What to Do If There’s a Burning Smell from Your Car

These days everyone desires to own a four wheeler. However before hitting the roads, it is quite essential for you to understand the safety parameters of your vehicle so that you know exactly what’s going wrong with it, just in case. One of the most important safety parameters is to identify any burning odor from the vehicle and not to ignore it. Necessary steps should be taken to figure out the cause of the problem and to fix it. There are several reasons due to which a burning smell can occur in your car:

burning smell from car

  • Burning smell from the Clutch: This type of burning smell occurs while changing gears. So if you ride the clutch, then it could result in the clutch being worn out. So, when you press the clutch pad too hard it creates a friction between the clutch slip and the clutch face and ultimately causes the burn. The clutch surface is similar to a type of paper composition, thus the burning smell is quite papery.

Remedies: The solution to this is replacing the worn clutch and thereafter being smooth while shifting gears.

  • Burning smell from the Brakes: If you are braking very hard, then it could create a friction that overheats the brake pads and causes the brakes to smoke. This usually occurs when a caliper piston in the brake has seized which creates a dragging brake. The odor of burning brakes is similar to that of a burning carpet. Many a times, people drive leaving the parking brake or the hand brake on, which could also cause the burning.

Remedies:  Check the position of the caliper piston to make sure they are working properly and ensure that you do not drive with the hand brake on.

  • Burning smell due to an Electrical Short: Burning can also occur due to an electrical short circuit. The plastic covering around the conductors such as the wires, connections and fuses may melt or burn causing the smell. Thus loose connections in the electric circuit or an electrical surge in the car’s wiring system can lead to huge damages and thus need immediate rectification.

Remedies: A professional mechanic should be involved to rectify the issue by connecting your car to a computer system which will quickly help identify where exactly the electrical problem is.

  • Burning smell from Heater: If the heater is unused for a long time, then dust accumulation in the air filters can cause the burning smell from the AC unit. Sometimes buildup of bacteria, fungus and mold in the car’s venting system can cause the odor. Alternatively, the heater could be broken or parts of it could melt down causing the burn. Many a times faulty fuel lines cause the fuel to leak and its smell blows into the car through the AC vents.

Remedies:  Clean the air filters or replace it if needed, spray anti-bacterial products into the vents and regularly check the heater and the fuel lines for any leakage to enjoy a great cooling experience.

  • Burning smell from Car exhaust: Sometimes you may experience a burning smell from the car exhaust when there is an oil leak; or due to the presence of Sulphur in the fuel or if the car is running too much.

Remedies: Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle for repairing any oil leak or eliminating the presence of Sulphur in the fuel.

  • Burning smell from the Engine: If your car is over running, it could lead to overheating of the engine which produces the odor. Sometimes oil leaks onto the engine block leads to running out of oil which causes the burning smell. Also a low transmission fluid can cause it to burn as the gears get too hot due to insufficient lubrication.

Remedies: Check any fuel leaks in the engine and fix it, ensure sufficient lubrication in the car’s control systems and avoid over running of the vehicle.

Thus having listed down the cause and effect relationship of various components that can lead to a burning smell in the car and having identified its solutions will help you enjoy a smooth driving experience.

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