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What Is Causing My Car To Smell Bad?

Car SmellMost people love the smell of a new car, but it doesn’t take long for that smell to fade. Nowadays, your car probably smells like old socks or stale cheetos, but today, we’re going to take a look at some car smells that signal there’s a problem with your car. Here are some common smells that indicate you should bring your car into a mechanic.

What’s That Smell?

A Sweet, Sugary Smell – Does your car smell like maple syrup after a few minutes or after you’ve turned the engine off? You might enjoy the smell, but odds are you’re leaking ethylene glycol. Generally the leak is located in the radiator or heater hose, but an issue with the intake manifold or cylinder head could also be causing the problem. If you can find the leak, you might be able to patch it on your own, otherwise you’ll be wise to bring it into the shop.

Smells Like Teen Socks – If your car smells like gym socks, but your car is clean, odds are the smell is coming from inside your AC system. Mold or mildew could be causing the ugly stentch, and you can try to air out the system by running the heat for a while, but odds are that’s only a short term fix. A mechanic should be able to clean out the system and rid your car of the locker room smell.

Rotten Eggs or Worse – Gym socks stink, but if the smell is rancid, or if it smells like rotten eggs, there are a few things that could be wrong with your car. Gear lube, which contains sulfur compounds, could be leaking, or you may be smelling hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust. If your catalytic converter isn’t working properly, the trace amounts of sulfur in your gasoline may not be turning into sulfur dioxide like they should. A catalytic converter isn’t something you should replace on your own, so give your local body shop a call.

Gasoline – If your car smells like gasoline, and you didn’t just spill a few drops on your jeans at the pump, you’re probably leaking gasoline from somewhere. Good places to check are your fuel injection line and your vent hose. If you know what you’re doing, you may be able to patch this leak on your own.

A Burnt Smell – If your car has a burnt smell to it, but it’s not emitting smoke, you probably have a problem with your brakes. The smell could be coming from worn brake pads or rotors, or a seized up brake caliber piston. Or, the problem could be even simpler – you may have left the parking brake engaged.

If you smell a funky smell inside your car or under your hood, give the mechanics at Affordable Auto Service a call today!


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