November 14, 2019

The Sniff Test – Detecting Problems with Your Car



Some car problems are can be easy to identify. You see a major leak coming from your car; it’s probably more than obvious something is wrong.  If there is smoke coming from your car or it is shaking as you drive, you probably know it would be a good idea to bring your vehicle into a Milex Complete Auto Care immediately to be checked out.

But smells can be different. A smell be faint enough that you do not notice, or you have become used to the scent. Sometimes just because your car smells odd, it doesn’t automatically mean something is wrong.

But sometimes that is exactly the case. Many pungent smells are signals that your car is in trouble, and you need to get it checked out. Here are some tips and suggestions about some common smells that come from your car and what you should do about them.

What it means if your car smells musty. If the car smells musty when you turn on the air, you may have mold or mildew in the air-conditioning system. If that’s the case, you may want to try running the fan at high speed, without the air conditioning on, and you might be able to dry the evaporator, which is radiator that brings refrigerant into the car’s dashboard through the vents. If you can dry it, you may get rid of the mildew and smell.

That said, it might also be a clog in the drain tube. If you can’t get rid of the smell, and maybe the interior of your car just needs to be properly cleaned you probably should bring your car into Milex to be checked out.  You and others in the car do not want to breathe in mold in the air, which can be hazardous to your health.

What it means if your car smells sweet. If you smell something that resembles a sweet aroma, it may be antifreeze, and you could have a leak in your cooling system.

If that is the case, you should bring your car in for an inspection soon. Breathing in antifreeze can also be dangerous, so if you notice a leak, make sure you get the car checked out as soon as possible.

What it means if your car smells like it’s burning. A burning smell could be a lot of things, and none of them are good. Your engine may be about to catch on fire, and to be safe, you probably should pull over immediately. Oil might be leaking somewhere in the engine and burning. You also might have a rodent problem. Sometimes rats or mice will build a nest in an engine, and then you start the car, and the nest begins to burn.

This smell may also be a signal you may need a transmission fluid flush and change, or you might have a leak in your transmission. If you think that may be the case, please visit a Mr. Transmission near you, and we’ll be happy to take a look.

What it means if you smell burnt toast. There is a subtle distinction between burning and burnt toast, since some people describe the smell of insulation around the electrical wiring, fuses or connections burning or melting as the smell of burnt toast. That should be another obvious sign to take your car into your nearest Milex shop to get the problem fixed immediately.

What it means if your car smells like rotten eggs. This distinct aroma may indicate something is wrong with your catalytic converter. Hydrogen sulfide can produce that smell. If the converter isn’t working properly, the sulfur in the fuel becomes sulfur dioxide, which is odorless. But if it isn’t converted, the sulfur can give off this pungent smell.

It’s also possible that your engine is running too hot and creating that smell or you may have a fuel pressure regulator that simply needs the fuel filter replaced. Either way, whether this is an easy fix or a more complicated one, you should bring your car in for a look.

What it means if you smell rubber. That might be an accessory drive belt. It could be slipping, or it might be mangled by a broken pully. Maybe a hose is rubbing up against an engine part. Whatever it is, it needs to be checked out.

What it means if you smell gas. If you smell gas, it may not be a big deal if you’ve just started your car after the engine has been cold. That’s normal. If your engine is warm, though, you may have a loose gas cap – or a clogged or leaking evaporative emissions control system. You might also have gas leaking from the tank or the fuel line. So don’t put off investigating what the problem might be, and if you smell gas before you start the car, in the interest of caution, don’t start the car. Figure out what’s going on first. Have it towed to Milex Complete Auto Care, if you can’t figure it out. No sense in taking any crazy chances.

We don’t always know when we may have a problem with our cars, but if you notice any of these smells, it is a good indicator something is not right and you will want to fix the issue as soon as possible.

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