Why Is Smoke Coming From Steering Wheel?

One of the scariest things a car owner can experience is the fire incident. They can not only be life-threatening but can burn the car down to ashes in no time! It can happen in several ways, like smoke coming from steering wheel. There can be many reasons for that to happen. A short circuit in the combi switches to simply friction between the steering parts.
There is no need to worry if that happens to you, the solutions for this problem are very simple and can go a long way in saving your life. Let us understand them one by one.

Why Do You See Smoke Coming From Steering Wheel?

An electrical short inside the steering column, which is already damaged, could lead to a fire, or worse. It is important to examine this problem. Here are the common causes for this problem-

1. A Short Combi Switch In The Steering

The combination switch is a switch assembly that controls steering electrical functions. Used to control the turn signals, main headlights/beams, and wipers. The combination switch controls several functions, important to safely operate the vehicle. Shortening of it can cause combustion and smoke. It is a compromise in safety. A bad combination switch will produce smoke while driving.

2. A Hell Lot Of Friction!

The steering column has many moving parts inside. It is basically a component that is responsible for many car functions, mainly steering the car. The steering column has specific lubrication points, which ensures a smooth working order. Sometimes due to age or rusting, the lubrication dries up in the steering column and leads to metal to metal contact.

While you will definitely notice heavy steering, in cases of heavy vehicles, it can cause the steering column to produce smoke if not attended on time.

3. Installing Junk Accessories In The Car

Vehicle safety experts mention that vehicle owners must be more careful when it comes to installing unnecessary and non-approved smart gadgets. It can cause the overloading of electrical circuits. Bad car gadgets can be a reason behind the smoke coming from steering wheel.

4. A Failing Airbag Unit

It can be surprising for many but it is true. An airbag system in the car is basically an explosive device. Sometimes it can ignite itself in a nonperfect manner. A half ignited airbag system can produce a lot of smoke from the steering wheel. The main reason for this to happen is due to age and electrical issues. 

How To Remove Smoke Smell From Car?

When this problem happens, you should have a method full approach to eliminate the source and cause of the smoke. here are few essential steps that you should follow-

1. Identify The Real Reason First

The first step in eliminating the problem is to identify the main cause of the problem itself.  you should identify that whether the smoke is coming due to an electrical overload/failure. Or it is due to some other non-electric-related issue. A bad diagnosis will leave the problem untouched and can be life-threatening. 

2. A Thorough Electrical Checkup

The most fundamental to a vehicle’s operation is its electrical system. It gives power to an array of parts including the alternator, starter, and battery. Each vehicle’s steering column has a lot of electrical parts. They can cause a short. Let a trained electrician deal with the problem and go ahead accordingly.

3. Replace Worn Out/Shorted Parts

If the cause of smoke coming from steering wheel is due to some worn-out part or a part that is shortened, then you should replace them. Parts like clock spring, combination switches can fail due to age. Also, it is better to replace them rather than repair them as repair can not guarantee a permanent fix.

4. Carry Out General Maintenance

The maintenance related to the steering column should be carried out at the required specific interval. If the steering column has dried out then it can lead to a lot of friction. It must be greased or lubricated with the specific stuff. The steering column is also necessary to maintain mood driving operation. 

5. De-Clutter Your Car

While it is cool to have those neon lights running beneath your car, but it can be a death sentence to your car’s electrical system. So it is better to remove out all the junk accessories. If you want to go no for accessories, then please installed the manufacturer-approved stuff for the accessories that are reliable and of standard. 

How Dangerous Can Smoke Coming From Steering Be?

In plain and simple words, this situation is very dangerous. Smoke coming out from the steering column signifies combustion is happening from inside the car and the fire is about to start. While fuses can save you some time, but it is not recommended that you should linger on with this problem. 

You should, as soon as possible get this problem attended to before something serious happens. Many lives are lost around the year due to car electrical fires. You definitely don’t want to be a part of the list.  Apart from that, this issue can burn up your car to grow. 

How Much It Costs To Fix A Smoking Steering?

While the problem itself is very serious, thankfully you do not have to spend a whole lot on it. To begin with, you can simply toss out that junk car accessory for free by yourself! If there are some electrical issues, then cos can be in the range of 50-300$. A new part can be needed like a clock spring or a combination switch, then it can cost in the range of 400$.

The basic maintenance is required with the steering column, then it should not cost you more than 100$. Also, you can explore plenty of second-hand car parts.


In case you experience smoke coming from steering wheel, the most important lesson for you is that you should get it repaired as soon as possible. This problem is life-threatening and it should not be ignored.  The solution for this problem is very simple and you should not be discouraged, as there is no potential high cost involved. If you still have any questions then comment down below. 

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