Automotive Column 34 Column Smoke
Syndicated Newspaper Column
Smoke is never anything to play around with . If you see smoke always remember safety first.
CAR QUESTIONS TAKEN FROM
OUR WEEKLY TALK RADIO SHOW
Dear Motor Medics,
I drive a 1994 Buick Regal with 110,000 miles and it felt just broke-in, but lately my feelings about the car are leaning more towards just plain broken. I have not had to do much more than general maintenance to the car, oil, coolant, transmission fluid changes and tires are about it. In the last six months it’s been bigger things like starters, alternators and wiper motors. I’m beginning to wonder where it will all stop. The latest failing item that has me writing to you because I can’t duplicate it for my local shop is smoke that comes from my steering column by the steering wheel. It has happened three times at random. I am worried that the car may catch fire. Do you have any ideas or should I just sell it?
Karen in Bennington, Vermont
We can help. Older cars can be great if they’ve been well maintained, but eventually all will need something. It sounds like you are just in a spell of breakdowns that hopefully will pass. As for the smoke I suspect that you have and issue with the turn signal switch. This was a common area for a breakdown of the contacts that causes a hotter than normal condition resulting in the grease that coats the contacts smoking. I have never seen one catch fire but you need to have it and the wiring checked right away. I hope this helps you out.
Take care, the Motor Medics
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Advice given by the Motor Medics is for entertainment only. Each problem is different and requires different approaches and answers given here are opinions and just one possibility. Always follow all recommended safety procedures and consult with your own qualified technician before attempting repairs of any kind.