My Car Smells Like: Common Car Smells and What They Could Be

My car smells like

When it comes to recognizing problems with your vehicle, using your sense of smell can give you some valuable information. Here is a list of different car issues, describing what your car smells like, and what the cause might be.

  • Coolant or antifreeze leak. A pungent, fruity smell usually accompanied by steam coming from under the hood. Common causes of coolant leaks are a blown head gasket, a hole in the radiator, or faulty hoses.
  • Burning oil. A burnt oil smell in the car usually accompanied by smoke coming out from under the hood or the exhaust pipe. Burning oil is usually caused by oil leaking on to the engine or exhaust components. Common causes of oil leaks are faulty engine gaskets, oil pan leaks, or bad oil seals.
  • Electrical short. The smell of burning plastic or burnt toast indicates an electrical short circuit in the engine. Common causes of this problem are a blown fuse, a defective battery, or other faulty parts in the electrical system such as defective alternator, starter, or regulator.
  • Problems with the heater core. A burning plastic smell that comes from inside the heating vents. This usually means that debris has gotten stuck inside the engine, the valve inside the heater core is stuck, or antifreeze is leaking into the heating system.
  • Emission failure or a faulty catalytic converter. A foul, rotten egg smell or the smell of raw fuel. An emission failure is usually caused by a collapsed or leaking fuel tank. Catalytic converter failure is caused by worn out piston rings, faulty seal valves and gaskets, oil or antifreeze leaking into the exhaust system, or faulty spark plugs.
  • Faulty brakes or a burned-out clutch. The smell of burning newspaper inside the car after hard braking. Causes of a burned-out clutch are normal wear and tear, resulting in warping of the pressure plate, oil getting on the clutch plate from a leak, or the clutch linkage going out of place. Faulty brakes are normally caused by damage to the brake pads or brake drum, or an improper calliper alignment.

You can tell a lot from the smells that your vehicle emits. If you smell any of the odors mentioned above, you should take your vehicle to a service station immediately. Give our professionals at Accurate Service a call today at 520-620-9129 or schedule an appointment online at your convenience!