Because of the strong demand, various vehicle workshops and services, primarily in Europe, have lately created the ability to switch a car’s steering wheel from the right to the left side. Why is this the case?
Only a few countries in the globe allow drivers to operate a vehicle on its left side with the steering wheel on the right, of course. An excellent illustration of this is the UK, where cars built with the steering wheel on the right are expressly intended for this location due to that matter and road legislation, but the converse is true for the rest of the countries.
Even though it is difficult to alter the steering wheel side from right to left, many individuals do it because of the low cost of the cars.
Changing the steering wheel from right to left is a common practice among car dealers, manufacturers, and other businesses looking to maximize their profits.
In the United Kingdom, it is a well-known truth that the cost of insurance for older vehicles keeps rising, therefore owners trade in their vehicles and buy new ones.
For a low price, auto dealers and companies buy vehicles in good condition and ship them to another country where the steering wheel is on the other side.
What cars can change the steering wheel from right to left?
It is only those automobiles that were made and sold in both right and left-hand drive configurations that can be converted. As far as I know, it’s not possible to switch the direction of the steering wheel on a car that was exclusively made with a right-hand drive.
Car brands, particularly popular models, were made and marketed in both forms of the majority of their models, though.
To switch the steering wheel from right to left, you’ll need a donor car, as previously explained. A reputable junkyard is an excellent bet for locating this vehicle.
It’s not easy to find a good car in a junkyard, so you’ll want to be thorough in your inspection and look over every part. Using this information, you’ll be able to locate a reputable auto dismantler.
What parts are needed to move the steering wheel from right to left?
Changing the steering wheel from right to left is a difficult process that necessitates numerous parts, most of which can be found in a junkyard.
Some of the donor car’s parts may be in better condition than those in your own car, while others may be in poorer shape. This is a downside of using a donor automobile.
If you don’t find all of the parts needed in one automobile, you’ll have to acquire more donor cars to finish the conversion. This is another drawback.
If you have a similar make and model of your vehicle, you’ll need the identical parts from a vehicle with the same engine and year of production as yours. You’ll need to find a similar vehicle with a left-hand steering wheel.
You’ll need the following:
- the dashboard, ie the outer housing, from a car with a steering wheel on the left;
- the metallic skeleton of the dashboard from an identical car to the steering wheel on the left;
- steering box from a car with a steering wheel on the left;
- the pipes from the brake pump and power steering, in some cases even the pump;
- complete pedal assembly from a car with the steering wheel on the left;
- wipe assembly, if the long wiper is on the right;
- headlights from a car with the steering wheel on the left;
- side mirrors, in some cases where they are different (the Volkswagen-Audi group has a small mirror on the passenger side);
- door faces or just the control panel of windows and electric mirrors;
- the front seats from a car with a steering wheel on the left;
- in some cases, the central armrest from a car with a steering wheel on the left;
- the flame retardant panel, the one that separates the engine from the car interior, if it does not come with the holes already made for both steering wheels;
- annexes on the board: block of lights, ornaments, air intakes, etc.
- the stops or just the fog stops.
The process of converting a right-hand-drive car to left-hand-drive
Specialized mechanics begin the laborious conversion process by removing the engine. With the engine out of the way, there will be a lot more room to work in.
Older cars have fewer electronics and electric lines, making it more difficult to remove the engine, but once it’s out, you can work on it much more easily.
The engine is disassembled to make installation of the steering column, braking pump, and even the steering rack and box easier, but the electrical system is the most critical component. There are additional hazards and costs involved in removing an engine and replacing it with a new one.
To get to the fireproof panel, the engine has to be dismantled. There is a partition between the driver’s seat and the engine compartment with this panel. These are only a few examples of German cars that use the identical panel for both right-hand and left-hand drive vehicles.
You’ll need a part from a left-hand-drive vehicle because other models have separate fireproof panels. New modifications are required for the steering column, pedal assembly, and electrical installation for this panel, which entails additional time and expenses.
This fireproof panel will need to be welded in place of the original because it will rust after a few years, therefore you will have to accept this risk.
According to the workshop that does this change, some shops will begin by removing the engine, while others will begin with the interior.
There is no set order in which the dashboard and dashboard frame, as well as the electric installation and central console, are removed from the inside of the car. Installation of LHD wiring and components like the central console and dashboard follows this.
Changing the steering wheel side necessitates the installation of a new electrical system. Due of the difficulty of accomplishing this, most workshops use the original electric set-up. The light block and the wiper lever, as well as all other wires running to the steering wheel, need to be stretched.
Some cables, such as the mirror wires that power the electrical window on the left, require extensions that are properly fitted, separated, and fastened.
As long as you don’t mind the front seats and don’t care about your driving comfort, the airbags will not be moved. Only if you care a lot about your driving comfort can you install the seat of your choice.
How long does it take to change the steering wheel from right to left?
If you want to convert your steering wheel, you’ll need to gather all of your necessary components, which is a time-consuming process.
It’s critical that you choose a car care provider that has performed this procedure before and offers a warranty for this service. A cable that is poorly installed or cut might cause the entire car to malfunction or cause a large number of faults to occur.
The car will obviously differ slightly from what was shipped from the manufacturer, but a good job can still be done.
Changing a steering wheel from the right to the left typically takes between six and ten days in specialized workshops. If you don’t have the appropriate parts, it could take a long time.
How much does it cost to change the steering wheel from the right to left?
In the end, the answer is dependant on the car’s brand and model. If your car is in the 10 to 12 year old range, you may expect to pay between $1,000 and $1,800 for the parts you need from a junkyard. If you’re interested in an automobile that’s in high demand for used components, the price listed here may be lower or more.
In addition, labor costs range from $550 to $800, although this price might rise to $1400 if the automobile is particularly challenging to convert. Offers range in price from $490 to $1100 on the market, with some focusing on specific makes and models.
Is it legal to drive a car that has the steering wheel moved to the left?
As long as the parts are removed and assembled by an authorized service, this method is legal in various countries. As a general rule, it’s best to check the laws in your area before doing so.
Is it worth switching to a left-handed steering wheel?
In the end, you’ll have to decide for yourself. In this essay, I have repeatedly stated that this is a difficult assignment, and few workshops are doing it correctly. These training sessions are hard to come by in most places.
A large number of auto parts are required for this procedure. Find a car with the same make, model, and year, but with the steering wheel on the right side of the vehicle. In order to find all of these parts in the same junkyard, you’ll likely have to hunt for another vehicle with a comparable make and model.
If you’re a seller and want to make more money, it’s worth switching the steering wheel side. The process may be arduous, but it is doable.