Your Nose Knows!

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We often become accustomed to the smell of our own car, but pay special attention next time you get into your car.  Do you smell anything unusual?  Here are a few of the most common smells that can be indicative of a problem.

Rotten Egg Smell:

Never a good one!  It could be the smell of hydrogen sulfide, which means your catalytic converter may not be converting the hydrogen sulfide in your exhaust to sulfur dioxide the way it should.  Bring it in to a trusted technician, and they can let you know if it is the catalytic converter or possibly a fuel problem.

Maple Syrup Smell:

A sickeningly sweet smell could be a cooling system leak (radiator or heater core leak).  Heat build-up anywhere in your engine is very destructive, so do not let this one go unattended for any length of time.

Gasoline smell:

There could be a leak in the vent hose or fuel supply line.  Most newer vehicles have a gasoline vapor recovery system, and there should be no gasoline smell other than when you are filling up your gas tank.

Stale Smell:

Your cabin air filter may be dirty and clogged, similar to the furnace filter in your home.  If left unattended, a clogged cabin air filter can make your blower motor and A/C compressor work overtime and burn out.  Replacing or repairing a blower motor or air conditioning compressor costs significantly more than the approximately $60 needed to replace your cabin air filter.  Depending on where you live and drive (dusty gravel road as opposed to concrete roads), your cabin air filter should be changed every 30,000 miles, or sooner (check your Owner’s Manual for manufacturer’s recommendations).

Burning smell:

Especially during braking, this can indicate brake problems and should be checked as soon as possible.  Other causes of a burning smell could be a seized pulley, a glazed/hardened drive belt, or an electrical short or circuit overload.

Dead animal smell:

Rodents like the heat of your engine, and are also drawn to food smells inside your car (crumbs, old food left in the car).  Besides being very destructive (often chewing wires and causing intermittent, difficult-to-diagnose electrical problems), when rodents die, they leave behind an unmistakable odor.

Burning oil smell:

Gaskets or seals can become worn, cracked, or broken, and leak oil onto the engine exhaust manifold.  Leaks can be relatively minor, but still need to be taken seriously, as low engine oil or coolant can cause catastrophic engine failure within a relatively short amount of time.  Check your oil dipstick and coolant recovery tank (if you don’t know where they are located, stop in at either of our locations and we will be happy to check them for you) regularly. If you are losing oil or coolant, chances are there is a leak somewhere.

Being aware of any changes in your vehicle’s operation or odors can alert you to a potential problem.  Generally, taking care of problems sooner rather than later can save you $$ in the long run.  You can depend on Honest Accurate Auto Service for all of your car maintenance or needs for auto repair in Colorado Springs!

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