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The case of the malodorous steering wheel.
March 10, 2010 11:04 AM   Subscribe

My steering wheel smells bad. I have no idea what caused this. How can I correct it?

It smells like mold or maybe rust. Unsure. But it makes my hands smell after my commute. I can pick up the smell anytime my hands get near my face, and it lingers for 1-3 handwashings. WTF car? Any ideas to clear this up?
posted by cirrostratus to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
 
Easy answer: get a steering wheel cover.
posted by brainmouse at 11:07 AM on March 10, 2010


Is it a leather steering wheel? Soft-ish rubber/plastic? Hard plastic? How old is the car? Is it visibly stained? Does it sit in the sun a lot (so that the material may be degrading because of heat)? A steering wheel cover might do the trick. So might a good cleaning. But it depends on the material of the wheel and the reasons for the stink.
posted by The World Famous at 11:11 AM on March 10, 2010


Sounds like the material is degrading. The World Famous lists a number of reasons why that might happen. It's also possible Jon Voight used to own the car.
posted by Babblesort at 11:13 AM on March 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This happened really badly on my old car's pleathery steering wheel, and it really was astounding how that stink would stick to your hands. I went with a fleecy cover. I really do think the surface material was actually degrading, based on the feeling on my hands that went with the stink, and the general breakdown of other surfaces in the car (it had 14 Texas summers on it, so pretty much everything was disintegrating).
posted by Lyn Never at 11:40 AM on March 10, 2010


Yup, either throw out yr current cover or get yourself one. They're easy to change/install.

And no, I have Jon Voight's old car.
posted by nevercalm at 11:46 AM on March 10, 2010


First: palm salsa.
Second: I agree with the above: cover up the steering wheel. Attempting to use any cleaners or solvents will only add to the now-complicating, multi-layered smell penetrating your steering wheel. The smell will worsen. It will be like a pearl, accreting layer upon layer of aroma, but unlike a beautiful oyster pearl, it will be like human pearls that are tonsoliths.

Lastly: stop smelling your hands. The physical act of putting one's hand(s) to one's face can only be associated with foul odors. The moment you decide to stop smelling your hands or fingers is the moment your life will take a very small, but permanent, turn for the better. I'm serious. If you don't believe me, stand in front of a mirror and look at yourself smelling your hand, or better yet: ask a friend to smell their hand.

I first learned of this "secret" a number of years back. There was this girl named Whitney, and she was beautiful: she smelled of lilacs; her fair skin bore no blemishes; the whole world listened for her sighs. It was theorized that the large bowel of her gastrointestinal tract ended in a bright, white light.

She knew more Star Trek trivia than any of my friends, or me. This aroused us.

In the spring of the final year of my undergraduate studies, I was walking across campus when I spied her sitting on the steps of the English hall. As usual, she was reading a small book. It was probably Victorian. She liked that kind of stuff: wisty, Romantic, torrid, secretive emotion. She also liked chalupas.

Anyway, as I walked by she put her hand to her face. I was about to bless her, but heard no sneeze. Then she turned her hand over, palm up, and held it to her face again.

It was at that moment that I learned that no beauty is invulnerable. Though her face betrayed no emotion, there was only one thing she could have been thinking: "whatthefuckisthatSMELL?" For had she applied some hand cream, or perfume, or had angels bestowed upon her a goddamned garland of roses, we would have otherwise fallen in love when she extended her arm and held her hand before me. I would have accepted it, and pulled her into a deep embrace. We would have kissed, and made love in the bright sun of that spring day.

Instead, she put her fingers to my nose and said "dude, it smells like Taco Bell."
posted by herrdoktor at 1:22 PM on March 10, 2010 [18 favorites]


Seriously, how did I not think of a steering wheel cover before?

Oh and thank you, herrdoktor, for sending me down that word journey.
posted by cirrostratus at 4:33 PM on March 10, 2010


Taste it!
posted by crabintheocean at 8:16 PM on March 10, 2010


Forget the steering wheel cover. Smear some Taco Bell on there and wait for an unbelievably hot chick to find you.
posted by The World Famous at 10:24 PM on March 10, 2010


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