Do you smell something strange emanating from your car? It could just be some old food that was left baking in the hot sun inside the vehicle, but it could also indicate a serious problem with your car that needs to be taken care of. Let us help you differentiate between the different strange smells in your car and show you the best way to handle them.
Exhaust Smell inside the Car
Are you smelling exhaust while you’re inside the car? That’s a serious problem that should not be overlooked. This usually means that your car’s exhaust system is leaking or that the doors or windows of your car don’t have proper seals. The first problem is much more severe than the other, but if you’re smelling exhaust inside your car, that can be extremely hazardous. Exhaust fumes are unhealthy to breathe in for long periods of time.
If you are noticing the smell like this, you need to take your car to the technician right away to have it dealt with. This isn’t something you should let slide for a while, as it could mean serious problems for your car and your health.
A Lingering Gas Smell
This is another car smell that could mean a minor problem or something major. You might have just splashed a little gasoline on your shoes or your sleeves when you were filling the gas tank last time, but the smell should go away pretty quickly, especially if you roll down the windows. If the gas smell lingers in your car for several hours, you could be having trouble with your gas cap, fuel injector, or fuel tank. There may be a broken seal or a leaking gas tank, and that’s going to be bad for your health and terrible for your fuel economy.
If you can’t locate the source of the smell on your own, then you need to take the car to a technician right away. This could be a fairly quick and simple fix, but it’s an important one that needs to be done as soon as possible.
This smell doesn’t necessarily indicate that you’re doing burnouts with your car as you peel away from the traffic light. You know how you’re driving, but if you’re smelling burning rubber as you drive or while the car is on, then you probably have a rubber belt or rubber hose that’s come loose. Check under the hood and see if one of these parts have broken off or loosened and is burning as it touches the engine. It’s a smell that should become more intense the longer the car is driving and the hotter the engine becomes.
This kind of smell could also be caused by a fluid leak, since hot oil could leak onto your belts and cause that burning smell as well. If you have a drive belt that’s damaged or starting to wear out, that can create a burning scent too. These are all issues that need to be taken care of sooner rather than later. While none of them may be emergencies that have to be handled within the next few hours, they’re going to get worse over time. They could cause serious complications for your car and lead to a breakdown on the road, if they’re not dealt with soon.
Rotten Egg Smell
This could be caused by food that was left in the car for a while, made worse by the hot sun baking it inside the car. If you tried to clean the car yourself and the smell is still there, then you may want to have the car professionally cleaned. The same way you may hire a professional cleaning service to wash up your home when you can’t get it clean enough, you may need the experts to clean your car when the mess is too problematic or severe for you to handle.
Another reason you may be smelling rotten eggs when you step into your car is because of a problem in the fuel system. There might be sulfur leaking out and seeping into the cabin of the vehicle. That can be caused by issues with the fuel pressure sensors, fuel filters, or catalytic converter.
There is another potential cause for this smell too, and that’s old transmission fluid. Simply replacing that can make the smell go away. This is a really simple fix, so you may want to start there and see if that’s the issue behind the smell.
Stale Smelling Air Conditioning
If there is a sour or unpleasant smell emantating from the A/C vents, you could have mold in the air filter or in the A/C system’s drain lines. If excess moisture is building up inside your vents, that can create a musty smell. While this likely won’t damage the car if left unresolved, it can be really bad for your health. Mold can trigger allergy symptoms, like sneezing, coughing, itchy eyes, and trouble breathing. It’s best to deal with this problem as quickly as possible, switching out your air filter and cleaning out the drain lines, as well as dealing with any issues that could be causing excess moisture in the A/C system.
The smell could be similar to dirty socks or vinegar, in some cases, and an inspection of the A/C system in the car should reveal the problem quickly.
Do you smell something burning in your car as you drive it but it’s not burning rubber? The smell could be caused by an electrical fuse that’s been burnt out. It could be brake pads that are in need of replacement because they’re really warm. Your A/C compressor could be overheating as well, causing a burning smell too.
If the smell is closer to burning plastic, there could be something under your hood that is touching where it shouldn’t be, and if you can’t find the problem, you may want to take your car to a technician to have it figured out. These kinds of burning smells it can be caused by minor issues or something major, and you don’t want to take a chance on them.