Different Smells on Car: Where Do they Come from?

Do you have a sensitive nose when it comes to car smells? Good for you. The phenomenon of the new upholstery may have been a problem only with the older models. But, those are not the only smells that can pester you. There are a number of other smells that can mean a lot, and danger is usually one of the meanings. Those of us who are not used to driving a lot may not even realize the presence of any peculiar smell. Some of us may simply take it as the usual smell of a locked up cabin. But, these are much more than just a heated-up cabin.

5 Car Smells that Spell Trouble

Each smell in a car tells you that something is wrong. If you test driving an used car, make sure that you take notice of any such peculiar smell. Even if you own a new car, such odors could indicate a serious problem.

Here are 5 of such odors you must be aware of:

Gym Locker

It is common to get a whiff of a stuffy, musty gym locker when you switch off the air conditioner. The mildew growing inside the a/c evaporator is the cause behind it. A lot of people try to treat it by pouring Listerine in the vents. Take a great maintenance tip – don’t do it!

Avoiding Car Smells
Never underestimate Car Smells as they can be a symptom of Car Problems (photo source: pestkill.org)

Mildew growth is something that does happen over time. Simply turn off the a/c a few minutes before reaching the destination and turn of the fan. This lets the system dry itself out.

Maple Syrup

This smell usually rises after the engine has warmed. It could also arise after you shut the engine for a few minutes. This sweet smell is that of the leaking ethylene glycol. This coolant could be leaking from the heat hose, or a radiator, or even a cylinder head. If the smell is outside the car it could probably be leaking from a loose radiator cap. If it is inside, it means there is an issue with the heater. Get is checked ASAP to avoid further damage.

     SEE MORE:

Burnt Paper

These sorts of car smells could be constant while driving, but more intense while shifting gears. The reason is the burning of the clutch facing. It happens as the clutch slips. It smells like burning newsprint. And, there is a reason why it smells so. The composition of the friction material is paper. So, go easy on the clutch. Driving with your foot constantly on the clutch pedal can cause this. If it is in a very bad shape, replace it already.

Sulfur Smell

car smells
Clean your car regularly to avoid any type of Car smells. (photo source: Auto Mode/Truebil)

When the car has been stationary after a long drive, suddenly an omnipresent sulfurous smell emanates and stays all the time. The reason could be gear lube leakage. It could be in the differential, manual transmission or transfer case. After a few years of servicing the sulfur in the lube oil can become unstable. Typically, you will be able to find small oil puddles under the car. And, this is why you should never skip car service. Make a trip there ASAP.

Rotten Eggs

While the engine runs, it could smell like rotten eggs everywhere. The production of hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust causes the smell. The trouble in this case could lie either in fuel-injection system or with the catalytic converter. Chances are that the converter may have failed due to working beyond its conversion capacity because of impurities in Gasoline.

If the trouble lies with the fuel injector, a good mechanic can fix it. However, if it is a defunct catalytic converter, that’s a good expense, you will have to bear to replace it.

So, the next time when any of these car smells torture your olfactory senses, do not ignore them.