My Car...Why Does It Stink??
December 13th, 2016
Sometimes a car can get a real smell to it…and no, we don’t mean the smell that comes from leftover fast food wrappers or spilled sodas. Sometimes a bad smell can mean a real problem is developing:
--A sickly, sweetish maple-syrup/chemical smell is likely coolant. It could mean, if you’re lucky, a leak in a radiator or heater hose…or if you’re not lucky, a failed intake manifold gasket or cylinder head gasket. If you smell the odor inside the passenger compartment, check the passenger floorboard for moisture; it could mean the heater core is leaking.
--A smell like gym socks most likely means mildew growing in the A/C system. The condenser in the system should also be drying the air, but in older vehicles, mildew can still accumulate. In most cases, running the fan on high with the A/C turned off can be enough to make this smell go away.
--A strong smell of sulfur usually means a leak of heavy gear lube from the differential housing or manual transmission (if so equipped). These heavy oils contain sulfur compounds to help the oil work better under extreme pressure. Look for leaks of thick, viscous oil…unfortunately, a differential leak usually means a trip to the shop.
--Rotten-egg smell can mean either an emissions problem or (more likely) a problem with the catalytic converter. Catalytic converters actually superheat exhaust gasses to neutralize them before they exit the tailpipe. Catalytic converters are expensive, but they don’t fail often – and when they do, chances are they’re covered under warranty.
--A smell like burning paper and chemicals can mean either overheated brakes or a failing clutch. In the case of a clutch (if so equipped), it’s due to the fact that the clutch facing is actually made from a paper composition.
--Hot motor oil from a leak is an unmistakable sort of stink. It’s acrid and dark-smelling, much more pungent than the smell of burned cooking oil. Gaskets can shrink and dry out on older vehicles, causing leaks at the valve covers or (worse) crankshaft seals. This is one you won’t want to put off getting fixed, if only to be rid of that smell.
At Goodyear of Buckhead, we really hope your car doesn’t stink…but if you smell something, make an appointment with us!