The Common Car Smells: What Do They Mean

Car Care

Car Care Sometimes, the odour emitted by your car can alert you that there is a problem. The mixture of highly volatile gases, rubber, and oil among others can be considered a concoction made especially for the nose to detect. However, sophisticated your olfactory sense may be if you simply do not know how to interpret these olfactory messages, would it make a difference?

The key to understanding auto smells is to associate each kind of odor to a particular component of your car. If you know this, it will already be easy to identify the problem.

Burning Smell

The smell of burnt rubber will help you to narrow down your usual suspects to those parts of the car that is primarily composed of rubber. These can include loose hoses and slipping drive belts.

On the other hand, a burning smell in the car could also mean an electrical short circuit. You will definitely need a Tauranga auto electrical expert if a burning smell occurs, as this could also mean problems with the brakes, clutch, or car heater core.

Rotten Eggs

The smell of rotten eggs should alert you to the presence of sulfur in your car’s system. Since hydrogen sulfide needs to be processed by your catalytic converter before it is passed out through the exhaust in the form of sulfur dioxide, your problem will be on the catalytic converter itself.

Sweet But Toxic

The sweet smell emanating from under the hood especially a few minutes after being started is an indication of antifreeze leak. The leak can come from a cylinder head, a radiator hose, a heater hose, a leaking radiator cap, or even a busted gasket of the intake manifold.


You should never smell gasoline except when you fill your car up. However, if you can smell gasoline from under your hood or that you are having difficulty starting your car it is most likely caused by flooding in the engine. A problem with the fuel injection system, the carburetor, the fuel pump, and the fuel hoses and lines can also become possible sources of gasoline smell.

Knowing these common car smells can help you isolate the problem. If you do smell any of these signs, it is always best to have your car thoroughly checked by a professional mechanic.

About Eleanor Sharp
Eleanor Sharp is the author of AGSE Law. As a paralegal, she has worked with attorneys in many fields to ensure their clients get the best advice and representation. She is passionate about helping people understand the complexities of the legal system so they can make better decisions for themselves. Eleanor loves reading, travel, and spending time with her family. She hopes her articles will help others navigate life’s legal intricacies with confidence.