Question Hello, when i started my car (dodge sx 2.0 2004) today there was a non-stop ticking sound and a small amount of smoke coming from the steering column. The smoke only lasted for about a min. What could this be and what would the cost of repair be? thanks for your time.
Answer Hi Nicole,
There are many switches and wires that carry current on the steering column. My suspicion is that there was a short circuit which allowed current to flow directly from a 12 volt wire to metal that was grounded (direct return of the current to the battery). That would overheat the wire and cause smoking. The clicking sound may have been the turn signal relay, so the turn signal wiring may be shorted out. The best way to tell would be to try every one of the switches/devices on the column to see if one of those is not working.
The most common wiring break down is a part called the "clockspring" which is a flexible connection between the column and the switches on the steering wheel (horn, airbag, cruise control, etc.) and any other switches on the steering wheel. So check all those devices for function or not, and notice if the airbag warning light on the instrument cluster is "on". Also try all the devices controlled by on levers of the steering column (turn signals, etc.).
Let me know what you learn and we'll go from there.
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