Q: I've been told I have leaking valves. Burning rubber smell, no external leaks but dripping noises, car not overheating

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I've been told i have leaking valves before. This has been going on for 4 months. I can smell a feint burning smell sometimes in my car. When I open the hood I can smell the burning smell more. It might be more like a burning rubber smell but sometimes I think I smell it on the left passenger side under the hood than the left, but under the car it's to the right. When I lift the hood I can hear a dripping noise but no external leaks.I've seen what looked like white steam from under the engine once, but I'm not sure about that since it hasn't happened more than once. I've looked under the car and see no coolant dripping out or oil. The engine gauge inside the car doesn't show that it's over heating. The coolant levels are fine and the fluids look fine. There are no external leaks, milky white oil, or bubbles, or anything like that. I don't have a lot of extra money to take it into a mechanic. I had a radiator flush done 4 months ago and the thermostat replaced (I believe)

My car has 164000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

Hi there. It sounds like the valve cover gaskets are what is leaking. The gasket is made of rubber and can become hard and brittle over time and start leaking oil. The leak may not be one where it is literally leaving a puddle, but more along the lines of seeping out. The rear valve cover tilts toward the cab of the vehicle and when it leaks oil, this oil makes its way onto the very hot exhaust manifold. Both valve covers can leak enough oil at the corners toward the transmission to run down the engine block and end on the hot exhaust center pipe under the oil pan. Both of these pipes will literally burn the oil and produce the smell and sometimes smoke or what looks like steam. The condition will not go away on its own and will only get worse with time and use. I suggest having a qualified technician perform an inspection to confirm the leaks and avoid replacing unnecessary parts. Your Mechanic has several technicians available that can assist you with an oil leak inspection.

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