What’s That Smell?: Car Engine Edition

What the Smells Coming From Your Engine Mean

Common Smells From Car Engines

When you’re driving, the only thing you want to smell in the cabin is your air freshener. However, sometimes, you’ll notice an odd smell emanating from your engine, and you may wonder: what’s that smell coming from your engine, and what does it mean? Well, when you turn on your car, a series of reactions occurs – your engine will start up and burn some of the fuel that’s in it. You may be able to smell some of the compounds from your engine starting up, including gasoline, nitrogen dioxide, and oil vapor. Also, various parts of your engine put out different smells. These smells are normal; you can usually decrease their intensity by opening your windows. But there are some other car engine smells that may be more concerning.

Engine Smells That Indicate Issues

If your car smells like rotten eggs, especially first thing in the morning, that can indicate a few different things: a fuel or air supply problem, sulfur from oil burning in the engine, or a malfunctioning catalytic converter.

If your car smells fruity or like maple syrup, that can mean that your coolant system is being blocked by something: a buildup of dirt, oil, or gas, for example.

If your car smells musty, like mold or mildew, that can mean there’s moisture buildup inside your car. It can indicate a clogged air filter or something leaking through your trunk. Lead can also cause this kind of smell. You can check your air filters to see if they’re clogged, but it may be time to call a mechanic if you can’t identify the source of the musty odor.

If your engine smells strongly of smoke or burning oil, that could be a problem with your car’s engine piston rings, a clogged air filter, or a loose battery cable. This smell could also indicate a more severe problem, so bring your car in to get diagnosed as soon as you notice it.

If your car smells like burning carpet, that could be an issue with your air filter: either it’s dirty or defective. However, it can also indicate a broken injector – if left untreated, broken fuel injectors can lead your engine to fail, so you should definitely get your car checked out.

If you notice a strong burning rubber smell coming out of your engine, that could indicate a larger problem with either your car’s brake pads or suspension system. As this can be a matter of safety and lead to more severe issues down the line, that’s definitely something you should get checked out.

Engine Repair in Craig, CO

So now you know about some of the most common strange engine smells. If you notice weird smells coming out of your car, don’t panic! Bring it in to see a mechanic you can trust, like the team at Chapman’s Automotive.

Written by Developer Autoshop