Blame It On The Car: What Is That Bad Smell Trying To Tell You?

Posted on: 19 June 2015

So, you've noticed that your car smells funny lately. You've checked the carpets, seats and the trunk for the source of the odor, and nothing seems to be showing you a sign. Could it be that your car is trying to tell you that something is wrong? If you notice any of the following smells, that could be the case.

Sweet Syrup

Coolant, also known as ethylene glycol, offers a sweet smell, similar to syrup. If you can smell it, you may very well have a leak on your hands. This is not good news, considering that coolant is designed to keep your engine cool so it doesn't overheat, which can be dangerous. Coolant leaks also result from bad heater cores and bad radiators.

Rotten Eggs

Unfortunately, this is one of the worst smells you can experience coming from your car. It's also important to acknowledge it, as embarrassing as it may be. This rotten egg smell could be your catalytic converter failing, and the smell is sulfuric acid.

Additionally, this rotten smell may indicate that your battery is leaking fluid. This is generally a much more affordable fix than the catalytic converter.

Gasoline

It's normal to smell gasoline as you are pulling into the gas station. As you are drying down the highway? No way! Gas leaks are incredibly hazardous and could result in your car catching on fire. If you smell gasoline as you are driving, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so.

Burning

Do you smell something burning? It could very well be the brakes of your car, burning when the brake pads wear out. This problem can eventually lead to brake failure, so it is important to have it checked out right away. Of course, this is also a common occurrence if you are "riding" your brakes as you roll down a hill. In this case, it is time to lay off the brakes.

Mildew

If you are smelling mildew every time you turn on your heat or AC, that's probably exactly what it is. A fix is essential, but in the meantime you can turn off the AC a few minutes before getting home and running the fan as high as possible to dry out your system.

Take care of these problems, no matter how small they seem, and you will notice the smell begin to drift away. While some of these are minor issues, the larger ones must be handled swiftly to avoid future problems down the road. Contact a local mechanic, like Auto Body By Duie LLC, with any questions.

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