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How Long Does A Sim Racing Wheel Last?

What can be more important in your sim racing rig than your sim racing wheel? Not much, that’s for sure! The least you should know is how long that high-tech equipment will last, so read on to get an idea.

So, how long does a sim racing wheel last? The lifespan of a sim racing wheel is influenced by a lot of factors, such as how much you use it and what brand it is. The absolute minimum you should expect from a wheel is 3 years of use before you need to replace it.

This lifespan can be lengthened or shortened by a few different things because everybody is different, after all. I want to discuss those variables and other important things that’ll influence the lifetime you’ll get out of a sim racing wheel, so keep reading!

What Will Influence The Lifespan Of A Sim Racing Wheel?

In day-to-day life, we do a lot of mental gymnastics when we go to buy new appliances or clothes, oftentimes thinking about how long it’ll last. That’ll depend on a few factors, the biggest including how much you’ll use it, what the quality is, and which parts of that thing are prone to giving way first.

Probably the biggest factor above all others is how much you’ll be using your sim racing wheel. That isn’t just frequency of use, but the time spent sim racing per session, too. Spending a whole day using the wheel will induce more wear than two-hour race sessions, as an example.

I’m not telling you to hold back on enjoying sim racing to its fullest by having small sessions! It’s just something to consider when calculating how long your wheel will last, and a pretty essential thing to be aware of to boot.

With most warranties covering a product for 1 or 2 years, you really should expect the product to outlast that by a couple of years. Even looking at the minimum length of time, therefore, you should expect 3 years of use in your sim racing wheel; regardless of whether you spend every day sim racing or only occasional weekends.

Alongside the usage wear and tear on a wheel, you should also look at the brand and therefore quality of it, too. Companies that specialize in making sim racing gear will use high-grade materials and include a host of longevity features in their products when compared to budget brands, so you can expect a longer lifespan out of the former.

As an example, buying a wheel imported from China (e.g. using Amazon) may save you some cash in the short-term, but you’ll likely have to replace it much quicker than a named brand of racing wheel. This is due to those sorts of products not having required levels of high-grade materials and cheap electrical components, leading to a cheaper overall purchase price.

Imported sim racing wheels aren’t necessarily a bad thing, however. They just aren’t built to last as long as other brands, so make sure to do your research beforehand if you want to balance a well-budgeted wheel with good quality.

The last thing to look out for in a sim racing wheel are the areas you’ll find wear happening first. A lot of general products have these points of high wear and degradation that are easy to overlook, so it’s important to keep it in mind so you can be easier on some of the component parts.

On sim racing wheels, the places that are easier to accidentally break include the mounting system and buttons/ toggle-switches. If you have a wheel which has protruding parts compared to the rest of it, you can always expect these areas to be at risk of early breakages/damage.

Compared to the bulk of the wheel itself, those areas will give way quicker and as such, you should keep an eye on them and try to take care with them when sitting down to race and actually racing.

The Minimum Lifespan Of A Sim Racing Wheel

Truly, the minimum life of a sim racing wheel should easily hit the 3-year mark. In spite of how many different influencing factors there are for the lifespan of a wheel overall, this length of time is generous when you consider how long gaming systems and other electronics will last.

As with most furniture, appliances and electronics, sim racing wheels come with a warranty that will protect you, the buyer, from early failures and signs of wear. The extent of this warranty will depend on the company you purchase the wheel from, with some stretching as far as 2 years of coverage, and some not offering any at all.

A warranty is basically a company pledging their confidence in a product they’ve made. As such, it’s always heartening to see a long and inclusive warranty on anything; let alone a sim racing wheel which can be such a big expense and a huge part of your rig.

I’ve owned a few Fanatec products in my time, so I’m familiar with their warranty policy. They offer a 1-year warranty, during which time you can report failures and faults that come from poor manufacturing. It doesn’t cover general wear and tear, but it’s still a nice reassurance that you’ll receive a new racing wheel or a full refund if it’s broken/faulty when you get it.

Another big brand that offers sim racing wheel products, Logitech, offer a 2-year limited hardware warranty. This excludes ‘wear and tear’ as a reason to get a replacement or refund, but will cover you for any major manufacturing-based breakages during the time period of their warranty.

How To Extend The Life Of A Sim Racing Wheel

I’ve covered what things will affect a racing wheel’s lifetime, and the minimum you can expect, plus warranties. It’s also pretty important, therefore, to know how exactly you can make the most of your sim racing wheel by extending the time you can spend racing with it!

This all comes down to taking care of the wheel.

Taking some time to clean and wipe down the wheel rim every week or so will reduce the risk of embedded fingerprints and other lasting damages that will come from using your hands. Another good practice that I’ve found will work wonders is to keep the whole racing wheel free of dust, because it can gather dust pretty fast!

While it may seem harmless, dust can weasel its way between buttons and other fragile pieces of the wheel and cause them to seize up way before your 3-year minimum lifespan is anywhere close.

I’d also recommend, where possible, not to mount and re-mount your racing wheel. If you own a wheel such as Logitech’s Driving Force, it comes with its own built-in mount feature. The components of that mount are pretty fragile compared to the heft of the wheel and its base, so you’ll find it best to keep it grounded in one place when you can.

And as somebody who owns cats, let me tell you right now that you don’t want your furry friends sitting on or near your racing wheel! Cat fur gets everywhere and can embed deep into the mechanical plus electrical parts of your wheel. Not great.

How Long Do Cheap Sim Racing Wheels Last?

I understand the allure of cheaper products, especially when you’re just getting started in sim racing. Spending in excess of $100 or $200, oftentimes more, can seem pretty crazy, after all.

However, buying a budget wheel will have a distinct effect on how long you’ll be able to use it and all of its features. The quality of materials won’t be as high as premium, named brands, especially if imported from another country such as China. And another important factor is the short, limited warranties or lack of warranty altogether.

As such, budget wheels won’t last anywhere near the 3-year minimum I’ve come to expect from solid racing wheels. It would be worth doing some budgeting on price to see what would be more worth it; three different budget wheels of $70 each over the span of 3 years, or a $250 wheel that’ll last 3 years or longer.

Does A More Expensive Sim Racing Seat Last Longer?

Spending more money doesn’t always equal better quality; think of designer brands in everyday life. Sometimes, those brands just aren’t worth the extra cost when you can buy something that does the same job by comparison.

However, when it comes to products that will be in use or integral to a whole set-up, like in sim-racing, spending that little bit extra can guarantee a longer usage and more consistent usage time.

You would expect reputable brands to provide a higher build quality and nicer, more durable materials that are made to last, and that all-important warranty will likely be longer/ in place compared to budget seats.

In the case of sim racing wheel manufacturers such as ThrustMaster, Fanatec and Logitech, they all expect their wheels to be flawless and to provide maximum customer satisfaction. That’s why they’ve stayed so prominent in the sim racing industry for so long!

They all use very high-tech electronics and features that will guarantee a longer life, such as using brushless steel servo motors, so the least you should expect is 3 years of sim racing action.

Final Thoughts

There aren’t a lot of cases where a sim racing wheel doesn’t last at least 3 years, and if yours doesn’t or hasn’t, I’d recommend looking into brands like Fanatec or ThrustMaster. For a larger purchase to begin with, you’ll be getting a far more reliable, overall higher-spec’d sim racing wheel than budget counterparts.

I hope that this insight into what to expect from a sim racing wheel’s lifespan has helped you budget for a new one, or taught you how to take better care of your current one.