Car Smells and What They Mean

By: Milstead Automotive | Published 09/23/2019

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Does your car have an unpleasant, lingering aroma? Usually your first impression will be to check for food that may have been left under seats. If the culprit isn’t food that has gone bad, there are several other reasons that may be the cause of the unpleasant smell. The last thing you want is your passengers in your being uncomfortable by the smell or worse question your hygiene. You need to find the source of the odor because an air freshener will only mask what could be a serious issue. 

What’s That Smell?
Rotten Eggs - If the smell is similar to rotten eggs, this may be because your catalytic converter has gone bad. The root cause could be an engine or emissions system problem that made the converter overheat, thus causing the rotten egg smell.
 
 
Moldy, Musty Air - When you turn your air conditioning on and it emits a musty smell from the vent, mold or mildew has probably formed in the air conditioning system.
 
 
Burnt Paper - The smell of burnt paper while driving, especially when changing gears, might be a sign that the clutch is burning off as it slips. The friction created burns the paper-based clutch facings. 
 
 
Burning Rubber - Slipping drive belts or loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys could cause a burned rubber smell. 
 
 
Burnt Toast - Are you smelling burnt toast? That could be a short circuit in an electrical component or overheated insulation. Take electrical odors seriously because short circuits and overheated components may cause a fire.
 
 
Gas Fumes - Smelling gas while filling up at the gas station is common. But if you smell constant gas fumes, it may be a sign of a gas leak probably from the fuel injector line or gas tank. Gas leaks can result in a possible fire hazard, so immediate attention should be given to the issue. 
 
When you smell any peculiar odor in your vehicle, do not ignore it. Take your vehicle to a professional service technician and get an informed opinion on the nature of the odor. Bad smells can lead to expensive repairs or health hazards and shouldn’t be ignored. If your cars unpleasant smells aren’t from any mechanical malfunction, then an extensive cleaning of your car can be done so your car smells better. Vacuuming is a great way to get rid of a lot of different bad car smells. Baking soda, charcoal and other car care products can absorb smelly particles and remove them from your vehicle.
 
Visit Your Local Auto Repair Shop to Diagnose Any Vehicle Issues
There are a many different factors that can cause bad smells in cars, and some of them require help from a pro. Auto repair professionals have the experience required to identify hidden sources of odors and the equipment required to stamp them out for good. If you are smelling strange smells in your vehicle, make an appointment at the auto repair shop nearest you!

 

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