Q: 2012 jeep liberty has a very strong burning smell. Jeep is not overheating and the check engine light is not on. The smell is like

asked by on

My 2012 jeep liberty has a very strong burning smell. It started while I was driving on the highway. I pulled over and saw white smoke coming through the front grill on driver side. Also accelerating was really slow , I pushed the gas pedal hard and it was still very sluggish . Once I parked the car in the garage , it smells like hot tar in my garage even the next morning.

My car has 134000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

A leak of engine oil onto a hot engine component such as the exhaust manifold would cause a strong odor. Another possibility is a binding serpentine belt (riding over a seized pulley) and the belt is overheating and smoking. If the problem were a seized belt, in extreme cases, that can cause the engine to bog down because the belt is driven off of the crankshaft. If there is a leak, or another fault such as a seized pulley, that would be the first thing to fix. If you desire, a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, can perform an oil leak diagnostic and then let you know of your repair options and costs.


If the odor is due to burning oil, and the belt is not seized and thus isn’t a possible cause of poor acceleration, the other usual causes of poor acceleration are clogged fuel injectors and/or inadequate fuel pressure/volume. When an injector is clogged it can degrade the performance of the vehicle and the car may accelerate slowly or feel that it does not have enough power. A defective fuel pump will not supply enough fuel to the injectors. This can cause the vehicle to accelerate slowly, or even sputter and stall, especially at high speeds. A clogged fuel filter can also restrict the amount of fuel that reaches the injectors. A dirty mass airflow sensor can cause the wrong data to be be sent to the computer. A slow accelerating car is the result of this incorrect data. It may also trigger the Check Engine Light. Other causes of poor acceleration are vacuum leaks, a defective throttle position sensor, a defective idle air control valve, and a plugged catalytic converter. To get the underlying cause of the problem pinpointed and resolved, if the slow acceleration persists, the mechanic would perform an engine diagnostic for slow acceleration. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1,000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!
  1. Home
  2. Questions
  3. 2012 jeep liberty has a very strong burning smell. Jeep is not overheating and the check engine light is not on. The smell is like

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Grinding, hard to break, popping when slowing down or driving under 5 mph

It could be that you have a CV joint that is failing. They are in the front of the car on the ends of the axle shafts. They allow power to be transmitted through a shaft even though it is...

Q: cooling issue

Sometimes air can be trapped in the cooling system, effecting circulation. Generally, a normal fill and bleed procedure will work. With the radiator cap off, run the vehicle with the heater on so coolant circulates throughout the cooling system. Slowly...

Q: Battery light and power steering

The power steering pump and the alternator which charges the battery are driven off of the same serpentine belt. Therefore, the first thing to check is the condition of that belt and whether belt tension is adequate. If there is...

Related articles

How Do Power Car Windows Increase Passenger Safety?
Power windows are responsible for approximately 2,000 emergency room visits every year. When a power window closes, it exerts enough force to bruise or break bones, crush fingers, or restrict an airway. Though...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...