So, Your Car’s Making a Weird Smell

April 15th, 2013 by

clutch replacementYour senses are on your side when it comes to detecting problems with your vehicle. You spend enough time in your car to know when something doesn’t look, feel, sound, or smell right. (We really wouldn’t recommend including taste into your vehicle diagnostic repertoire.)

While the senses of sight, hearing, and touch seem apparent, many people don’t recognize the considerable amount of power their nose has in sniffing out a problem. Though our nasal capablities aren’t as highly adept as animals like dogs, our nose has been an important part of survival and evolution.

So let’s put those sniffing powers to good use and go over a few rancid vehicle odors and what kind of maintenance issue they might be associated with.  As in all of these cases, the problem should be immediately addressed by an experienced vehicle technician.

  • Smells like old burnt sneakers or carpet. If you smell this after you’ve been using your brakes heavily, it’s a good sign that your brake pads are burning. It probably also means that they’ve “crystallized,” meaning that they’ve become extremely ineffective at doing they’re job. Stay safe and get them checked out.
  • Smells like a locker room or unwashed socks. If you turn on the air and are hit with this unpleasant aroma, you’ve probably got mold in your air system. Chances are that it is isolated to just your cabin air filter.
  • Smells like rotten eggs. There is probably a problem with your catalytic converter. Another sure sign that this is the source is if your “check engine light” is on. Letting this go will most likely cause you to fail your next emissions test, and could possibly lead to a vehicle fire.
  • Smells like burning newspaper. If you drive a manual transmission car, your clutch plate probably needs to be replaced. If you drive an automatic vehicle, well, get it checked out anyway. A burning smell is never good.
  • Smells like something sweet, like maple syrup. You’ve probably got a leak in your cooling system. If you notice that there is a fluid dripping from underneath your radiator onto your driveway, be sure to clean it up. It tastes sweet, and if it is ingested by pets, it can be fatal.

Something stinky? Why not give Cox Mazda a call? We’ve got plenty of experience in diagnosing a wide range of vehicle problems. Working with us can help you to get your problem fixed and your car smelling fresh again, all for a no-pain, competitive price.

To make an appointment, either give us a call or use our online scheduler.