Some problems can be detected simply by following your nose. Consider these causes if you smell something unusual about your vehicle:
- Burned toast or a light, sharp odor often signals an electrical short and burning insulation. To be safe, try not to drive the vehicle until the problem is diagnosed.
- Rotten eggs or a continuous burning-sulphur smell usually indicates a problem in the catalytic converter or other emission control devices. Do not delay diagnosis and repair.
- A thick acrid odor usually means burning oil. Look for signs of a leak.
- If you smell gasoline vapors after a failed start, you may have flooded the engine. Wait a few minutes before trying again. If you constantly smell gas, you probably have a leak in the fuel system. This is a potentially dangerous problem that should be repaired immediately.
- Burning resin or an acrid chemical odor may signal overheated brakes or clutch. Check the parking brake. Stop and allow the brakes to cool after repeated hard braking on mountain roads. Light smoke coming from a wheel indicates a stuck brake. The vehicle should be towed for repair.
- A sweet, steamy odor indicates a coolant leak. If the temperature gauge or warning light does not indicate overheating, drive carefully to the nearest service station, keeping an eye on your gauge. If the odor is accompanied by a hot, metallic scent and steam from under the hood, your engine has overheated. Pull over immediately. Continued driving could cause severe engine damage. The vehicle should be towed for repair.