Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Smell of coolant outside of car after running, no visable leak

asked by on

Smell coming out of side vents after driving the car, not to sure how to explain the smell def doesnt smell sweet, maybe more like dry rubber? no visible leaks. Car doesnt overheat, nor does it smell inside the cabin, only smells after driving the car for a while and parking in the garage

My car has 122000 miles.
My car has a manual transmission.

There two places I would recommend checking on this:

  1. In the trunk by the coolant cap there is a plastic shield. Remove this and you should see a coolant air relief, or "burp" valve. Sometimes you will see dried coolant in this area which could explain the smell you are experiencing. The relief valve gaskets may need to be replaced, or the screws may just be loose, causing the leak. This can also happen if the coolant is overfilled.

  2. Try jacking the car up and removing the plastic cover underneath the front of the engine. Check the bottom of the water pump and thermostat to see if you find any dried coolant there. Sometimes the water pump shaft will leak slightly. This is usually a very slow and subtle leak that will get worse over time.

If you would like some assistance with this, a qualified mechanic can inspect your coolant leak.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 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!

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: Replace water pump

Hello. If your vehicle is leaking antifreeze, especially at the water pump, then I would stop driving the vehicle and get it repaired as soon as possible. An engine leaking at the water pump is likely to overheat quickly, which...

Q: Burning smell from engine

This vehicle does not tend to have many issues with burning smells coming from the engine. The main one that I run across is oil burning on the engine. This is typically caused by an oil filter or oil plug...

Q: Just a quick question

What you are describing is oil leaking from the valve cover spark plug seals. The oil will get on the coil boots and spark plugs and cause misfires and short the coils out. You will need to have the valve...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...