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5 Main Causes Of Burning Smell From Car Issue

5 Main Causes Of Burning Smell From Car Issue
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There could be several reasons behind burning smell from car that we might not know yet. For example, such a smell usually comes when two surfaces rub against each other. In some situations, you can fix this by your own. In others, you must stop the car immediately. But how can you distinguish each cases? Here’s what could have possibly happened to your car if you smell something burning.

Burning Smell From Car – What Could Be Happening?


 burning smell from car
The first part to look at is the clutch

Many times, burning smell from car may come from the clutch. It happens whenever you shift gears and the smell is usually similar to that of a burning newspaper. So you can recognize this quite easy.

In this cases, the clutch’s face burns off when it slips. It smells papery because the surface of the clutch is a type of paper mesh. For avoid this, it’s important to learn using the clutch properly. As a thumb rule, don’t ride the clutch; doing this often leads to replacing the clutch entirely.


burning smell from car
The brake is another part to check when you have burning smell from car

Your brakes can also emit a car burning smell. It usually happens if you ride the brakes hard. While going down a steep hill with the brakes slammed hard, the friction may burn the brakes leading to the emission of smoke, lead to the  burning smell from car.

It’s not a problem if it happens rarely. However, base on our maintenance tips, you should take it seriously if the smell is more regular. A caliper piston could have seized, causing the brakes to drag.

In this situation,you need to take your car to the mechanic. Leaving the hand brakes up, while driving, is another reason behind burnt brakes.

Electrical Short

burning smell from car
Burning smell from car might also comes from electrical short circuit

A major cause of burning smell from car is the electrical short circuit in the engine. The plastic coating on wires, fuses, or other connections may produce the smell.

The solution for this problem is quite easy. All you need to do is to fix the electrical system to avoid major problems running the car. Take your car to the garage and let the inspector connect the engine to a computer which will immediately identify the problem.

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Smell From The Heater

car burning smell
Check for the trash inside the heater

If all the above parts are working perfectly, check the heater if you smell something burning. There could be dust accumulation in the system if you haven’t used the heater since long. But if the burning smell from car still presents even after you use the heater regularly, then you may have particles or some debris clogging the vent.

People often find plastic bags and other objects stuck in the engine, causing the burning smell. However, maybe the heater itself is broken and the antifreeze is leaking into the vents. This could also cause the smell. Worse still, some part of the heater could be broken or have melted to cause the smell. It usually happens with the heater’s motor. If the smell gets stronger and you find no debris stuck to the vent, immediately take your car to the mechanic. Get the heater checked along with other suspected parts.  

Burning Oil

burning smell from car
Burning oil can be very dangerous

This is one of the most common causes of burning smell from car. You may have an oil leak. This often causes the oil to enter the exhaust pipe. The pipe is hot while the car is running and you may get a strong smell, sometimes white smoke from exhaust pipe .

It’s a common phenomenon while driving uphill when you have to rev the engine more. Of course, the smoke is often visible when you step out of the car and check the exhaust pipe, so it is much easy to notice. There could be fumes as well because of the burning oil.

Whatever be the cause, never ignore a car burning smell. It may lead to bigger damages.

  1. Stanley Mafoa says

    how about if a car is automatic but sometime gear is slow or take time to shift.?

    1. Mutuma says

      Sometimes it’s due to old transmission oil, which may need changing immediately

  2. Chris Munyole says

    This is good info, keep it up.

    1. amin says

      Thank you for your appreciation

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