car smells

Strange Car Smells- How Sick Is Your Vehicle?

As we go from Summer to Fall to Winter, we notice different smells in the air. Sometimes they come from outside… but sometimes they come from inside. Car smells inside your car!

If you didn’t know, strange smells coming from inside your car usually means your car is sick. Yes.. cars get sick just like humans šŸ˜‰ Just keep reading to learn why and how!

Strange Car Smells- How Sick Is Your Vehicle?

How To Diagnosis Foul Car Smells

Below I have outlined 9 common smells you might notice while driving. I will explain what each smell means and whether or not it is a serious situation. Sometimes, especially if you let your car sit for awhile, you will get a weird smell that isn’t harmful. However, more times than often, if you smell something bad your car needs to be taken to the doctors. Make sure to check out Popular Mechanics for more information!

If Your Car Smells Like – Exhaust

Exhaust smells are VERY bad for you since you are inhaling carbon monoxide. Make sure to take your car in immediately.

Reasons Why: Exhaust leak and or any holes in your vehicle.

If Your Car Smells Like – Gasoline

If you smell gasoline, don’t freak out. It is normal to smell gasoline in older cars or if you are parked indoors. If you continue to smell gasoline and notice a small puddle under your car, then you have a fuel leak.

Reasons Why: Gas leak if you continue to notice this smell/ puddle under your car.

If Your Car Smells Like – Sweet Syrup

While the syrup smell is nicer than smelling rotten eggs… this is a dangerous smell to have coming from your car. Your coolant contains ethylene glycol which puts off that sweet syrup smell. Not only is it toxic, but smelling sweet syrup means you have a coolant leak. This could be from many areas in your car so take it to your mechanic to repair.

Reasons Why: Coolant leak. Take to get fixed ASAP.

If Your Car Smells Like – Bad Feet

A very nasty smell… But your car is trying to tell you something, so listen up! While this smell is not going to be toxic, your car is trying to tell you that you need to check your filters. There is mildew growing on your air filters, which is why you smell this the most during summer or when you turn your air on after the winter season. A simple fix? Turn off the a/c and run the fan on high to dry the system out for about a mile.

Reasons Why: Mildew on your air filters, which need to be replaced. You can easily do this yourself, but it is a pretty cheap fix if you take it in for repair.

If Your Car Smells Like – Hot Oil

You might see smoke before smelling hot oil. So obviously you need to pull over and take this smell seriously. If you smell hot oil you have an oil leak. Hot oil under your hood uncovered is NOT something you want to mess with! You will also notice an oil puddle under your car. Take your car in and have it fix ASAP.

Reasons Why: Oil leak, which you need to take in ASAP!

If Your Car Smells Like – Rotten Egg

Unless someone just egged your car in the middle of summer, you should not smell rotten egg. This means hydrogen sulfide is in your exhaust. This could be a fuel injection issue, which is easy to fix! Or… it could be a failed catalytic converter which can be fixed but is very expensive.

Reasons Why: Fuel injection issue or failed catalytic converter. Both need to be inspected and fixed by a mechanic.

If Your Car Smells Like – Burning Carpet

Probably the most normal smell you will notice if you live in the city or are a crazy race driver on the highway. A burning carpet smell is coming from your brakes; from either pushing too hard or using your brakes a lot. This simply means your brake pads are overheated and should calm down once you stop using them so harshly. If you are driving a manual car, make sure you aren’t driving with your emergency brake on! That will also heighten the smell.

Reasons Why: Hard braking or using your brakes a lot. It could also be from driving with your emergency brake on (especially in manual cars).

If Your Car Smells Like – Burnt Paper

Most common in manual cars. A burnt paper smell means you are riding your clutch too hard / not shifting properly and jamming gears…. so either learn how to drive stick better or get your clutch replaced.

Reasons Why: Not using your clutch properly.

If Your Car Smells Like – Burnt Rubber

Stop and pull over. This means you have a loose hose that has landed on a hot section of your engine so rescue it before it melts completely and bigger problems happen!

Reasons Why: Loose hose has landed on a hot section of your engine. Stop and pull over to rescue the hose before it melts completely.

So there ya have it! Knowing these foul smells before they happen is important for car safety. Don’t ignore the smell and continue to Motor With Confidence.

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Comments 3

  1. If I am not wrong, I think every car owner wants to keep the new car smell in their automobile as long as possible. In fact, some smells are too unpleasant to drive. But can anyone tell what to do when the air goes offbeat? I know many car owners don’t know how to deal with such mysterious situations. I would like to tell that fluid is the most prominent cause that turns the air funky. Thus, we have to identify what is actually leaking from our car, so that we can take necessary safety measures to get rid of unpleasant auto odors. Sometimes we are responsible for this bad smell. For example- smoking inside the car especially when the ac is on, leaving the foodstuffs in the car for a longer period of time etc, can also make air unpleasant for breathing. So, whenever you feel your car is not smelling as supposed to be, immediately you should call a car technician and do necessary cleanings and repairs to make your car feel like new again.

  2. I need to to thank you for this good read!! I definitely
    loved every bit of it. I have you book marked
    to check out new things you postā€¦

    1. Post

      Hi Angelika,

      Thank you so much for discovering ChicMoto! If you have any car issues you’d like for us to address definitely let us know!



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