Different Car Odours And How To Spot Their Meanings


Depending on the type of odours emanating from your car, it may actually mean nothing or it could be a serious or costly mechanical issue that requires your immediate attention. Everyone loves that new car smell, right? Well, if you don’t keep up on maintenance, your car could start producing some less savory smells instead.


It is important to be aware of the smells your car produces as as can help you diagnose problems before you see them or before they become irreversible. Here are a number of car Smells You shouldn’t ignore.

Rotten Eggs
The gasoline that fuels your car contains trace amounts of sulfur. This creates a by-product called hydrogen sulfide, which smells like eggs that have gone bad.

The catalytic converter is a crucial part of your exhaust system because it takes this by-product and converts it into odourless sulfur dioxide. If you start smelling rotten eggs when your car is running, there is a chance that you need to replace your catalytic converter. Unfortunately, this comes at a heavy price.

Maple Syrup
If you’re walking around your car and you perceive maple syrup, chances are you have a leaking coolant. Coolant contains ethylene glycol, which smells sweet but is actually very toxic.

To fix this,a professional might just need to tighten a loose radiator cap, replace a gasket or a hose. If you notice the smell inside the car, it’s likely that you have a bad heater core.


Fire and Brimstone
Don’t fret yet. What you smell is sulfur from a leaky gear housing or transmission. The gear lubricant in these components of the drive train contain sulfur compounds that act as extreme pressure lubricants.

Over time, the lubricant will start to deteriorate and even leak, emitting a sulfur smell. You can check for a leak by inspecting any oil substance left behind by your car. If it smells like sulfur, you should visit a mechanic as soon as possible.

Burning Newspaper
If you smell a moldy newspaper I. Or around your car, you may have clutch problems.

The smell is as a result of friction materials actually burning off the clutch as it slips. If you smell this under normal driving conditions, your clutch is failing and needs to be replaced.

The only time the smell of fuel should be in the air around your car is when you are refueling. A questionable fuel odour coming from your car is an indication of a leak. The most likely culprits are a fuel injection line or fuel tank vent hose.

Everyone remembers how their clothes smell after a sweaty workout session. If your car Smells this way, your A/C unit could have other plans. If you smell that familiar sour dankness in your cabin, it probably means there’s mildew in your A/C vents.

There are a few ways to solve this problem, the simplest being running air through the vents with the A/C off. If you can’t dry it out yourself, it’s best to have a technician take care of it for you.

Burnt Carpet
If you smell burnt carpet while you’re driving, your brake pads are overheated. While this is normal under intense braking conditions like driving down a hill, you shouldn’t smell this under typical driving conditions.

The most common cause for this smell is a seized caliper piston, but brakes can overheat for a number of reasons. Maintaining your brakes is the best way to avoid problems like these.

Lastly, if your car is in good health, it should be emitting no smells, at least none that are unpleasant. Being aware of what the bad smells are and what they mean can help you diagnose a problem before it gets worse.

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