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!

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