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Smells that may indicate your car needs a checkup

Posted by Scott Stueber on Mar 30, 2021 9:45:48 AM

Car smells you shouldnt ignoreIf you have kids, there’s no telling how many different smells can be in your car. While they have no problem bringing things into the car, it’s amazing that not everything makes it out. And with warmer temperatures, it doesn’t take long for an obnoxious smell to start lingering in your car.

Here are some smells to pay attention to if they linger in your car for more than a few hours.

1. Rotten eggs.

Initially, when you start your car, especially on a cold day, your car’s exhaust may smell. That’s common because a cold engine doesn’t run as efficiently and releases more unburned hydrocarbons. However, if the egg smell is present each time you drive your car, it could result from a damaged catalytic converter. Please be aware that catalytic converter theft has increased significantly. If it’s been removed from your car, it will sound very loud. To learn more, click here.

2. Musty attic or basement.

When you turn on your car’s air conditioner for the first time each year, it may smell musty. Recently, my daughter complained of that smell in her car. If your car smells like this, there could be a couple of things going on. First, it could simply be from lack of use. Running the A/C for a while may clear up the problem. If the smell doesn’t return, the issue will likely be resolved. If it doesn’t go away, I recommend checking your cabin filter. If you’re unaware of this filter, it’s likely time for a new one. A cabin filter’s job is to collect airborne particles before they enter your car. Particles include pollutants, pollen, and dust. Cars manufactured after 2000 should have them. Filters are usually located behind your glove box. Refer to your owner’s manual to learn more. Last, check for mold or mildew buildup in your car’s vents.

3. Breakfast.

Nothing beats a waffle loaded with maple syrup and whipped cream. And don’t forget a glass of chocolate milk. However, if your car has a sweet smell like syrup, it could be a sign of a coolant/anti-freeze leak. Engine coolant does a couple of different things, so getting your car inspected timely is important. First, it keeps your engine cool and prevents it from overheating. Second, it lubricates engine components and keeps them running efficiently. Last, it heats your car and keeps you nice and warm on cold days. If you have pets, keep them away from coolant that may have leaked on your garage floor. Its sweet taste could cause them to lick it. A small amount is highly poisonous and can have deadly consequences.

4. Gas station.

It’s common to smell gas after you fill up your car. A small amount of gas could be on your hands or shoes. However, if the smell gets worse and it’s present every time you drive your car, there could be a more severe issue lurking underneath your hood. I’d recommend taking it to your local mechanic immediately. There could be a leak coming from a damaged hose, which could cause a fire.

5. Burned shag carpet.

Properly functioning brakes play a huge role in keeping us safe on our daily drives. If your calipers aren’t working correctly, your brakes may not release properly when you let off the brake pedal. This could cause unwanted rubbing, making your brake pads wear down quickly. Also, make sure your parking brake is disengaged.

6. Hot oil.

This smell could mean your engine is leaking oil and falling on your exhaust manifold. Check your driveway or garage floor for oil spots. Also, check your oil level to ensure you have an adequate amount in your engine. Low oil could lead to engine failure. For assistance, refer to your owner’s manual.

While this may not be an all-inclusive list, it provides some guidance to help keep your car in good working condition and can keep you and others safe on our roadways.

Do you have any suggestions or information you’d like to share? I’d love to hear from you. Please share them in the box below.


Topics: Auto Safety

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