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Smell in the car Inspection Service

In-car smells can indicate minor or major mechanical issues, depending on the nature of the smell, its location, and whether any fluid leaks or other symptoms are present.

Typically, smells originate from a fluid leak or malfunctioning component.

  • Fluid leaks: Fluid leaks are the most common source of unusual smells in a vehicle. Gasoline, oil, coolant, and other fluids can leak from ruptured hoses, lines, gaskets, and seals.

  • Malfunctioning components: Many components can cause fluids to leak if they break or rupture, but some components themselves can cause unusual odors if they stop working properly. For example, an overcharged battery produces excess heat that results in the battery putting off a strong scent of sulfur (like rotten eggs).

Common car smells:

Smells emanating from under the hood or under the vehicle often take on a specific, recurring odor. If your car is putting off one of the following scents, take note of it -- it’s likely your issue is one of those commonly associated with that particular smell.

  • Exhaust: Have the vehicle inspected as soon as possible. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a major component of vehicle exhaust, and is often referred to as the “silent killer.” If exhaust fumes are present in the cabin, so is CO. CO can cause loss of consciousness, and prolonged exposure can cause death.

  • Gasoline: On modern automobiles, fuel odors should not be detectable at anytime beyond refueling. A strong smell of gasoline can indicate a leaking fuel supply component (fuel filler hose, filter, or lines) or an evaporative emissions component (purge valve, hoses, or canister). Have the vehicle inspected by a professional immediately.

  • Sweet (like maple syrup): When a sweet smell is detectable, the likely culprit is coolant. Coolant travels throughout the engine, radiator, various hoses, and the heater core, which is usually located under the dashboard. A coolant smell will usually be followed by an overheating condition, so a thorough visual inspection should be performed immediately. At no time should the radiator cap on a vehicle at operating temperature be removed, as hot coolant has the potential to cause serious injuries.

  • Sulfur (like a struck match): The most likely cause of a strong scent like rotten eggs is a catalytic converter being overwhelmed or reaching failure, but it could also be the result of an overcharged battery or fuel system issue. To avoid costly repairs, have the car inspected as soon as possible.

  • Burning wood or rubber: Overheating the brakes or tires can cause the car interior to smell of burnt rubber. A slipping or malfunctioning clutch can cause the interior to smell like burning wood. In both cases, letting the components cool off for a few minutes may solve the problem. If the smell persists, it may indicate a slipping clutch, or a brake component that is seized and in need of service.

  • Hot oil: As engine oil leaks from a failed gasket or seal, it typically lands on hot components and gives off a distinct smell. Small amounts of oil may neither leave traces on the floor nor be easily seen without a thorough inspection. It’s important to address the smell of oil even if no oil is actually visible.

  • Mildew or mold: Usually, a musty odor is indicative of buildup on the vehicle’s evaporator or a cabin air filter that is due for replacement (if the vehicle is so equipped). An inspection of the duct system will usually be required. If the vehicle has a cabin filter, a replacement may be necessary.

Common reasons for this to happen:

  • Fuel injector is bad
  • Fuel filter is bad
  • Fuel tank is leaking
  • Fuel pressure regulator is leaking
  • Fuel pump assembly failure
  • Broken fuel line
  • Catalytic converter failure
  • Overcharged battery
  • Cabin air filter is bad
  • Evaporator is plugged or dirty
  • Drain hole is plugged
  • Slipping or malfunctioning clutch
  • Failed engine gasket or seal
  • Heater core is leaking
  • Radiator hose is bad
  • Parking brake was left on while driving
  • Seized brake piston

What to expect:

A top-rated mobile mechanic will come to your home or office to determine the source and cause of the smell, and will then provide a detailed inspection report that includes the scope and cost of the necessary repairs.

How important is this service?

Many smells are the first indication of a potentially serious problem. If the smell you detect is not on the list, there may still be a problem requiring attention. The mechanic will be able to determine the severity of the issue during the inspection.

Fast and easy Smell in the car Inspection service at your home or office.

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Recent Smell in the car Inspection reviews


18 years of experience
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18 years of experience
I was very pleased with the service provided by Chis


37 years of experience
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On time and super helpful. Thanks Grzegorz!


16 years of experience
203 reviews
16 years of experience
Kenneth was indeed an experienced and expert mechanic! He was on time and immediately began working on my car. He did a great job and was super fast. What I expected to be an hour or more job only took him around 35 to 40 minutes! He was knowledgeable in explaining to me everything that happened and also was able to point out a few other things I needed replacing on the car. Great attitude and positive energy. I would definitely call Kenneth again!


17 years of experience
29 reviews
17 years of experience
Mr. Khan arrived right on time with all of the parts and all of the right tools. He worked steadily until the job was complete. He answered all of my questions and was very polite. Mr. Khan was very knowledgeable and accomplished the task with ease. I will be recommending him and his company to my friends and relatives. Pleasantly, there were no surprises, the final cost was exactly what had been bid!

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