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Vehicle Warning Smells That You Should Be Aware Of

Apr 12, 2016


More than that overpowering perfume radiating off of your “new car scent” pine tree air freshener, your wet labrador in the back seat next to your gym bag, that fast food bag you forgot to remove from your car last month, or the smell of burning rubber and exhaust after you’ve just gunned it at a traffic light, your car, from time to time, may have other highly detectable/noticeable smells or orders.  These odors are smells that are coming from the car itself, sometimes while in use and even when parked.  They tend to be really distinct and can even be a warning sign or indication that there is something wrong with your car or its badly in need of service.   To keep you safe, we’ve listed a few of the most recognizable smells and what they could potentially mean to you and your car:  


Burning Rubber:  You’ll know if this smell just came from your tires after a burn out, but if you’re not peeling out or drifting at the moment, it could mean slipping drive belts or loose hoses that may be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys.  


Hot Oil:  The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking (captain obvious) into the exhaust system.  Smoke coming from the engine can be another indication of an oil leak, but typically you’ll see the oil on the ground beneath your car.  Look for a shinny/shimmery wet spot on the pavement.  


Gasoline:  Another no brainer, but its likely that this is the sign of a gas leak, from a fuel injector line or from the fuel tank.  Take this one very seriously, as it can be a very dangerous fire hazard.  You should never typically smell gasoline on your car.  


Syrup:  A sweet syrupy aroma may indicate that your car is leaking engine coolant from a component in the car’s coolant system, such as the radiator.  


Burning Carpet/Plastic:  This could be the sign of brake trouble.  Have your brakes checked right away, especially if the smell is happening during normal driving conditions.  


Rotting Eggs:  This smell could mean the catalytic converter is not converting hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust to sulfur dioxide properly.  Another “scent” to take seriously as a poor catalytic converter can cause major issues.  


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