What Does the Odd Sound or Smell Coming From My Car Mean?

Your vehicle’s owner’s manual is a useful resource. It includes maintenance schedules, and a comprehensive overview of your vehicle. However, there is information that you need to know about your vehicle that your owner’s manual won’t tell you. Odd sounds or odors coming from your car can be an early sign that something is wrong with you vehicle. Paying close attention to the sounds and smells emitted from your vehicle can help you catch problems early on and fix them before they turn into more costly major maintenance issues.

Odd Smells

* Burning Rubber – The smell of burning rubber is usually the result of pressing the gas while the car breaks are on. Overheated tires are a common cause of the burning rubber smell.

* Fuel – It is somewhat normal to smell fuel if there was an overflow during a fill-up. However, if the smell persists, this could be a sign that your fuel tank vent is clogged.

* Exhaust or Oil – The smell of oil or exhaust could mean several things. There may be too much oil in the engine. If this is the case, simply wait for the excess oil to burn off the engine. If you do not have too much oil, your engine oil could actually be old, and may have started to burn. Your vehicle may be due for an oil change, which should be performed every 3,000 miles. An oil smell may also be the result of an overheated engine.

* Must – Musty odors are usually indicative of excess water trapped in the vehicle. A common location for excess water in a vehicle is the carpet. Even if the carpet appears to be dry, the musty smell tells another story. Perhaps there is water trapped between the floor of the vehicle and the carpet. Left untreated, this excess moisture can cause the vehicle’s floor to corrode, as well as eat away at the carpet. Excess water can also be found in the vehicle’s trunk, which means you will need to clean or replace the damaged trunk floor, and repair the trunk’s lining to keep moisture out.

* Sweat – A sweat-like smell may be emitted from your vehicle when your alternator is going bad. The smell comes from burnt varnish.

* Smoke – If you smell electrical smoke, turn your engine off immediately and disconnect the battery. Open the hood of the car, and call a professional for help. Running a car after you smell electrical smoke can be extremely dangerous. The smell of smoke could also be the result of the inner sound-proof lining near the engine burning. While this is a less dangerous situation than smoke caused by an electrical problem, it can still be dangerous.

Odd Sounds

* Backfiring – If your vehicle backfires during normal driving conditions, you could have a serious problem on your hands. Get your vehicle checked by a professional immediately.

* Changing Engine Sounds – You should be familiar with how your vehicle feels and sounds on the road, including the sound of your engine. A significant change in the way your engine sounds could be a sign that your engine is overheating. Either pull over for a while to let the engine cool down or reduce/vary your speed. If the odd sound continues, check the water and radiator levels after your engine has had an opportunity to cool down.

* Knocking – Knocking sounds coming from the hood of your vehicle are probably coming from the engine. This could mean that you need to shift to a lower gear. If the sound continues, you should get your oil and engine checked.

* Clicking – Clicking sounds from the steering wheel could be the result of faulty bearings. However, this clicking could also be caused by little rocks or other debris that has been caught in the tread pattern.

* Squealing – Squealing is usually an indicator that the fan belt needs to be replaced.

* Clicking – If you hear clicking that comes from the front wheels when you turn the vehicle, you may have a problem with the front shaft. You should have it checked as soon as possible so the shaft doesn’t fall apart, as a repair is usually less expensive than a full replacement.