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Smoking steering wheel

My daughter's 2002 Saturn L-200 emits a puff of smoke from the steering wheel area near the wiper switch only when she starts the car, which only lasts a few seconds then is gone. No one has ever heard of this happening, but a mechanic replaced the wiper switch. The problem was gone for about 3 weeks, and now is happening again intermittently. Does anyone have any idea what is causing this?
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Comments

  • edited April 2011
    I'm no expert, but I'd suspect a problem in the ignition switch or the wiring around it. Problems like this have been known to start car fires, so I'd suggest getting the car to a different mechanic quickly (and not parking in the garage in the meantime).
  • edited April 2011
    I agree 100%. If you see smoke there's a REAL danger of fire.

    Have someone check the ignition switch. ASAP. I'd replace it just to be on the safe side. You don't have to replace the lock cylinder, just the electrical switch.

    And don't park the car in the garage until it's fixed. You'd be amazed how many houses burn down because a car caught fire in an attached garage.
  • edited April 2011
    You need to get this car to a competent mechanic before the steering column catches fire. So many devices have power routed through the steering column that I won't bother to guess what's causing this, but if this were my daughter, I would have forbidden her from driving this car about three weeks ago. This can only get worse.
  • edited April 2011
    I agree with the previous answers. This vehicle should be inspected by a qualified mechanic. This is an inferno just waiting to happen.
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