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Smoking steering wheel question


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Hey there fellow Ratsuners,


Since the rains here in California have subsided here & there, I took my wagon out for a couple of errands, etc. Miss her bad! Anyway, while stopped at a signal light, I noticed a faint plume of smoke rising from my steering column & slight smell of plastic. I zoomed home to check it out but it stopped. All the lights, horn, signals etc are working fine. I took a can of compressed air to clear out any debris that might be making strange contact in there & decide to keep an eye out & carry a fire extinguisher just in case. Well, it happened again today. slight smoke, then disappeared & everything still works. I'm wondering if I'm playing Russian Roulette by driving it.


I know I've got to figure it out before something tragic happens. My wagon is basically all stock...no aftermarket stereo/speakers, no new wiring, etc.


Anybody out there have a similar experience? Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Thanks in advance & hope y'all have a good day :confused:



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Um wow, no recent work done to the car?  This just seems random as all get out.  Does the smoke come out between the wheel and the column cover or is it farther back on the cover?

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Does your brake and turn signal lights share the same bulbs, ???  I think they do on the Goon maybe not the sedan. Your brake lights and signals 'go through' your steering column at the turn signal. So there is a make and break switch there when turning and definitely a load when braking. 


I would remove the steering wheel, and to be safe use a can of electrical contact cleaner to clean it out. It's unbelievable how much dust and human (or otherwise) hair gets trapped in there, cookie crumbs too! There are probably some contact areas that need a lubricating 'grease' but I don't know exactly what kind.... maybe the white lthium grease used on door strikers and hood latches? 

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Had the same thing happen and was related to the turn signal switch.  Too much current through a mediocre at best switch mechanism, burning the contacts and any dust/debris in its path.


I've used a product called Noalox to help grease & protect the switch.

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Had the same issue when I got my sedan. Turns out it was the ignition switch, wires not making proper contact.

I think Matt is talking about dielectric grease. It works wonders, just don't over do it. Before and after resistance readings could be mind blowing. I recommend it whether you have electrical issues or not.

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Thanks guys for your input. It's so great to have this resource to bounce issues off of. Here's a photo of where the little plume of smoke was coming from...0306171256_zpsn91196pz.jpg


I'll try your suggestions & post observations/results. Never removed the steering wheel before. I wanna make sure I do it right & hope not to screw up anything. Think I have. Schematic somewhere in my books that'll guide me.


Wish me luck!

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