Steering wheel gets hot

The center of the steering wheel (where the airbag is located) on my 2004 Honda Accord LX gets unusually hot. The air bag was replaced due to a crash 9 months ago. Could there be a problem with the new airbag or the wiring? I’m worried that it could catch fire.


  1. I have been lurking here for about three years, and I have never posted a negative comment about another poster. However, look at the other posts from the first responder to evaluate the quality of that advice.

  2. If I had an “unusually hot” steering wheel I would get it fixed even if it did have an airbag. With the airbag, rather than catching fire, the risk is that it would go off by itself. The energetic materials in the airbag (and any associated electronics) SHOULD be safe with any temperature at which you can keep yout hand on the wheel, BUT a) the temperature inside the wheel is likely higher than on the surface; b) it’s not worth the risk.

I’m sure there is something wrong with the wiring in the wheel, either a short circuit (but why is it not blowing a fuse) or a “high resistance” connection (but what is drawing current all the time to keep it hot.

I also have a little bit of tangential professional experience with energetic materials (explosives) and efforts to make them safe. It has made me very cautious. There is no way I would drive that car if the steering wheel is “unusually hot”. Too bad you did not raise this issue, if it was happening back then, when the car was repaired 9 months ago.

NO??? How can you say that?? What is causing the heat??

I wouldn’t be driving a vehicle around with this problem. Get it checked asap.

Maybe you never noticed it before and it has always acted in this manner ? After accident repairs, many customers over analyze every aspect of their car not even realizing those atributes which existed before the accident as therefore being normal afterwords. Happens very often as a car ages gradually you get used to, and pay no attetion to, small quirks such as noises, feelings, and workings which are not related to, and not going to get fixed by the repairs. Just wondering if this might be that.

I don’t consider a steering wheel unusually hot to be normal. What could possibly causing it to become hot?? According to the OP the rest of the steering wheel isn’t hot. I do not consider this a normal situation.

There’s no way I’d drive it or park it in my garage. Get it checked out!

Well in you live in Florida, that wheel is going to be hot this time of year, but you indicated that the part that you are noticing as hot is the center part. Yea, you want to get that one checked. There are quite a few electrical things in there and you don’t want a problem there. It is going to take someone who knows what they are doing and has information specific to the 2004 Accord to check it out. I would do it sooner than later.

Good Luck

Any odor (particulary burning electricals) associated with the perception of heat?

learn SRS systems in depth,and you too,could say no,with vigor.

and know you can be spot on.

thats the best system on the car from a self check stand point.

Pull the fuse for the air bags until such time you can have the fault found and repaired.

The bag could activate and cause all kinds of havoc.

I wouldn’t put off getting it fixed as you won’t have any live air bags in case of a collision.

An amendment to Roadrunner’s advice: one by one, pull the fuses for anything electrical in the steering wheel (or maybe even nearby stuff like the turn signals). When you pull the fuse that makes the hot go away you will have useful info for diagnosing and fixing the problem.

Thanks for all the helpful comments. No, I don’t live in Florida. Only some parts of the area where the airbag is located are hot! Other parts of the steering wheel are not hot. This is even when the rest of the dashboard is relatively cool. Seems to point to some bad wiring/a bad connection. There is no burning smell. I had already stopped parking it in the garage. I will take it to the shop; I really don’t want to start pulling fuses. Again, thanks.