# Burning smell

M

#### Mark-T

Jan 1, 1970
0
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Thanks

Mark

G

#### Guest

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark,
When you get your car home, and it is still hot, pull up the hood
and take a look. Maybe you can see smoke.

Oil leaks from the valve covers can drop onto the hot manifold

Maybe some rubber hose or other part actually is in contact
with the manifold and is melting.

Pulleys can freeze, causing belts to screech, melt, stink.

Take a good look, especially for oil leaks, and tell us what you
find.

B

#### Brian Whatcott

Jan 1, 1970
0
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Thanks

Drive 5 miles, stop and open the lid.
Feel the belts. Smell. Feel the tires. Smell.

Get back to us with your results.

Brian Whatcott Altus OK

N

#### N8N

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Thanks

Mark

Could be an oil leak, although the smell is not quite the same. Also
if it is a manual transmission it may be the clutch, or it could be a

nate

E

#### eromlignod

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

spilled onto the engine and burns.

Don
Kansas City

C

#### Charly Coughran

Jan 1, 1970
0
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Thanks

Mark

There are many, many ways you can have a burning smell. The only real
way to diagnose is follow your nose. It is probably most noticeable
at rest because the wind is not taking the smell away as it is at
speed. An oil leak from the valve cover, for instance, can drip onto
the exhaust manifold and smell without you ever seeing a drop on the
ground. A very small leak can make a lot of smell. Belts can smell if
a pulley seizes, but that is usually followed after a short time by a
whap as the belt breaks and a thunk when it hits some sheet metal. If
they are loose, they usually squeal during acceleration. You check
them by inspection. All the possible conditions and belt types (vee,
surpintine, cog) make a long list of appearances which are hard to
describe. Find a friend who has some experience and can look.
Another classic source is picking up some plastic or rubber trash from
the road and having it lodge by, or melt onto, the catalytic converter
or muffler. Mostly you just start by sticking your head under the
hood, under the car, or wherever and follow it till you find something
untoward.

S

#### Spud Demon

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

There are several characteristic smells you might get from a car:
rubber
oil
transmission fluid
coolant
My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Or maybe if they were very badly aligned, or if the parking brake was
locking up the back ones :^)
Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Look under the hood first with the engine still running and then immediately
after you shut it off. Look for smoke, and sniff for it too. Also look for
items which are touching hot surfaces -- loose hoses and wires for example.

If you find out the smell is coming from your exhaust, it's some kind of
emissions failure.
Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

Slipping belts are usually very noisy, like a squeel.

-- spud_demon -at- thundermaker.net
The above may not (yet) represent the opinions of my employer.

A

#### Al Bundy

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Thanks

Mark
It probably is rubber. Try not to start and stop so fast on those runs
Mark. The law sayw they can't make you deliver those pizzas in under 30
minutes.

J

#### Jasen Betts

Jan 1, 1970
0
Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

no, it usually smells like hot oil.
Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

slipping belts make a horrible squealing noise
not unlike a dry bearing.

To check them press agaisnt the back ot the belt in the middle of the span
with your thumb, more than abput 12mm movement is probably a sign of a loose
belt. (to check them properly you need the service manual for your car
it'll give proper details...)

It could be that one of the rubber thingies that suspend your exhaust
system has come loose and is touching the hot exhaust pipe.

Bye.
Jasen

O

#### Olin Perry Norton

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, ...

Try looking at the engine while it is running
(being careful around the moving parts, of course).

M

#### Mark Fergerson

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Stick or automatic? If stick, could be a misaligned clutch.

Mark L. Fergerson

M

#### Mark-T

Jan 1, 1970
0
It probably is rubber. Try not to start and stop so fast on those runs
Mark. The law say they can't make you deliver those pizzas in under 30
minutes.

haha
Not likely, I'm a real weenee driver, I drive like your grandmother!

But I checked under the hood, the belts, hoses, couldn't locate the
smell, it seems OK to my unexpert eye. When I start the car and
idle, no odor. Only after stoppng at a red light... so it probably is
the brakes...

Thanks to all for comments. I'm leery about going to a mechanic
without specific instructions, after a startling survey some years
ago by a local consumer research group. They disabled a vehicle
in a very simple way, like removing a distributor cable, then took
it to about 20 garages, They expected a bill ~ $25, but found only two honest mechanics! The rest conjured up all kinds of fairy tales, with bills up to$300.

Mark

O

#### oldkid

Jan 1, 1970
0
you neeed specific instructions for the mechanic........how about
this......remove everything rubber from my car.i'm sick of the smell.it
makes me worry!i would rather pay you now.

J

#### JosephKK

Jan 1, 1970
0
Mark-T said:
Recently I noticed an odor in my car, smells like
burning rubber. Not good! It is particularly
noticeable when I am idling at an intersection.

My first thought is the tires, but that doesn't
make sense - they would burn only after a skid, right?

Could it be burning oil, does that smell like rubber?
I checked, there is no leak.

Another possibility are the belts, maybe they are
slipping? How to check them?

I realize no one can diagnose a problem long
distance, I am looking for tips. I want to avoid
going to a mechanic and say "There's some problem,
see if you can fix it". That's how you get taken
for a ride. I'd much rather have particular
questions and items, and give him a specific work order.

Thanks

Mark
Is the odor specific to the cabin of the car? If so the source may be in
the cabin of the car.

M

#### Mark-T

Jan 1, 1970
0
Ante said:
I would check the cabin air filter (if you got one) and a friend of
mine had a rubber/plastic smell in his volvo for two month before the
shop found a burnt servo for the ECC.

I finally got an inspection. It's not the brakes, but the
heater core, it's melted or leaking fluid. I should have
guessed that, as the heater never worked since I bought
it, 8 months ago (luckily I'm in a warm weather climate).
It's nothing critical (except maybe a fire hazard, haha).

I'm posting this note fyi - if you ever smell burning rubber,
check the heater.

Mark

G

#### Guest

Jan 1, 1970
0
I finally got an inspection. It's not the brakes, but the
heater core, it's melted or leaking fluid. I should have
guessed that, as the heater never worked since I bought
it, 8 months ago (luckily I'm in a warm weather climate).
It's nothing critical (except maybe a fire hazard, haha).

I'm posting this note fyi - if you ever smell burning rubber,
check the heater.

Mark

Thanks for the update...A bad heater core usually leaks fluid
which smells sweet, but 'chemical'.
It is not likely a fire hazard.

M

#### Mark-T

Jan 1, 1970
0
Thanks for the update...A bad heater core usually leaks fluid
which smells sweet, but 'chemical'.
It is not likely a fire hazard.

Forgot something... I also have a leaky valve cover, the gasket
needs to be replaced. I'm not going to fix it right away, old car,
not worth it.

So maybe the burning rubber smell is that, and not the heater.

Do I sound confused?
Nah, it's just seems that way...

Mark

G

#### Guest

Jan 1, 1970
0
Forgot something... I also have a leaky valve cover, the gasket
needs to be replaced. I'm not going to fix it right away, old car,
not worth it.

So maybe the burning rubber smell is that, and not the heater.

Do I sound confused?
Nah, it's just seems that way...

NOW YOU'RE COOKING, MARK....(no pun intended)
Your valve cover is leaking oil onto the exhaust manifold,
probably, and you're smelling the oil burning off.

You might be able to fix the leak just by tightening slightly.
A new valve cover gasket is just a few bucks, and dead easy
(usually) to replace.

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