Yes, it does happen sometimes. The smell of burning rubber inside or outside of your car may not be the only cause of the actual “burning rubber” when you make heavy braking in a very dry concrete or pavement, but might be the cause of other problems that mimic the scent of scorching tires. There might be a deeper issue happening on the vehicle’s system that needs immediate action.
The moment you detected a burning rubber scent while driving, you might be forced to pull over in a safe part of the road and inspect your tires. If the odor is obviously not coming from the tires, it has the possibility that the smell might be coming from other sources rather than the tires. On this article, we will discuss some of the possible reasons why your car smells like burning rubber and know what to do when you experienced it.
What to do when you smell burning rubber
The minute you smell something fishy inside your car, the best thing to do is stop immediately in a safe and shaded part of the road and make inspection all over your car. The first spot to look at is under the hood of the car. Open the hood of the vehicle and let the engine cools down before you make contact with any part of the engine. And please, do not smoke when you are making the inspection.
At first, have a visual survey of the car as you cool the engine. Be careful not to touch the hot part of the car as this may cause a burn or an injury. To give you some hints on where to look for the possible source of the burning smell, check out the following guidelines.
What are the possible sources of burning rubber smell?
Here are some of the most obvious reasons on why you would smell burnt rubber inside your car:
Short circuit on electrical parts
When there is an occurrence of a short circuit within your car’s electrical system, there is a big possibility that you may smell something burning. The burnt scent will be enhanced more within the small space inside the car especially when the windows are closed and the air conditioning is running. Electrical cables are coated with rubber insulation and when an intense heat melted it, what you have is the smell of burning rubber.
At this instance, don’t drive until the problem is fixed. Bring the car to the nearest service center and let a professional mechanic fix the problem. Ignoring this kind of trouble may lead to a more serious problem.
Burnt motor oil
Leaking motor oil that drops to the hot exhaust may also contribute to a burnt smell especially when you are outside of your car. This is possible when you have a leak while you are driving uphill or on a steep road where you are always on the first or second gear. This will make the exhaust pipe hotter than ever.
The smell can’t be easily detected while you are inside of the car, but once you are outside and near it, the odor is more distinguishable. There may also be fumes coming out at the bottom of your car because of burnt out oil. Better your mechanic check the source of the leak.
Burnt odor from heater
If you haven’t use your heater for a long time then it suddenly becomes colder outside and you need to have your heater on, especially during a sudden snowy night. Then moments later, a burnt smell comes out of the heater vent, there is a big possibility that dust and other debris may block the duct. Other instances had drivers discovered that a plastic bag had stuck in the engine creating a burning smell.
Sometimes, a part of the heater core may melt (especially the motor) when the vent is blocked by foreign objects which will produce burning scent. When the smell keeps on that goes from bad to worst, while you don’t have any blockage in the engine or the heater’s vent, bring your car to an expert mechanic for the thorough diagnosis of the problem.
Burnt out brakes
When you are often riding the brakes or brakes so intensely every time, you may end up with a burning smell from the brakes. This usually happens when you are driving on a steep slope, braking hard is almost always an option. Friction between the brake pads and the rotor may produce smoke and smell so bad. If this happens frequently, better have your brakes checked.
A burning clutch is the most common source of the burnt smell in a vehicle. However, driving attitude may be sometimes blamed for this occurrence. While the burnt smell is typically like a paper burning, it is actually is. This usually happens when you are changing gear, as you maneuver the clutch and then it always slips, the face of the clutch may burn.
Most clutch’s surfaces are typically a paper like composition that’s why when you change gear and make the clutch slips frequently, it produces a burning paper smell. You can avoid this by not riding the clutch and learn how to use it properly. If the clutch slips uncontrollably every now and then, you may end up replacing the clutch prematurely.
Knowing the source of the burning rubber smell on your car may lead you to more risk-free driving which will not only save your life but also your loved ones. Additionally, you will be spared of a costly repair when you ignore the signs of the times. Such warning signs that your car is needing attention can’t only be seen, but they can also be heard and, at this instance, it can also be smelled.
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