Five Car Smells You Should Never Ignore

By Samantha DeJesus on November 5, 2012

Cars can induce big time headaches for a driver. A key concept about keeping your vehicle running smoothly involves maintaining its fluids, checking the tires regularly, and getting a tune up. But, another important aspect is not ignoring smells your vehicle gives off. If you’re driving down the road and notice the smell of syrup, or worse sulfur, it’s important that you don’t ignore these smells. Doing so could lead to huge problems, which means more money out of your wallet.

Here are five car smells that you should not ignore. Always remember that if you do notice an odor, it is something that needs to be taken care of immediately; rolling the windows down will not help your situation.

It smells like syrup:

This could mean a coolant leak. Coolant is one of the most important fluids you can put in your car. It contains ethylene glycol which can give off a sweet scent. A leaky radiator hose can cause this smell as well. The heater core could also cause this problem. If this is the case, then it’s important to get your vehicle looked at as soon as possible, especially if it’s during winter time. If your heater core goes, you have no heat for your car which also means your defrosters won’t work.

It smells like rotten eggs:

This is caused by hydrogen sulfide in your exhaust that has not converted to sulfur dioxide in your catalytic converter (cat).  This means you more than likely need to replace your “cat”. Unfortunately, a new one does not come cheap. But, in newer cars they are usually covered under warranty so check with your dealer!

It smells like hot oil:

This means oil is leaking onto your hot exhaust manifold. It’s not so much of a bad smell like rotten eggs, but it is definitely not pleasant. This could be because of a leaking crankshaft or a leaky valve cover. When its the crankshaft, look for oil on the pavement. If its the valve cover you should look for smoke coming from the exhaust.

It smells like burning carpet:

Check your brake pads. This is normal after using the brake coming down a long hill, but downshifting keeps the smell from occurring in the first place. If this smell occurs under normal driving circumstances then you may have a dragging brake. This smell could also arise if you left your handbrake on by mistake. If you check the brakes by hand you’ll notice the hottest one is the one giving off the smell.

It smells like burnt rubber:

This could be an easy fix. Open your hood and make sure all hoses and belts are tight and not resting on hot engine. But, this could also mean a belt has become loose or is about to break. If this is the case you should get it replaced as soon as you can.



Follow Uloop

Apply to Write for Uloop News

Join the Uloop News Team

Discuss This Article

Get Top Stories Delivered Weekly

Back to Top

Log In

Contact Us

Upload An Image

Please select an image to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format
Provide URL where image can be downloaded
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format

By clicking this button,
you agree to the terms of use

By clicking "Create Alert" I agree to the Uloop Terms of Use.

Image not available.

Add a Photo

Please select a photo to upload
Note: must be in .png, .gif or .jpg format