Or holding on to the bottom of the wheel which has less control in a dangerous situation, seems to me.

Am driving an old 95 pickup with no steering wheel airbag.

Maybe I am doomed to this steering wheel on all vehicles now because of the airbag. Curses! If there are seatbelts, why do we need a steering wheel airbag, which is basically a balloon. Can a balloon stand up to metal and plastic sharp edges in a crash?

Yes, car salesmen rarely seem to know much about the cars that they are selling, so this mistake doesn’t really surprise me.

As to the value of the airbag, they really do make a difference in surviving a crash, even if the person is properly belted in–and since most people do not actually tighten the lap portion of their belt sufficiently and/or wear it too high on their abdomen, the airbag can definitely help to mimimize injuries from a crash. Incidentally, that Honda also has side airbags that deploy from the front seatbacks in order to help protect you in the event of a side impact.

Driving position is very important with airbags. DO NOT grip the top of the steering wheel!
If you are gripping the top of the wheel when the bag deploys, your hands will be driven from the wheel into your face. In effect, the airbag will cause you to punch yourself in the face simultaneously with both hands, thus increasing injuries to both your face and your hands.

When driving an airbag equipped car, the wheel should be gripped at–preferably–the 4 o’clock/8 o’clock positions, or alternatively, at the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions.

And, the airbag is more than a mere balloon. It is actually a very sturdy composite that will cushion you properly for the milisecond that it is inflated. Do not believe the Hollywood movie versions that picture the airbag staying inflated after impact.

Just as the actual impact takes a milisecond, the airbag inflates and deflates in miliseconds. In the aftermath of a crash, the vast majority of drivers do not even recall that the bag deployed. When shown the evidence–of the flaccid, deflated bag lying on the steering wheel, they are usually incredulous because the airbag deployed and then deflated so fast that they weren’t even aware of it. The speed of its deployment and deflation makes your concern about perforation by sharp edges invalid.

I think you would be better off finding a car that fits you better than trying to modify it. Pedal extenders are one thing for short legs, but the steering wheel would be something else. You might try the Acura instead of Honda. Acuras have the telescoping wheel as standard equipment and virtually the same car.

The steering wheel location is indeed a function of air-bag design. But cars of different designs are able to locate the wheel closer to the driver without compromising air-bag function or safety. There are models, mostly American made, that still have telescoping steering wheels. Drive a Crown Vic or Grand Marq even if you would not be caught dead in one. At least you will know what a proper, comfortable seating position feels like…