Under the Hood

What's that smell?

December 27, 2013
Keys in, engine running, you’re about to go on a fun road trip with your friends. As everyone piles into your new car, you begin to smell a horrible fragrance. Your new car smell is now replaced with a pungent odor of rotten eggs. “Where is that smell coming from?”, you ask you friends. Now you’re looking behind seats, and searching the glove compartment for leftover take-out. But to your dismay no rotten food is found. Scratching your head for an answer, you decide to ask the question online, “Why does my car smell like rotten eggs?” No need to fear, I have the answer right here! Clue number one, your engine was running when you smelled rotten eggs. Sulfur is found in gasoline, which could leave hydrogen sulfide residue in the exhaust. This could mean a fuel-injection problem, but often times it’s a failed catalytic converter. Being a car owner, you might encounter various problems with your vehicle. For all those that dreamed of being Nancy Drew or one of the Hardy Boys, this is your chance to shine! Check for all possible clues to figure out what is wrong, smell being one of them. Here are a couple of smells that could detect problems with your vehicle. 1. Maple Syrup- Ethylene glycol is leaking somewhere, perhaps the radiator or heater hose. If you smell the odor inside the passenger compartment then it probably means a bad heater core. 2. Gym Socks- Can you smell a yucky mildew smell? This is from moisture condensing inside your a/c evaporator. When you come close to your home, try turning off the a/c and running the fan on high to dry the system. 3. Gas Station- If you smell raw gasoline the there is something wrong with your vehicle. Usually it means there’s a leak from a fuel-injection line or a fuel-tank vent hose. 4. Burnt Paper- If you can smell something like burning newspaper, it could be your clutch facing burning off as the clutch slips. 5. Burnt Carpet- This happens when your brake pads are overheated. You could have a dragging brake caused by a seized-up brake caliper piston. Keep solving the mysteries of your car problems, but if you ever need a helping hand, feel free to ask me!

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