4 Common Smells That Signal Trouble For Your Car

Weird Car Smells

Sometimes, bad smells in your car aren’t just caused by your kid’s hockey equipment, but are caused by real problems that can damage to your car. Here are 4 common smells that can signal the failure of different parts in your car.

1. Wet, Damp, Old Socks Smell

If your car smells like old socks, or just generally musty, it is most likely caused by some problem in your air conditioning unit. Likely, the condensation in your AC is building up, instead of being drained, which can cause mold and mildew growth. The solution to this problem would be to clean your AC system (this can be done by a mechanic near you). However, an interim solution would be to turn off the AC (but keep the fan on) at about at least one kilometer from your destination, which will dry out your moist system.

2. Burning Smell

If you smell burning, a very likely culprit is your brakes. If your brake pads or rotors are not properly aligned, unnecessary friction can cause this burning smell. If your brake pads are extremely worn out, they can also cause friction in the engine, creating the burning smell. If you’re driving a manual car, and the burning smell accompanies acceleration, it’s likely there is an issue with your clutch.

3. Rotten Egg Smell

A sulphur smell (the same smell as rotten eggs) can signal issues with your exhaust system. Specifically a sulphuric smell can signal issues with your catalytic converter, which converts harmful gasses in your car’s exhaust into less dangerous compounds. If this smell persists outside of your car (especially near your tailpipe), your catalytic converter could be broken or malfunctioning. Driving with a faulty catalytic converter is dangerous for humans and the environment, and your car will fail emissions testing. Get your catalytic converter repaired as soon as it breaks!

4. Sweet / Sugary smell

A sickly sweet or sugary smell you’re might smell usually is associated with your engine coolant (treated ethylene glycol smells sweet). This smell signals a coolant system leak, which can cause performance issues and engine overheating. Check the underside of your car for moisture or fluids, and especially look for puddles underneath your engine compartment - you may be able to locate the leak. You can also look near the passenger footwell in the front seat - this is a common place for coolant system leaks.

We hoped that this article gave you a “mechanic’s nose!” If you notice any of these smells, the fool-proof solution is to contact a licensed mechanic to diagnose the issue. Fiix can perform diagnostics and repairs, often for 30% less, at your home or work. Book online at fiix.io or call us with 647-361-4449 today!

Related articles

3 Signs Of A Failing Canister Purge Valve

The Difference Between A Cabin Air Filter And An Air Filter

How To Conserve And Save Gas

5 Ways to Become a Better Nighttime Driver

How to Jumpstart your Battery

4 Signs Of A Failing Catalytic Converter

Extend your car's life. Get car advice straight to your inbox.

Join 5000+ car owners and keep your car in its healthiest form.

More Related Articles

How To Check Your Oil Level

How To Check Your Oil Level

The fluids in your car are essential for the running of your engine - but one of the most important types of fluid to monitor is your oil level. Checking your oil level is something anyone can do - and by doing so, you can improve your car’s performance greatly, while protecting you against unexpected breakdowns.

Read more

What Does It Mean When Your Engine Turns Over

What Does It Mean When Your Engine Turns Over

When your engine starts, your battery sends an electrical pulse to your spark plugs, which causes the initial ignition. This then drives your crankshaft, which allows your engine to start moving. This is what the term ‘turning over’ means - it refers to the movement of the crankshaft after the initial ignition.

Read more

Everything You Need To Know About Your Car's Fuel Filter

Everything You Need To Know About Your Car's Fuel Filter

A fuel filter, like most parts of your car, is absolutely necessary for proper engine performance. However, unlike most essential parts like your car’s wheels, or engine block, you’ve probably never heard of your fuel filter - and its maintenance is probably not on the top of your priorities.

Read more