5 Car Smells That Alert You to a Problem

Posted on: 30 September 2015


Many problems that develop in cars usually provide warning signs before they reach a level when they affect the operation of the car. However, some car owners lack the ability to understand the "language" of the car so they miss those warning signs. Read on and discover what different smells alert you to.

The Smell of Burnt Rubber

This smell usually occurs when a drive belt has slipped and started rubbing against another moving component of the engine. A hose (such as a hydraulic fluid hose) can also become loose and make contact with a device like a pulley, causing that burnt rubber smell.

The Smell of Heated Oil

This smell begins when there is an engine oil-leak onto the exhaust pipe. Exhaust pipes become very hot as you drive, and that heat is enough to cause any oil dropping onto the pipe to evaporate. You can confirm that this is the problem by stopping your car then looking underneath it for any oil on the ground.

The Smell of Fuel

The fuel system of your car is airtight, so you should never smell of petrol/diesel unless that system has been compromised. Fuel leaks, such as those from a punctured fuel tank or a faulty fuel injector line, can cause you to smell fuel in your car. This is very dangerous because that fuel can ignite at any time. Do not drive the car any further if you smell fuel anywhere within or outside the car.

The Smell of Syrup

Do not be mistaken to think that the sweet syrup smell you are detecting is a good thing in your car. That smell is pointing to the strong possibility that engine coolant has leaked onto hot metal and is being burnt. This problem can cause your engine to overheat because of insufficient coolant to regulate its temperature.

The Smell of Rotten Eggs

Most cars have a catalytic converter that converts hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide. You will start smelling rotten eggs if the catalytic converter becomes unable to perform its role of changing the emissions into a less toxic form (sulfur dioxide). A malfunctioning engine can overload the catalytic converter to the extent that it fails to work. That is why you need to have the problem investigated as soon as you sense that smell.

Call a mobile car service mechanic to repair your car if you smell any of the above scents. This is because any attempt to drive the car may worsen the problem that has caused the smell.