4 Car Smells That Could Signal a Problem

July 29th, 2021 by


There are all types of smells associated with driving a car. However, if you experience any of the four smells detailed in the guide below, it could indicate that there is a more serious mechanical problem that needs to be addressed. Does your car smell like rotten eggs, or is it more of a burning rubber smell? Read on to learn more about the four car smells that could indicate an issue with your vehicle from the service center team at Findlay Acura.

Do You Notice an Exhaust Smell?

When exhaust leaks into your car, the smell is usually incredibly strong. It is also a very dangerous smell. Your exhaust is made up of carbon monoxide, and inhaling a large amount of it can be harmful. A strong exhaust smell can indicate that there is a hole somewhere under the hood, usually in the exhaust pipe, muffler, or tailpipe. It can also mean that a part of your interior is worn and is not keeping the exhaust out as it should. If you smell car exhaust while inside your vehicle, you should have your car looked at by a professional immediately.

What Do You Do if Your Car Smells Like Eggs?

A rotten egg smell in cars usually indicates a catalytic converter problem. There is a trace amount of sulfur in your car’s fuel. When the converter is working properly, it converts the sulfur to sulfur dioxide, which does not have any smell. If you find that your car smells like sulfur or the car smells like eggs, it means that it is not properly converting. When you notice that your car smells like rotten eggs or you’re advising a friend whose car smells like sulfur, the catalytic converter could be backed up or not working at all, and it will need to be fully replaced.

Does Your Car Create a Burning Rubber Smell?

If you notice a burning rubber smell from cars, it is often a sign that you have overheated the brakes or tires. Overheating usually occurs when your car’s clutch is slipping or not working properly. If you experience this smell and were using your clutch at the time, let the car cool down, and try again. Although this does not require immediate auto care, the smell should be carefully monitored. If it continues to happen, schedule an appointment with your auto mechanic.

A burning smell from cars could also come from brake pads. If you are pushing too hard on your brakes, it could cause them to overheat. Try downshifting and see if it helps the smell. You can also check the exterior of your tires. If they feel unusually hot, it is likely a brake pad problem. Schedule an appointment to have your brake pads replaced.

Is There a Strong Gasoline Smell?

You should not smell gasoline after you leave the gas station. If you notice a strong gasoline smell while operating your vehicle, it could be due to a leaking fuel component. There could be a problem with the following components:

  • The car’s fuel hose
  • The car’s filter
  • The car’s gas lines

Additionally, a leaking exhaust can also lead to a strong gas smell in the car, also caused by the fuel injector. It means that your engine is pushing too much gas into the engine and the engine is not able to burn it fast enough. A full tune-up will usually fix a problem with the fuel injector.

Non-Performance-Related Odors: Is There a Smell Coming from Your AC?

Separate from the aforementioned four smells, there’s a fifth non-performance-related odor that many drivers experience at some point. If you notice that your car AC smells, this is likely the cause of too much moisture or mold piling up in your air filters. This is often an easy fix as changing your air filters frequently with other routine maintenance will ensure clean and odorless air will continue to be circulated throughout your vehicle. Be sure to check with your owner’s manual for recommended replacement intervals. You can also address this odor by double-checking your drain tube for mold or bacteria and cleaning out your exterior air vents by spraying some antiseptic.

Turn to the Experts at Findlay Acura

If your car smells like eggs, we’re sure you’re keen to fix the issue as soon as possible. These are some car smells that you should never ignore. Knowing what common auto smells are associated with problematic car conditions can help you diagnose your car and know when to have it inspected. So, if your car smells like sulfur, it’s time for a visit down the service lane. For more information on car odor causes and to get help when you schedule your next service appointment, contact us today.

Searching for more service tips you can trust? Our service department has got you covered. You can learn the difference between premium and regular gas for your vehicle or take advantage of our service specials for your next maintenance need.