Types of Unusual Vehicle Smells


The car is designed to be odor-free despite the many types of fluids that run in its system. Unless you are enjoying the new car smell, any other odor should be checked. Here are some of the unusual smells that you should have checked:

  • Hot Oil: If you smell hot oil fumes from the vehicle, it means you have a leaky crankshaft, and the oil is touching the manifold, which heats it. You may find oil on the surface on which you park.
  • Sulfur (rotten eggs): The sulfur smell is an indication that the catalytic converter is not turning the hydrogen sulfide gas in the car's exhaust into sulfur dioxide. You should have the catalytic converter checked.
  • Syrup: If you notice a sweet smell, especially after you turn off the engine, it could be ethylene glycol leaking out of the cooling system into hot parts of the engine. You should have the radiator checked or coolant hoses changed.
  • Burned rubber: The smell of burned rubber may come from wheel friction if you are stuck in the mud. However, it could also mean that that the timing belt is loose or about to break. You should have it checked and replaced accordingly.
  • Burned carpet: You notice this smell mostly when you apply brakes. It is an indication of wearing down pads or a case where you forgot to disengage the handbrake.
  • Gasoline smell: A gasoline smell may emanate from splashing gasoline on the sides of the vehicle as your fuel. However, it could also mean a leakage in the fuel injection line or the vent hose. This is a major issue, which should be checked immediately as the leakage may cause fires.
  • A locker room aroma: If you smell a musty odor like that of a locker room that has not been opened for a while from the car vents when you turn on the A/C, it means that the evaporator section of the air conditioning grown mold. Mold is an allergen that can cause respiratory system problems to people with heightened sensitivities. 

If you notice any of these unusual smells, bring your vehicle to our auto shop for a checkup and repair.