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5 Unusual Odors from Your Vehicle



f you smell something stinky coming from your automobile then you likely have a problem. Before you panic though, there is a way that you can do a little nose detective work to determine what is going on. Thatís right. With a little whiff test, you might be able to clearly diagnose your carís problem and be able to fix it in a jiffy. For instance, do you small a chemical, acid chemical, rotten egg, burned acid, or burning leaves smell? In this article we will examine all of these smells and what might be causing them.


  • Chemical Smell: This smell sometimes smells like a stinky and rotten old refrigerator. You might smell this odor inside or outside of the car after driving it. This could be caused if the coolant is leaking from the heater core inside the car.  If this is the case, you might also see an oily film deposit on the inside of the windows or windshield.


  • Acid Smell: You typically only smell this after the car is hot. This smell might seem to emanate out of the tailpipe if there is coolant leaking into your combustion chamber. If you smell this type of smell, make sure you check the coolant levels and watch for losses so that you donít have any fires.


  • Rotten Eggs: OK, have you ever had an Easter egg and then found it months later, well this is what you will smell if you have an overly rich fuel mixture. The horrible rotten egg smell is caused by the catalytic converter being too cold to properly burn off the engineís rich mixture. If this rotten small exists, then you definitely need to get this checked out and fast.


  • Burned Plastic: This stinky smell might be the result of overheated wiring. To check and see if this is it, turn off all electrical accessories and if the smell goes away then you have your culprit. You can also feel the fuse box to determine if it is the source of the smell. Then, unplug the fuses on e at a time feeling each for any evidence of a heat problem.  You might also try smelling each wheel for dragging brakes.


  • Burning Leaves: Sometimes leaves get into your heater duct and fall against the blower motor resistor. This causes the resistor to get very hot and any debris lodged there gets burned. Try removing the resistor to determine if there are burned leaves. If you see some, then remove them quickly and this should eliminate the smell.


Finally, if you smell a foul odor coming from your car, take your car to your mechanic for a thorough check up to be sure that itís nothing serious.  If your mechanic canít find where the other is coming from, try using a professional cleaning treatment Ė it could be nothing more than something your kids may have spilled in the car which was not cleaned up properly.  If you donít want to use a professional cleaner, home remedies can sometimes take care of the problem.  If the odor continues even after you have used a professional cleaner, get a second opinion  Your mechanic may have missed something the first time around. In the meantime, go to your local auto parts store and get a strong air freshner!


Also see

Your Car's Mechanical Condition

What's That Strange Noise?  Common Noises and What They May Mean -what are your ears telling you?

Drip, Drip, Drip.  Diagnosing Your Car's Leaks -Red, Clear, Black, or Green.  What does it all mean? 

What Grade of Gasoline to Use? -Regular, Mid-Grade, or Premium.  How do you decide?

Emergency: What To Do If Your Brakes Fail -you're driving down the road and the brakes fail.  5 tips.




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