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1995 Olds Sierra SL

My husband told me that you are the EXPERTS! So, I’m going to run this by you and see what you think.

My Mom has a 1995 Olds Sierra SL. In October 2007, she was running the fan on high. Smoke started coming out of the steering column about where the wheel pivots. She took the car to her local mechanic and they said “smoke from dash concern was not found at this time. It is possible the turn signal switch or air bag clock spring could be concerns. Would have to disassemble steering column to test further.” As she was already spending almost $800.00 she decided not to do it.

After that, she did not run the fan on high and the smoke problem did not reoccur.

Yesterday, 7/11/08, we were coming home from a day trip and again, she turned the fan on high (the a/c was running). Smoke started coming out of the steering column. She immediately turned off the fan and I turned off the a/c and it stopped smoking.

What do you think is happening? Do we have a short? Your advice would be greatly appreciated as we do not have a reliable, trustworthy mechanic and don’t want to get taken by someone working on the car.

Thank you,


It definitely sounds like an electrical short. Since the dealer doesn’t have a clue (or, won’t), you need to find a shop/mechanic to take it to. You don’t know one now, so, ask around. You can scroll down this page, and click on Actual Car Info. Then, scroll down to Mechanics file, enter your zip code and the distance you’re willing to go. A number of shops/mechanics will display with comments from (usually) satisfied customers. Choose. Call. Discuss.

Smoke comming from overheated electrical wiring/systems has a very distinct long lasting odor (all mechanics know this odor) are your mechanics usuing their noses?Can you smell a odor even if you cant see any smoke? Are you sure what you are calling “smoke” is not water vapor? A mechanic would know the odor of burned wiring and tell you about it (it smells like money).What did you have repaired for $800.00?