Q: Burning plastic-like smell when braked for more than 10-20 seconds

asked by on February 08, 2017

I took my car in to have the battery replaced. When I got my car back I took it home (i only live 3 doors down from mechanic) didn't drive it for a day or two. When I did, at a stop light I began to smell a burning plastic type smell. It goes away when driving and doesn't seem to happen when in park or when braking for just a few seconds.

What could this be?

My car has 145000 miles.

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If the odor is coming from your car (as opposed to perhaps surrounding cars which can happen) and you are only detecting the odor on application of the brakes, a possibility is the brake caliper is failing to retract and is overheating. But, there are other possibilities including even the mundane, such as a plastic bag having gotten trapped near the exhaust and the odor of the plastic burning only becomes noticeable when you slow down or brake. If you want this issue investigated and resolved by a certified Mechanic, dispatched by YourMechanic right to your location, please request an unusual odor diagnostic. If you have further questions or concerns, do not hesitate to re-contact YourMechanic as we are always here to help you.

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