While some people understand the inner workings of cars like the back of their hand, most aren’t quite as auto-savvy. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially when you can take your car to the shop anytime you need to, but what if expensive car repairs aren’t exactly in your budget?
Millions of Americans push their automobiles to the limit, only taking it in for repairs when the situation becomes dire. While that isn’t highly advised, sometimes you just don’t have a choice. However, there are five odors your car can emit that you should never ignore. Here’s what you need to know.
1. The Smell of Sulfur
Have you ever smelled sulfur before? It’s similar to rotten eggs and indicates an issue with your catalytic converter. This part converts hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide, which is essential for your engine to run.
Newer cars often have warranties that cover this repair, but it’s something you can’t ignore even if you’re no longer under warranty. The fumes can damage your nose, throat, and lungs. Depending on the exposure, you might also experience burning of the eyes.
2. Hot Oil
Unfortunately, this one doesn’t smell like a carnival fryer. The unmistakable scent is more like a fryer filled with old grease, one that’s ready to catch on fire. An auto accident lawyer in New Orleans warns that’s exactly what can happen depending on where the leak is located.
The most common leak takes place in your crankshaft, which you’ll notice by an oil spot under your car. Leaks in your valve cover or into your exhaust manifold might cause smoke, which is a sure sign that a fire could follow shortly.
3. Maple Syrup
While there’s obviously no syrup in your car, the ethylene glycol in your coolant can cause a maple-like smell. This signifies a possible leak in your radiator, the hose connecting it, or the heating system itself. While the leak isn’t as dangerous as oil, letting your radiator run dry can cause your car’s heating system to break down.
4. Burning Carpet
Most people have never smelled burning carpet, but you can probably imagine what the scent is like. Some also compare it to burning fabric or plastic. This smell indicates that your brake pads are wearing down to dangerous levels. It also happens if you forget to dislodge your handbrake.
You should take your car to the shop as soon as possible in this scenario. Worn down brakes can lead to a deadly accident, damaging your car as well as causing personal injury. If you think new brakes are expensive, imagine the cost of repairs alongside an increase in your insurance premium. That’s aside from any costs associated if you wreck into someone else.
Check your gas cap first to rule out any spilled fuel or if you simply didn’t tighten it enough. If the smell persists, you might have a leak in either your vent hose or fuel injection line. This is an extreme fire hazard, which means you should drive to the nearest shop immediately. Do not ignite any form of open flame when you smell gasoline, even on the smallest of lighters.