Smoke from steering column

I have little puff’s of smoke coming from my steering column, and was wondering if anyone else had this problem or how hard it would be to fix myself.

I’m no expert, but this could be a problem with your ignition switch, which to my knowledge is very dangerous because it could set your car on fire. Don’t park in your garage until this is checked out.

When do you get the smoke? Right after starting the car, after it’s been running a while, or when using turn signals or another accessory?

The smoke seems to come at random i tried to make it smoke by turning my turn signals on and off, and also by starting it and sometimes it would and sometimes it wouldn’t

Are the little puffs of smoke accompanied by a cracking, snapping sound? Is there a whiff of ozone too? If these puffs are caused by electrical shorts this is serious.

If you keep driving the car you might want to consider putting a fire extinghiser in the passanger seat.

I’d Move The Driver’s Seat Back As Far As Possible. I’d Hate To Get A Surprise Upper-Cut Should The Air Bag Deploy.

Get r’ done, ASAP. As far as working on the steering column yourself is concerned, how does it look in your Saturn Service Manual ? Does it look like something that you can handle with the tools you have and your level of expertise ?


Is This Car Called A “Saturn L” ? What Is The Full Model Name And Model Year, Please.


This is likely to be an electrical fire in the making. Unless you want to risk losing the car to a conflagration, I would suggest that you drive it directly to a competent mechanic’s shop, and advise him to disconnect the battery immediately, so as to prevent a fire from consuming his shop.

As to fixing it yourself–and I say this with all due respect–if you have to ask this question, then the probable answer is, no. As but one example, do you have experience in disconnecting airbags so that they do not deploy when working on that area of the car?

This calls for someone who is a qualified mechanic. I would suggest that you take the car to either an independent mechanic, or possibly to a Saturn dealership–if one still exists in your area. Do not take it to Midas, Meineke, Monro, Sears, AAMCO, or any other chain operation unless you want to be overcharged for substandard workmanship.

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It is a 2002 L300

Its the multi-function switch, the one that handles lights and turn signals. It needs to be replaced.

Yes to most of the above, but dont drive it to the shop, have it towed.

I have a similar problem with a Toyota Sienna 2008. Toxic smoke coming out from the steering column. Took it to Toyota and they told me it was burning label on my exhaust that sits 3ft behind the drivers seat and has been there for 5 months?
Please help

@Cjm07 since you have a different problem and vehicle than the 8 year old original poster, I would recommend you start a new thread so we make sure the answers you are getting are pertaining to your problem, not the OP’s problem

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I had the EXACT THING HAPPEN last summer.
Supposedly was a short in my air bag
then a year later, yesterday, a little “dust” came out.
Might be same
being I have been having issues sometimes starting the car, I will have my guy check the ignition switch too
But the little stream was from the airbag short

I hope the original poster, and you, don’t wait nine years to get something like this fixed. I wouldn’t even drive the car to a mechanic after seeing smoke come out of my steering column, particularly because I’d like to not burn to death. I’d have the car towed.

I would like to add, for future reference, if you’re going to risk your life driving a car like this to a shop, I’d do it with everything that is wired through the steering column shut off, such as the lights, windshield wipers, cruse control, etc., which means only driving it during the day when it’s not raining.

…and I’d keep a fire extinguisher close at hand.

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I have a 2002 Continental and I’ve seen smoke coming from steering column. I would say in the 10 yrs I have the car I’ve seen it maybe 10 times. It has no odor whatsoever. I’ve never had it checked out cause of how rare it happens. I assumed it was AC related

Well , you are lucky that your vehicle did not catch fire . And no the AC has nothing to do with smoke coming out of the steering column .

You’re not a priest are you? Holy smoke!

Get this car to a shop pronto and get that switch replaced!

If you continue to ignore it, I hope you’ve put your affairs in order.

Here, maybe this will help: