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Disintegrating steering wheel

Don't let this happen to you. As I went out the door this morning, I
noticed with dread that I had left the driver side window partially
down. It had also rained overnight. 

I hop in, notice the wet arm-rest and window switches. Start her up,
usual 45 sec wait for the oil to get flowing again, and pulled out.
Except, my hands were sticking to the steering wheel. It felt like
someone had smeared tar all over the wheel. 

At the first stop light, I glanced down at my hands. They were covered
with black bits of crud. Absolutely disgusting, but I didn't have time
to try to figure this one out. I just kept driving, mindful of the hot
cup of coffee in my lap and trying to avoid brushing my pants against
the wheel. 

First thing I did this evening was to stop at the autoparts place and
get some leather cleaner. I started scrubbing with it. Oh, boy..that was
very scary. The rag I had turned the color of charcoal quickly. Still,
the wheel feels slightly tacky after a good 20 minutes or so of

I'm gonna give it another go, but I think I'm down to either replacing
the leather or buying a used wheel from a friend of mine. I hate those
cheapo-looking wheel covers, so that isn't an option. A new Momo or Audi
Sport wheel is out of the budget. 

I can't sew, so I'm going to give the local shoe and zipper repair guy a
call. He's a old-world type guy, in his late 60's. I figure if anyone
can handle it, he can. 

I highly recommend that people get out a leather cleaner/conditioner and
work their wheels every now and then. Mine clearly has suffered some
abuse in the last 175K miles. I doubt it has ever been cleaned. 

-Osman Parvez
89 200q 175K
Albany, NY