What If Your Vehicle Smells Like Burning Rubber?

Like the comfort and ease it provides, a vehicle could equally cause many serious problems for a driver. Therefore, one of the most important things to keep your car run safely and smoothly on the road is to maintain the right levels of fluid, regularly check the tires and have your car serviced if needed.

Another essential aspect is that you should never ignore any strange odors that come from your vehicle. In these cases, you need to take immediate action instead of only rolling down the windows, particularly when your car produces the smells like burning rubber. If not, repairing such issues could cost you a lot of money.

Does Your Vehicle Have Burning Rubber Smell?​

Have you ever smelled a burning smell coming from under the car’s hood? In fact, this is a noticeable symptom after the engine in your vehicle has operated for a long time and gotten too hot. Also, it would be an early sign of some bigger problems in the future.

Similar to the odor of burning rubber, there are also various other smells. And each of these would indicate different problems in your vehicle. Therefore, whenever you notice a smell of burnt toast, rotten egg, sweet syrup, burning oil, or burning carpet, check the engine carefully to find out its causes.

Precautions and Tips​

As the basic principle, bear in your mind the following tips and precautions whenever you smell any unusual smells from your vehicle.

  • Inspect the bottom of the hood to find out if there are any leakage.
  • You need to be really cautious when working with rotating or hot parts of the engine.
  • Only check the engine when it is completely cool.
  • Do not smoke when examining for a leak in fuel leak.
  • When you notice the smell of gas even without filling your tank recently, immediately have it checked.

If you do not find any problems under the hood after inspection, get your car to a professional car mechanic.

Causes for Burning Rubber Smell in Your Car?

The following problems would be the main reason why your vehicle produces burning rubber odor:

1. Drive belt melting

If any drive accessories in your cars such as air pump, alternator, AC compressor, or water pump is locked up, the drive belt would rotate on the frozen wheel and produce a smell of burnt rubber. This problem is often accompanied by the squealing sound.

Solution: You need to replace this defective drive belt, and check the remaining ones. It is strongly suggested to check your drive belts for every 6 months to make sure the right operation.​

2. Lose hosepipe

If one of the rubber hosepipes under the car’s hood is loose and exposed to any hot components of the engine, you would notice the smell of burning rubber.

Solution: Take the hosepipe off before it completely melts.​

3. Stuck plastic bag

When there are any shopping bags stuck to your car’s exhaust pipe by accident and slowly burns away or melts, it would lead to a smell of burning rubber.

Solution: Carefully get rid of this plastic bag from under the vehicle. While driving, try not to make any contact with plastic bag flying around or lying on the road as it would get caught under the car easily and result in a long-term problem.​

4. Oil leakage

Another cause for this problem could be the leakage of motor oil on the hot exhaust, which would lead to a dangerous situation when it burns and makes a fire.

Solution: Stop and jack your vehicle immediately. Get down under to determine the location of oil leakage. Otherwise, have it checked by a professional mechanic. If you keep driving with this leakage, it would result in more damage and cost you a lot of money for repairing in the future. Therefore, oil leakage problem needs to be solved as soon as possible.​

5. Electrical issues

Short circuit or the blowing of the fuse would also cause the burning rubber odor in your vehicle.

Solution: Check for any blown fuses in all the fuse and cable links. Once you find out the problem, replace the fuse with a version that has the same part number in the owner’s manual.​

6. Coolant leak

This problem would be also the result of leaking coolant in the air conditioning or heating system. As a result, it would lead to significant loss of coolant and serious damage to the vehicle.

Solution: Check for any cracks in the coolant tank of your car. These cracks would be small, but very dangerous and require a lot of money for repairing.​

7. Oil leakage from the seal of the gasket

Oil leakage from the seal or the gasket could be the reason for rubbery odor when it comes in contact with the exhaust manifold.

Solution: We highly advise you to change the seal or gasket in this situation. For a temporary action, you could make the coupling surface of the seal or gasket firmer. But this way could also worsen the situation as the leakage would be worse when the gasket is saturated heavily with oil.​

8. AC compressor heating

When the levels of refrigerant reduce, and there would be a lack of lubrication, which makes the AC compressor overheated and produces a smell of burning rubber.

Solution: You should get the AC checked by the mechanic during maintenance so that he could see whether it is charged to add more coolant or refrigerant accordingly.​

Conclusion

Whenever you notice the burning rubber smells in your vehicle, it is important to take immediate action to avoid any serious problems. After that, get your car checked by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

John Henry
 

I am John Henry and I have begun to work in automotive industry since the 90s, specializing in car rebuilding and repair. After nearly two decades of working in this complex section, with extensive experience in repairing, troubleshooting and maintaining thousands of cars, I started to work as an auto blogger to share my practical knowledge as well as skills with car owners all around the world through a wide range of articles in online magazine.

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