Q: Burning smell, small amount of white smoke, and loss of power.

asked by on August 02, 2016

There is a burning smell from engine compartment like that of plastic or rubber (hard to decipher) and one time there was a small amount of white smoke coming from the hood (after a steep uphill drive about 10 minutes, very steep). The car doesn't lose power but has essentially no pickup when you step on the gas. The engine takes a good while to initiate any sort of power once the car reaches second gear (it is an automatic). Thank you

My car has 185000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Thanks for writing in about your 2001 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The first thing that needs to be checked is the white smoke. Overheating an engine can damage it. One of two things occurred. The cooling system was unable to handle the heat generated by the load from the steep grade and boiled over, or there is a coolant leak.

In either case, it sounds like the engine became too hot. The lack of low-end power is a concern. If the hesitation started after it overheated, the problem could be mechanical. Piston rings can lose their tension when overheated resulting in a poor seal.

Here’s what you need to do. Scan for codes to see if the computer is seeing a problem. Check the cooling system thoroughly. The mechanical operation of the engine should also be checked. Perform a compression check, check for vacuum leaks, cylinder leak-down test, and check for a restricted exhaust. If you need help running tests for this, a certified pro from YourMechanic can come to your car’s location to diagnose the burning smell as well as any other issues that your car is experiencing.

Was this answer helpful?
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

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

No buS code and shaking when stopped

Hi there. When the No Bus message appears in your instrument cluster, its usually an indication that there is a problem with the powertrain control module or the wiring to it. It could cause engine misfiring or a really rough...

Hello I have a Chevy cavalier 2.2 L and I have a gas leak from my fuel filter to my fuel pump Line I have changed my Oring

Hi Devonte. Thanks for the question tonight. In most cases, when an O-ring is suspected of being the source of a fuel leak, it's replaced but the leak exists still there are three reasons why. First, the o-ring may have...

I have a dodge charger 2006 that it doesn't accelerat more 4000rpm just want to see what I need to do or how to reset the accelera

The problems sounds like your engine is in failure management mode due to a fault in the vehicle engine computer systems or there is a mechanical fault. You should have the computer scanned for failure codes and then have those...

Related articles

Symptoms of a Bad or Failing Air Charge Temperature Sensor
Common signs include a lack of power when accelerating, trouble when starting in cold weather, and a decrease in fuel efficiency.
How to Get Rid of Bad Smells in Your Car
No one likes riding in a smelly car. Locate the source of the smell, then give your car a thorough clean to keep it smelling fresh.
Is it Safe to Drive With an EVAP Leak?
While it is safe to drive with an EVAP system leak, it causes excess car pollution. Fixing the problem is often as simple as tightening the gas cap.