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Strange car smells and how to fix them

  • Car Wash
  • Renee Martin
  • 4 minutes

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Does your car smell bad, and you have no idea what’s the reason for it? Remember, you should never take a bad car smell lightly – it can cause serious health hazards. We’re explaining the reasons for odors in your car and how to fix them in this post.  

There are times we remember a place not just for its distinct visual beauty but also for its smell. According to researchers, smells can trigger emotions and bring back memories. We all spend a great deal of time in our cars, and it’s important to keep them clean and odor-free. An unpleasant car smell lingering in your vehicle not just spoils your driving experience, but it can even affect your health! Here are few reasons why your car smells bad and how you can fix them. Keep reading to know more.   

1. My car smells musty  

If you sense a musty smell from the vents of your car’s air conditioner, then it usually means there’s a mold or mildew formation in the vehicle’s air conditioning system. All you need to do is run your fan at high speed without the air conditioning to remove the smell. This will dry out the evaporator, which could be sheltering mold or mildew.  

If the mildew smell in the car persists, it could be because of wet carpets or a clog in the drain tube. Clean your car’s carpet thoroughly to eliminate this and if it’s because of the drain tube, get it fixed by a professional.  

2. My car smells like a rotten egg!  

If you think some leftover food in the car is causing this, then you’re mistaken. The issue could be much more serious. A rotten egg smell, which is actually the smell of sulfur, often means there’s something wrong with the vehicle’s fuel system. There could be a malfunction in your catalytic converter, fuel filters, or fuel pressure sensors, and that could be causing the sulfur gas leak. Get your vehicle checked as soon as you notice this. Because this is not just another awful smell in your car, it could be life-threatening if ignored. If you notice a rotten egg smell emanating from your A/C, then immediately contact an HVAC professional.   

Car smells and how to fix them

3. Vinegar smell in my car  

A problem in the air conditioner’s electric motor is the most common reason if your car’s AC smells like vinegar. Another major reason could be the aggregation of mold in your vehicle’s air vents. Cleaning your car’s vent and using an AC cleaning product can resolve this issue. If you can still smell the odor, we recommend you visit your nearest car mechanic.   

4. Gas smell  

When you first start the engine (cold), it’s completely fine to smell gasoline. This is due to the incomplete combustion, and the smell will go off soon. However, if you still smell gas even after the engine becomes warm, then it’s something you shouldn’t ignore. A loose gas cap could be one of the reasons for the gas smell. Sometimes a clog or leak in your car’s emission control system could be causing this. Whatever it is, a gas smell in the car needs to be fixed as soon as possible.

5. Burning rubber smell in car  

We’re sure burning rubber smell in the morning will not smell like victory! There are multiple reasons for a burning rubber smell in your vehicle. The smell of burning rubber could be because of a worn-out drive belt. Another reason could be a loosened rubber hose or belt under the hood touching the hot engine. If that’s the case, we recommend you fix the parts or replace them altogether after consulting with your mechanic. 

If you’re looking for expert tips for removing smoke smell in your car, you can read our blog on the topic here 


Read our blogs for information on the best airport parking and hourly parking spots near you and the most affordable insurance for your car.


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