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Car Smells: Sniffing Out Issues

Whether you’re in the kitchen or behind the wheel, what you smell can tell you a lot about a situation. When it comes to car smells in particular, there are a few in particular that you need to watch out for. From sweet to sickly and everything in between, our guide is here to help you be prepared in case something strange wafts up your nose when you’re behind the wheel. Furthermore, consider performing routine maintenance to combat these issues before they ever begin.

Car Smells: What to Watch For

Sweet syrup

The smell of sweet syrup might seem like one of the more pleasant car smells. However, it actually can indicate a major issue. In particular, this sort of smell could indicate a possible problem with your engine’s cooling system.

This sweet smell tends to come from ethylene glycol, which is a crucial component in your engine’s coolant. When you smell this, it may be because your radiator or a hose has sprung a leak. This is something you’ll want to get fixed as soon as you can, and thankfully, it usually isn’t too complicated. You may just need to get a new hose or heater core, and then you’ll be good to go.

Burning smells

 Other car smells to watch for are any burning ones. A constant burning rubber smell probably doesn’t have anything to do with your tires. Rather, it could be due to a shifting drive belt, which may be rubbing up against another engine component. This can be seen just by looking into the engine, just make sure you give it time to cool down first!

A burning carpet smell, on the other hand, may be coming from your brakes. Now, if you’ve been using the brakes a lot, this isn’t something to worry about. However, if it lingers, then you may have a problem with your brake pads and should inspect them to see if they need replacing.

Rancid smells

Rancid car smells are definitely not pleasant. Not only that, but they could indicate some serious issues with your car. For instance, old locker room-like scents could be due to mildew forming in your car’s air filter. Running the fan on high for a few minutes can fix the problem.

A rotten egg-like smell coming from underneath your car might be from a failed catalytic converter. It could be that all you need is to replace your fuel filter. More-serious issues may need you to go even further and have the entire converter itself replaced.