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Microsoft Recalls Smoky Xbox 360 Racing Wheel

The company is releasing a free retrofit that's designed to fix the problem. Until gamers receive it, Microsoft is advising them to use the wheel on battery power only.
The racing wheel accessory for Microsoft's Xbox 360 is smoking -- but not in a good way.

In the latest setback to its troubled video game system, Microsoft is recalling a part on the wireless steering wheel because it overheats. Microsoft on Tuesday called the move a "precautionary" measure.

Microsoft in a statement said it's been informed of "a very small number" of incidents where components in the Xbox 360 Wireless Racing Wheel overheat and emit smoke when the unit is plugged into an AC outlet. The company is releasing a free retrofit that's designed to fix the problem. Until gamers receive it, Microsoft is advising them to use the wheel on battery power only.

It's hardly surprising that Microsoft is taking no chances when it comes to the Xbox and potential fire hazards. The company is currently being sued by the family of an Illinois toddler who died in a blaze that the family claims was started by faulty Xbox wiring. Microsoft has denied the allegation and is fighting the matter in court.

But the possibility of spontaneous combustion isn't Microsoft's only Xbox-related problem. A number of users have sued the company claming that the system scratches their pricey game discs, rendering them useless.

Additionally, Microsoft took a fourth-quarter charge against earnings of $1.06 billion to cover the cost of extending the warranty on the Xbox 360. The move was a response to users' complaints that the systems have a tendency to malfunction irreparably after just several months of use.

Xbox users can find out how to get the racing wheel retrofit by visiting the Xbox support forum on Microsoft's Web site.