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1997 BMW 325 smoking steering column

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1997 bmw 3 series has smoke coming from steering column

You have an electrical short that is trying to burn your car to the ground. Stop driving it, now, and have it towed to a shop that can investigate and solve the problem. This is dangerous in many ways so please park it until it can be diagnosed.

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If you have an electrical fire in the car, you will not be able to see or breathe. I had this happen to me with a tractor-trailer. I pointed the rig at an empty field, pulled the Maxi- Brake and bailed out. Luckily I got only bumps and bruises, scrapes and cuts.

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I agree with this. I’d also disconnect the battery (the negative battery cable) in the meantime.

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Do not park this in the garage or close to your home unless you disconnect the battery.
Then have it towed to a shop that can solve your problem.

Yosemite