Do You Know What These 5 Car Smells Mean and How They May Indicate Something Is Seriously Wrong?

by | Dec 23, 2021

Did you know that how your car smells could indicate that something is seriously wrong? If youโ€™ve been a vehicle owner for very long, youโ€™re probably familiar with different car sounds and what they could mean. But, how about car smells?ย 

Once that new car odor has worn off, there are other smells that could indicate a problem with your vehicle. Some mean that repairs are urgently needed while others signify a problem that needs to be addressed at some point but may not be an emergency.

Letโ€™s look at some of the most common car smells so you can make โ€˜scentsโ€™ of them should you ever notice them coming from your own vehicle.

5 Car Smells You Shouldnโ€™t Ignore

Maple Syrup – Unless youโ€™re visiting a place thatโ€™s actually making maple syrup, you should never notice this smell in your vehicle. If you do notice a sweet odor when the car is either running or has just been turned off, you could have a leaking radiator or other heating system leak. Since radiator failure is one of the most common reasons for cars to overheat, youโ€™ll want to get your car to a mechanic as soon as you can.

Sulfur – If you smell something akin to rotten eggs emanating from your vehicle, itโ€™s not likely to be from groceries left in the trunk. Rather, it could be a problem with your catalytic converter, an important component of your vehicleโ€™s exhaust system. Thanks to the high prevalence of catalytic converter theft in the last year, you could have to wait a while to get a new one, so get this issue looked at ASAP.

Gas – Sometimes, a gasoline smell could be as simple as you spilling some on your hands or shoes when filling up the tank. If you havenโ€™t just filled up at gas station, the problem could be more serious – a fuel injection line leak or other fuel-related hose leak. This is one of those car smells that warrants immediate attention!

Burned Carpet – You may notice this smell if youโ€™ve been using the brakes hard, or for a significant amount of time, like when youโ€™re driving down a mountain. If it shows up when youโ€™re driving normally, however, beware. You could have a seized part in your vehicleโ€™s braking system. We recommend a thorough brake inspection by your mechanic as soon as you can get your vehicle to the shop.

Burned Rubber – Here, weโ€™re not talking about what you smell when your tires burn out as you accelerate quickly to avoid an oncoming vehicle. Weโ€™re referring to the smell of burning rubber when youโ€™re simply driving along, minding your own business. The culprit could be a much-too-hot drive belt, caused by the alternator or tensioner exerting too much friction. This is one of those car smells you want to get checked out before it leaves you stranded on the side of the road.

Expert Auto Repairs in Tempe, AZ

Recognizing these common car smells and what they could mean doesnโ€™t mean you should try to diagnose and repair the problem yourself. However, it could be helpful information for you to pass along to your mechanic.

At Good Works Auto Repair, weโ€™re committed to providing you with top quality auto repairs at an affordable price. So, when you notice a strange sound, smell, or anything else different about your vehicle, donโ€™t delay. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today and weโ€™ll help you continue to drive safely.



And experience QUALITY auto service backed by a 5 year / 60,000 mile warranty! Callย 480-894-0018ย or

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