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Odd Vehicle Smells and What They Mean

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Have you ever noticed an usual car smell? Vehicles use various fluids, and when something goes wrong, an odd smell may become apparent. Bad car smells can indicate a mechanical problem and, if neglected, can lead to expensive repairs. If you need help sniffing out the odd scent coming from the vehicle, below is a list of common smells and what they could mean. 

Sweet syrup smell
Coolant as an active ingredient called ethylene glycol. If you notice a sweet syrup smell, this can signal there’s a coolant leak in the heating system or radiator.

Burning smell
A burning smell can indicate that one of your rubber hoses has deteriorated or become loose. A loose hose can burn due to moving across hot engine parts. Additionally, if oil leaks on hot engine parts, a strong burning smell may be noticeable.

Musty Smell
A musty smell usually comes from the A/C vents due to excess moisture accumulating in the air vents. Excess moisture causes mold and mildew build up in the system and causes a musty odor.

Rotten Eggs
Rotten egg smells can signal a bad catalytic converter or a malfunctioning fuel system. Hydrogen sulfide is present in gasoline. If there’s a break in the converter, the sulfur smell can’t be transformed into its odorless form. The hydrogen sulfide will emit a noticeable rotten egg smell. 

If you recently fueled up, the smell of gas can linger for a bit. Check your clothing or shoes to ensure you didn’t accidentally drop a bit. If the smell lasts longer an hour, it may indicate a leaky fuel tank, injector, or a broken gas cap. It’s best to have your vehicle inspected to root out the cause of the odor. 

If you notice a strange smell coming from your vehicle, Green Auto Plus is here to help. Our ASE certified technicians here in Brockton, MA, are skilled at identifying odors with bumper to bumper vehicle inspections. We pride ourselves in offering service based on honesty and integrity. If your vehicle is emitting any of the above smells, click here to schedule an appointment. We’d be happy to serve you. 

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