Automotive Repair Blog: Tips, Facts, and Fixes

5 Unusual Car Smells & What They Mean

We've all experienced some unusual odors while driving on the road before. Whether it's the gruesome smell of a skunk spray or another vehicle leaking gasoline, we just wait for it to disappear. However, what do you do if the scent doesn't go away after a while? A persistent smell in your vehicle can be an indication that there is a problem from within.

Certain fumes are less urgent than others, but you should be on the lookout for what they could mean. Whenever you notice an unusual scent in your car, you should bring it to Pro Auto Care for an inspection immediately.


Fuel: The gasoline detection could mean that your car has a fuel leak, which could come from two areas: the fuel injector line or the fuel tank.


Sweet Syrup: If your car smells like IHOP or Waffle House, multiple problems are possible. Sometimes this can be attributed to a leak from your radiator, cylinder head, or manifold gasket. If the smell is robust and coming from the cabin, it could also be an issue with the heater core. It is highly recommended that you go to an auto expert to find the root of the problem.


Rotten Eggs: Spoiled eggs stench usually suggests that a problem exists with your catalytic converter. The part may not be processing hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust system. If this is the case, this can be a severe health issue for passengers in the car. Take your vehicle to the auto shop immediately.


Burning Paper: A burnt paper scent is a sign of a brake system issue. This odor will arise after extended use of the brakes. Your brake pads could very well be overheated. Our expert technicians can conduct a thorough inspection and replace your brakes, or brake pads if needed.


Burning Rubber: A burnt rubber scent could be occurring from a drive belt or loose hose rubbing against its pulleys. It can come about from transmission or engine defects. 


If you've noticed any of the five strange smells mentioned above, please don't ignore them. We highly advise you to bring your vehicle into our shop to be inspected immediately. Our team of experts can locate the problem and repair what is necessary to get you safely back on the road again.