Paying attention to your car’s health goes beyond just keep your eyes and ears peeled—it’s about using your nose, too. The nose certainly knows when something is amiss, so it’s only logical that you begin shifting your focus. While the lingering smell of fries and old socks may be overwhelming your nose, bad smells beyond those items strewn around your vehicle can actually tell you about your car’s health.
Bad aroma pertains to things going wrong in your car’s system, such as rotten eggs and burning rubber. Ignoring such odors can eventually lead to mechanical problems, which can be costly in terms of repairs. In worst cases, such problems can endanger your life.
As soon as you smell any peculiar odors, it’s time to bring your vehicle to a professional service. To ensure that your nose never mistakes danger from last night’s takeout, here are the smell warning signals of a mechanical problem:
Sign #1: A burning carpet
Anything burning is never a good sign, but a smell that reminds you of a burning carpet should be met with alertness. This odor could be a sign of brake trouble, so pull over to the nearest safe place right away. Have your brakes checked as soon as you can, but never keep driving for long periods without getting it checked—you risk endangering your life.
Sign #2: The smell of rotten eggs
This is another odor that should never be ignored—while the smell of rotten eggs is enough to make one’s skin crawl, having such a presence in your vehicle likely indicates a poorly running engine, as well as catalytic converter issues. If left unchecked, your converter will ultimately go through a meltdown, which can be costly.
Sign #3: The sudden smell of sweet syrup
The seemingly sweet scent will likely be your engine coolant, which is leaking from your car’s cooling system. If left unattended, this will eventually seep into other parts of your engine, causing it to break down and overheat. If you wish to check the radiator, touch the cap only after your car has cooled down—accessing it during its breakdown can lead to catastrophic consequences.
Sign #4: The terrifying scent of burning rubber
As with a burning carpet, the smell of burning rubber warrants alertness and alarm. This smell likely indicates a slipping drive belt, as well as lose hoses that may be causing damage to your drive pulleys. Once you notice the smell, pullover to a safe location and wait for your car to cool down—only then should you inspect the damage.
Sign #5: The smell of gasoline
There’s no need to ring the alarm bells while filling up at the gas station, but if you smell it often as you’re driving, this means you’re dealing with a gas leak. It could likely be running from your gas tank or fuel injector line, which poses a probable fire hazard. With that in mind, any smell of fuel should be dealt with immediately to avoid disastrous events.
The Bottom Line
Your car is an investment, but like with anything else in the world, it will eventually break down and require repairs. While keeping your eyes and ears peeled for any signs of damage is necessary, remember that any presence of foul odor should be a cause for alarm. It likely means something’s wrong with your car, and although unseen, it’s best to visit the professionals as soon as possible.
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