In movies when you see the tires burn and skid marks you know you are going to see some cool action. You know that you are approaching the climax of the movie where the male lead is going to save the world and get the girl.
If it is a sci-fi you will see some aliens and robots being chased and some transforming into cool bots. But in real life the smell of burning rubber portends trouble. There are many possible causes for this smell arising from various parts of the vehicle.
You will notice this smell mostly when your engine has run for a while. So, the first thing you do when you go looking for the cause of the burning rubber smell is – let the engine cool down before you pop the hood.
Begin your inspection from the engine block. As it is the heart of the vehicle most issues originate there. Make observations and take note of secondary symptoms that point to the issues discussed here. For example, the dripping of the machine oil, the screeching of the drive belt, etc.
If you do not see any issues under the hood then check the exhaust system. The smell may be a sign of a deeper or serious problem. If you smell something find the cause if you can’t find it call a mechanic. Ensure your car has a thorough check-up.
A loose rubber hose – There is a saying – if you hear the hooves look for horses, not zebras. This means if you smell rubber burning look for things made of rubber in the car. The car engine has many rubber hoses as they link various parts. They are an integral part of the setup. Over time or due to rattling and rough roads they may come loose and touch a hot part of the engine to produce the tell-tale aroma. Look for loose wires, ducts, tubes, etc. and correct the setup.
Gaskets – usually form seals – if these fail there may be an oil leak. If this oil drips on a hot part like the exhaust manifold you get this burning smell. To stem the drip, you can tighten or correct the coupling surface of the gasket. It is advisable to replace the leaking gasket to prolong the life of your engine and car.
Air conditioning system – in your car use a compressor located under the hood. It is next to the engine block. The system is filled with a refrigerant that reduces in volume when the system is in use. This refrigerant fluid serves a couple of functions. It lubricates the compressor while it cools. This lubrication reduces stress and wear due to friction in parts. But when the level of this fluid falls in the compressor it can heat up due to friction and run hot. This leads to the smell of burning rubber. To prevent this – ensure your compressor is topped up with the refrigerant fluid.
A fault in the electrical system – can cause the smell of burning rubber. The odor drifts through the AC ducts to drift to your nose. The smell of a burnt fuse doesn’t last long as the fuse burns quickly. If you experience something like this then pop the hood and inspect the fuses. While you do this check the cables and connectors too. The replacement fuses should match the number stated in your vehicle’s manual. If it doesn’t have your car checked by a professional mechanic for replacements.
Clutch problem – When you get this burning smell due to shift gears it is a clutch problem. It’s similar to burning a newspaper or rubber and easily recognizable. This is because its face burns off when it slips. The smell originated from the surface covered in a type of paper mesh. The best way to avoid it is to use the clutch correctly. The thumb rule is – do not ride the clutch. The best solution is to replace the worn clutch – you will be able to shift gears smoothly.
Damaged drive belt – There are numerous components in the engine that depend on the drive belt. It could be the AC compressor, the alternator, the air, and water pumps. If these components seize up – the drive belt will remain spinning against the pulley. Friction and heat will build and as the belt is made of rubber – you will smell burning rubber. You will also hear a squealing sound. You will need to check the above-mentioned parts and check the belt. You will have to check other parts that come in contact with this assembly and ensure there is no contact to develop friction in them. It is advisable to change the belt every 6 months.
Coolant leak – The engines use a coolant to prevent the engine from overheating while on the road. This coolant is held in an internal tank enclosed in an engine. If the tank is cracked or damaged due to vibration or old age – it leaks the coolant. When the coolant falls on hot parts it burns and vaporizes causing a burning smell. The solution is to check for the leaks and drips. The coolant tank will require to be replaced as it vital for the efficient operation of an engine.
Oil Leak – may be due to the motor oil leaking into the exhaust system. This causes a burning smell akin to burning rubber. If you suspect this is the case, park the car for a while. Then peer under the chassis to see if there are the telltale signs of a leak. It is easy to spot as you will see a pool of black liquid there. This is a serious issue that should be corrected by a professional mechanic. Do not drive the car around with this problem. The issue might aggravate leading to increased damage and repair costs. Oil is highly flammable and the temperatures in the engine reach ignition point. This may start a fire that may be damaging or fatal too.
In conclusion, we have discussed the various Reasons for Burning Rubber Smell in Car. But there make be external factors causing the problem. The car may have accidentally picked up pieces of garbage like plastic packets etc. that may heat up and release the smell of burning rubber. Try avoiding driving over garbage to avoid this scenario.
There are plastic parts in the heater, the fan and other electronic devices fit into the car. Besides these, there may be anti-freeze leaking that may cause the smell. It is prudent to replace the air filters and check the fuel lines for a leak.
The smell may be also be caused by the brakes. If you slam the brakes the skidding causes the rubber pads on the brakes and the tires to burn. Brakes are vital for your safety this maintain them well and try not to skid.
The best way to remove the Burning Rubber Smell in Car is to use a deodorizing system. But it is prudent to pay attention to these indications your car is giving.