Two potentiometer questions


Original poster
Aug 18, 2018
Today I was doing the Bathurst 12 Hour on iRacing. I jumped in the car and drove pretty subpar for 20 laps or so, but then my throttle was getting stuck at about 25%. Unfortunately I had to jump out of the car. Then it was making a loud cracking sound like it was all bound up.
I had a replacement so I had to dismantle the rig and put the new one in. All was fine then (apart from being taken out of the race anyway).
But, my question is, what would cause a pot to lock up like this? Could it be the contact cleaner I am using? Just a manufacturing fault? Apart from needing to be cleaned I've had no real issues until today.

Second question:
Can I cover up the top hole on the pot with a piece of tape or something? They are pretty exposed and my house is on the dustier side unfortunately.

Thanks :)