What is that?
Is my car actually making that smell?
That can’t be good…
We recently came across some information on CarCare.org that we wanted to share with you to make sure that you’re staying safe on the road. A lot of times a bad or weird smell can mean serious car trouble. So while Team Acme can’t actually fix any of these issues for you, we want to make sure that you know what to do in an emergency and can find the help you need.
And if you do notice one of these smells and want to find a mechanic, CarCare.org offers a great resource called Find a Shop, which you can use to find a local mechanic no matter where you are or what you’re driving. If you’re more of the DIY type, you can also find the nearest parts store.
So what smells are cause for concern while you’re driving?
1. Burnt Rubber
If something starts smelling like burnt rubber, it could mean slipping drive belts or misplaced, loose hoses that could be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do NOT reach under the hood if your engine is still hot. Wait until it cools off a bit.
2. Hot Oil
This smell could mean that oil is leaking onto your exhaust system. To see if it’s actually you that’s leaking, pull over, park, and turn off the engine. Always turn off the engine before checking a leak. If you notice oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area, you’ve got a problem.
If you smell gasoline, it most likely means that you have a gas leak, possibly in the fuel injector line or the fuel tank itself. Any smell of fuel is a possible fire hazard, so make sure you attend to it immediately. Pull over to the side of the road and call for help. Get a tow. Don’t keep driving if you have or suspect a fuel leak.
The sickly-sweet smell of syrup may mean that you’re leaking coolant from something related to the car’s cooling system. Don’t open the radiator cap when it’s hot. Once it’s cool and see how low your coolant is. Give it a top off and keep an eye on it. If it drains quickly or you notice spots in the driveway, you’ll want to get that taken care of.
5. Burning Carpet
This could be a sign of brake trouble. Have your brakes checked right away – especially if this smell happens under normal driving conditions. Brake trouble is a serious safety hazard, so don’t put off going to a mechanic.
6. Rotten Eggs
That wasn’t your passenger! It’s your car. This smell could mean that your catalytic converter isn’t converting hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust to sulfur dioxide properly. A poorly running engine can cause your catalytic converter to become overloaded and fail due to meltdown, so you’ll want to get this checked out as well. Not to mention, a bad converter is bad for the environment!
Find a Local Mechanic
While Team Acme can’t troubleshoot or fix these issues for you, we do want you to be safe and urge you to get to a local mechanic as soon as you can to get any of these issues addressed. If you’re too far from your regular mechanic or are from out of state, make sure you give CarCare.org’s Find a Shop feature a try.