Car Smells You Should Never Ignore

If you have some weird smells in your car, you may think that you just spilled something inside the cabin. However, if it’s clean but you can still detect a smell, this should be a reason to turn to a professional for help.

At 5-Minute Crafts, we would like to tell you about the most common smells that appear in a car and the reasons that cause them.

If your car smells like rotten eggs

The gasoline that powers your car contains sulfur. The smell of sulfur or rotten eggs appears if something is wrong with the catalytic converter. In other words, your car may have some kind of malfunction in the fuel system. Unburned fuel can clog your catalytic converter and the exhaust gases will have nowhere to go.

Replace your transmission fluid. But if the smell remains, this may indicate a more serious problem. The catalytic converter can be saved if you catch the problem early enough.

If your car smells like mold or mildew

If you smell mildew, the air conditioner may be the problem. Over time, the air conditioning system can become clogged with dust, dirt, and debris, and this can lead to unpleasant odors in the cabin. Moisture in the system can also cause the growth of mold and mildew, which can negatively affect the air quality in your car.

Try drying the system by turning off the air conditioner and driving with the fan on high. If this doesn’t help, contact a car service center and have a mechanic clean and recharge the air conditioning system.

If your car smells like maple syrup or fruity candy

The reason for a maple syrup or candy smell is most likely coolant that contains ethylene glycol, leaking from the radiator, cylinder head, or a failed intake manifold gasket. This can cause serious damage to your vehicle, including overheating.

Have your vehicle towed to the nearest repair shop.

If your car smells like exhaust or fumes

If you smell exhaust or fumes inside your car while driving, especially when you’re idling or driving slowly, the cause may be a leak from the car’s exhaust system or poor seals on the windows or doors. Exhaust leaks are often caused by corrosion, where rust eats away at exposed pipes, eventually causing small holes or cracks. When this happens, vapors that should be discharged through the exhaust pipe are trapped under the vehicle, rising through the floor and into the cabin.

❗ This is very dangerous, so you should immediately contact a specialist to diagnose and fix the problem.

If you detect a burning rubber smell

If you smell burning rubber, and your tires are safe and sound, most likely the reason is in rubber belts and hoses. When one of these fails or becomes too tight, it can cause this bad smell. This can’t be ignored.

If your car smells like burnt paper

If you smell this odor while driving, chances are that it’s coming from the clutch, the lining of which contains paper. Most often, this can happen when the driver is “riding” the clutch, which means they’re stepping too frequently on the pedal. This leads to slippage of the clutch, overheating of its lining, and the appearance of the burnt smell.

❗ Don’t step on the clutch pedal too frequently while driving: this can lead to the failure of the entire clutch.

If your car smells like burning carpet or burning hair

If you sense this unpleasant smell, be aware that this is the smell of overheated brake pads. They can start to overheat with aggressive force or overuse, as is common when driving down a long steep hill. Use engine braking to reduce the load on the brakes.

❗ An unpleasant smell associated with the brakes is dangerous because, if overheated, they stop working properly. In this case, contact a mechanic to replace the worn out brake pads.

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