Guide 2nd Gen CX-9 Steering Wheel Removal

2016 CX-9 GT
This is a rough guide on removing the steering wheel on a 2nd gen CX-9. This may apply to other Mazda models as well. I’ve now taken it off twice. Once to wrap the wheel in nicer leather and once to wrap the chrome in black vinyl. Other than those two reasons or to replace a broken part, I’m not sure why you’d want to.

Tools needed:
- small flat head screwdriver
- #1 Phillips head screwdriver
- #2 Phillips head screwdriver
- 21 mm socket with short extension and matching ratchet


1. Disconnect the battery. You’ll have your head very close to the steering wheel airbag and you do not want that to go off. Other vehicles have a steering wheel lock. The CX-9 does not. That means you don’t need the car on to turn the steering wheel. We will be turning the wheel quite a bit in the next step so this is a good thing.

2. This is absolutely the hardest part. I could not get any pictures with the steering wheel on because the holes are small and my phone is too big. Anyway, there are three small holes with metal bars in them that need to be pushed in order to release the airbag. You will need to turn the steering wheel so the holes are at the top of the column and release them one by one. Here are the locations:

And the bottom one pushed in with the airbag already off so you can see what needs to happen:

Here’s what two of the holes look like. I couldn’t get the third hole even with the wheel off. You can see how difficult this would be with the steering wheel on.

3. Once the airbag is off, use your small flathead to gently pry the black clips up off the orange and yellow airbag clips. You’ll also need to disconnect the horn connector.

4. Next, you’ll need to remove the 21mm bolt that holds the steering wheel on the column. I usually turn the steering wheel until the tires are straight just so I know exactly how the steering wheel goes back on. You’ll need to hold the steering wheel with one hand and use your ratchet with the other. I don’t know the torque spec here but I don’t think it’s very high because it was very easy to break free.

5. Disconnect the white connecter from the clock spring and the steering wheel is free of the column.

6. The steering wheel controls and the lower airbag marker all just pull off the wheel. If you want to dismantle further to wrap the steering wheel or replace broken plastic pieces, there are two #2 Phillips head screws that need to be remove lid and then the back plastic comes off.

7. I didn’t get a picture but if you need to replace some of the steering wheel controls, flip the assembly over that holds the steering wheel controls and remove the 4 #1 Phillips head screws. This can be done for either side or both sides.

8. Reverse the steps to reassemble. Make sure to line the steering wheel up exactly as it was when removed.
Same procedure for the 2021 CX-5 to remove the steering wheel?

Would like to install paddle shifters on mine.
I assume it is pretty similar if not exactly the same. I’ve taken apart a steering wheel on a Ford, Chevy, Toyota, and now Mazda and they are all pretty similar. The Mazda was the easiest as those metal pins to release the airbag just need to be pushed instead of the hook-and-pull on the other ones

Edit: @youri posted a link to a better thread for your specific need below.
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