Why Does My Car Smell Like Burning Rubber When Driving?

When cars star burning rubber in the movies, it results in something cool is going to happen. The best chase scene can be beginning; the hero can be off to save lots of the girl he only realized he enjoys, something is going to be inflated by a huge robot or a huge alien or a huge alien automatic robot.

In true to life however, in the event that you begin to detect an smell of burning plastic whist driving your vehicle that’s not often a good indication. When you have noticed any strange smells lately whilst driving in your car or truck, then this article is designed to help you.

Possible Causes

Just to point out real quick, in this article we’ll be discussing a burning rubber smell, its possible causes and its repairs. There is however a whole range of smells out there all with different causes.

You will know your car way better than anyone else, so if it does start making a smell out of the ordinary, then you’ll probably notice it pretty quickly. The other smells to look out for range from a burning paper smell to Maple syrup (which actually sounds quite nice).

Here though, we’re just talking about the not so pleasant smell of burning up rubber. You’ll most likely see it most whenever your engine continues to be running for some time, maybe after an extended trip.

Therefore the first thing to accomplish after you spot the smell can be to allow hot engine cool off a little, before you pop the hood and begin searching for:

Loose Plastic Hose

Just like the outdated saying goes, in the event that you hear hoof beats search for horses not really for zebras. So how exactly does that hook up to your vehicle? Well, in the event that you smell burning up rubber, it could just mean that some rubber is usually burning.

That’s why this is number 1 1 around the list by the way, so you can check this out before moving on to the next potential causes.

The engine of your car contains a number of rubber hoses, all integral to the engine operation. Over time, they can work loose or drop their securing clips and pins through vibrations. If they move out of place and come into contact with a hot area of the engine, they’ll start to burn off and create a telltale aroma.

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So take a glance beneath the hood to ensures all the silicone parts are where they must be, and protected them into placement if not really.

Gasket Essential oil Leaks

If a gasket or a gasket seal provides failed, then this may lead to essential oil seeping. If this essential oil comes into connection with a scorching area of the engine (as an exhaust manifold) you then will receive a burning silicone smell.

As a temporary measure, such as during along outings or when you can’t get to your mechanic, you can manually tighten the coupling surface around the gasket. That should keep the leak at bay enough for you to complete your trip.

By the end of your day though, a seeping gasket must be replaced ultimately – for the long-term wellness of the engine, it certainly should be quicker.

AC Compressor Heating system

The AIR-CON in your vehicle runs with a compressor that’s located beneath the hood, adjacent to the main engine block. Just like any AC, the one in your vehicle is full of chemical refrigerant that is gradually reduced in volume as the compressor operates.

The liquid refrigerant serves a couple of functions, one of which is to the act as a lubricant whilst the compressor is definitely working. So as the levels reduce, so there is less lubrication and the compressor can start to run “sizzling.”

This in turn leads to the dreaded burning plastic smell. The best way to avoid this is to ensure that during regular solutions your mechanic is definitely looking at the refrigerant levels in the compressor, and topping up as required.

Electrical Problem

A problem in the electrical system of your car or truck can often present as an abrupt burning silicone smell. The smell itself will typically drift in through the AC ducts, and it could not really last for too much time, as the burnt fuse doesn’t make a continuing smells like a number of the various other problems upon this list.

If you smelt burnt silicone briefly after that it went apart, chances are great it is a power mistake. Pop the hood and examine all of the fuses under there. You can even trace all of the cables the truth is to check on their connecters, being a mistake here may also make a burning up silicone smell.

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Make certain all substitute fuses match the mentioned numbers in the vehicle manual – or take the car to a pro mechanic to double check any replacements are the right type.

Coolant Leakage

Your engine uses coolant to help prevent overheating during operation. Ok, we’re sure you knew that already, but do you know what burning coolant typically smells like? That’s right – burning plastic.

The coolant that your engine uses is definitely held in an internal tank within the engine block. If this tank is damaged – through vibration or simple old age, for example – it can crack and start to leak coolant.

When the coolant comes into contact with sizzling parts of the engine, you get a burning plastic smell! That is poor information, as your engine really relies on that coolant for safe and efficient operation. A damaged coolant tank should therefore be repaired as soon as possible.


So far, we’ve looked at things that can go wrong with your car and case a bad smell. Sometimes however it’s not your car’s problem – sometimes it could be exterior factors that will be the issue.

If your vehicle accidently accumulates garbage as you’re traveling, this can occasionally get stuck for the exhaust program beneath the car. The pipes and additional components of the exhaust program can get actually hot during procedure, especially on lengthy drives. Bits of garbage – like plastic material bags – will begin to melt when in touch with the exhaust program and create a extremely unpleasant smell.

Stay away from driving straight over garbage. In the event that you obtain the older smell then constantly await the exhaust program to cool totally before you try to remove any stuck garbage.

Oil Leakage

Another thing that can leak is the motor oil in your car. Because of its placement and usage within the car, it will typically leak onto the exhaust system. When it does this it will burn and create a smell.

If you suspect leaking motor oil, simply leave the vehicle parked in one place for a while. Then get down onto your hands and knees and peer underneath. Leaking motor oil will form a telltale – and easy to spot – pool of black liquid underneath the car.

This is a serious fault and you should take the automobile to a mechanic at the earliest opportunity. Motor essential oil is fairly flammable, as well as the exhaust program can reach temps above the ignition stage of the essential oil – therefore in the worst-case situation, an essential oil leakage can result in a devastating automobile fire beginning.

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Broken Drive Belt

Finally, several components inside the engine depend on a travel belt for procedure. This may be the AC compressor we mentioned previously, maybe it’s the pushes for drinking water or atmosphere and maybe it’s the alternator.

If these parts seize up, then your travel belt will become left rotating against the pulley. Friction will quickly start to build and since the drive belt is typically made of – you guessed it, rubber – you will soon start to notice a burning smell. Typically, this problem will also be accompanied by a high-pitched squealing sound – so it’s pretty easy to identify.

Again, this can be the symptom of a serious problem with the engine, so obtain it to a mechanic at the earliest opportunity. The underlying concern should be fixed, and with regards to the harm triggered to it currently, you may even need a fresh get belt.

Safety measures & Assistance

Therefore whilst the smell itself may possibly not be very pleasant, it’s rather a very useful indicator for discovering a concern together with your car engine in the first stages. Capture it – and do the repair – in these first stages and you also could save some considerable profit the long term.

In most cases of thumb, in the event that you smell something poor always make sure that you:

  • Wait until the car engine has cooled completely before starting your inspection.
  • Take note of secondary symptoms or observations that could point toward one of the issues above. For example, the squealing sound that accompanies drive belt damage or telltale oil slicks from a leak.
  • Start your inspection with the engine block as most issues originate under the hood.
  • The exhaust system is also worth a look if your inspection under the hood throws up no indicators of problems.
  • Remember that this smell can often be the early symptom of a more serious problem. When you can smell it but can’t discover the reason, it’s smart to bring your vehicle to a mechanic for a far more comprehensive inspection.

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