Car Odours That May Mean Car Trouble

In some cases, you might experience an odour in your car but it’s just the leftover food you never threw out. In other cases, it might be something you should not ignore but seriously look into.

Remember when you first bought your car and drove it off the dealership’s lot? That clean, fresh, new smell was so incredibly intoxicating but all that changed in a very short period of time. You and friends have spilled drinks, eaten something foul-smelling, or the friend who needed a cigarette. So much for that new wonderful smell!

Moving down the road a bit, there are smells that are just not normal and should be looked into as soon as possible. We have listed some abnormal odours that might need a mechanic to check over your car and find out what’s going on.

The Smell Of Rotten Eggs

Car Smells

A component in your car known as the catalytic converter changes dangerous gases coming from the exhaust system and turn them into gases that are a great deal less dangerous. One of these changes from the catalytic converter is turning hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide.

If you smell rotten eggs, chances are the catalytic converter is not working properly and should be checked out. Even though the catalytic converter can be expensive to repair or replace, do it as soon as possible. If you don’t, there is a good chance your car will not pass the local emissions test or you can be seriously harmed by the fumes.

The Smell Of Hot Oil

Usually, when you smell hot oil coming from something being cooked in the kitchen, it can entice your appetite. On the other hand, that’s not the same reaction if you are smell hot motor oil.

In most cases, the smell of hot motor oil can be a sign that the engine oil is leaking onto the exhaust manifold. You will have to check it out to find where the oil smell is coming from. As an example, if the oil is leaking onto your driveway it could be coming from the crankshaft but if it’s accommodated by smoke, it could be caused by a defective valve cover.

The Smell Of Sweet Syrup

If you experience this sweet smell while your car is running or directly after turning it off, there’s a good chance your car is leaking antifreeze.

You will have to inspect the system to find out where it is leaking antifreeze. If you find the leak is internal you could have a blown head gasket. You need to find out before the cooling system fails. If the system fails it can destroy your car’s engine.

The Smell Of Burned Rubber

While race car drivers “burn rubber” when racing, in the real world you should never experience that smell of burning rubber. That’s a huge sign that something is terribly wrong!

The smell of burning rubber could be a sign that a hose or belt has come loose. When parts come free from their positions they will come in contact with very hot engine components which will cause that smell

In other cases, it could be caused by a fluid or oil leak. Worst-case yet, it could be caused by a bad drive belt. Either way, you should thoroughly inspect the problem to ensure it’s not something more serious. If you are unable to make a thorough inspection, take your car to a mechanic to have them perform an inspection.

The Smell Of Brakes Burning

Under normal circumstances, you should step on the brake pedal and your car comes to a complete halt without experiencing any odd smells. If your brakes smell like they are burning, you should be greatly concerned.

In some cases, the smell might be caused by the breaks being dragged. If left unchecked, the defect will probably wear out the pads and damage the rotor. On the other hand, you might have been driving with your emergency brakes on. Either way, find out what is going on before you end up with a serious repair or replacement situation.

The Smell Of Petrol

Petrol Smell

If you have just gone to your petrol station there is nothing unusual about smelling petrol but if you have left the station and still smell petrol, you might have a problem.

In another situation, you might have spilled petrol on your vehicle. If that’s the case, it’s important you get it cleaned up as quickly as possible, otherwise, you could ruin the paint on your car. Worst-case scenario, you might have a serious leak in the fuel injection line or vent hose. Have it checkout by a professional technician as quickly as possible.

The Smell Of Exhaust Coming Into Your Vehicle

Never, ever ignore the smell of exhaust fumes getting into your cabin. Exhaust fumes are deliberately pushed away from the cabin for a good reason. One, the smell can become overwhelming and some of these fumes can be deadly if inhaled!

If you are smelling exhaust fumes in your car, you might have a leak in the system. On the other hand, there could be a defective seal on one of the doors or windows. A leak test must be performed to find out what is going on and to protect your health.

The Smell Of Dirty Socks

Have you gotten into your car and experienced a smell that reminds you of the gym, especially after you turn on the air conditioner? Chances are, you have a mould or mildew growth in the HVAC system and more than likely from the evaporator.

If you are sensitive to mold and mildew, they can be harmful allergens. If you are experiencing trouble breathing, suffering from watery eyes, sneezing, and suffering from headaches, you have a sinus condition. If your condition is mild, you can probably run the fan and keep the vents open to dry out the system. Otherwise, you must get your car to a mechanic and have the car professionally serviced. You might want to stop by your doctor and get medication for those allergies.

How Can I Keep My Car Odour Free?

Obviously, you want to keep unwanted smells out of your vehicle. There are several ways to keep smells out every day. To begin with, make sure you remove all trash from the interior and do not smoke in your car.

You should use floor mats and keep your windows closed to make sure unwanted moisture is not getting in. Use spill-proof cups when driving and make sure to remove them when you get to your destination. Vacuum your vehicle regularly and install an air freshener in the cabin to provide a fresh smell. If you prefer a neutralizer to remove odours instead of just masking smells, you will have an excellent solution for getting rid of offensive smells from your car!

In A Nutshell

You paid good money for your car. It’s totally up to you to make ensure it runs the way it is supposed to. Considering it’s mechanical, you must be on top of any issues that might arise. Whether you can take care of mechanical problems yourself, or need a mechanic to do it for you, stay on top of any issues that might surface to ensure your car is running the way it is supposed to.

You depend on your car to keep you, your family and your friends safe at all times. The only way you can ensure it is by taking good care of it and keeping it running in top condition.

If you are experiencing strange smells that may sugggest an issue with your vehicle you can get your vehicle checked by booking online today.

For further information on our services you can browse the site or get in touch with us by calling 019253 30468 or alternatively, you can email us directly at

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