While you can encounter many different smells while driving on the road, the last thing you want to smell is something burning. While you always hope that smell is coming from another vehicle, there’s always a chance that it’s you. 

A burning smell from your car could be caused by a variety of issues. There’s no need to panic if you start to notice this while you’re driving but you should have it addressed immediately. 

This guide will discuss why your car might be emitting a burning smell and the best course of action for you to take. 

Burning Rubber 

A driving belt that’s been exposed to an excessive amount of heat might melt over time. This can be caused by a damaged A/C compressor, water pump, or air pump. 

Another cause of a burning rubber smell might be from a worn-out clutch that’s been mishandled. If you notice the smell occurring when you switch gears, that could indicate that you might need to handle your clutch differently. 

Burning Plastic 

A burning plastic smell is often caused by one of your car’s electrical components or fans. Your car’s heater can cause a burning plastic smell if there’s a large quantity of dust in the vents. 

If your heater breaks, antifreeze can start leaking into your vents. That increases the smell of burning plastic. 

The cause of the burning plastic smell might be more straightforward. You might have a plastic bag stuck underneath your car, which you can easily remove. 

Another cause of this smell might be from an electrical short. The plastic coatings on the wires in the engine can burn off over time. 

Burning Oil 

Oil leaks can arise from a variety of issues and result in unpleasant smells. It’s normal to smell the oil as it drips from your car’s exhaust pipe. If a large amount drips into your car’s exhaust system due to an oil leak, that’s a sign of a larger issue. 

An oil leak can occur in your oil pan or filter as a result of improper installation, wear and tear, or debris buildup. Having your car inspected quickly if you start to smell burning oil is the best course of action. 

Burning Carpet

Excessive heat buildup on your brakes can result in a burning carpet smell. It’s a metallic and organic odor that smells the strongest right by your tires. You shouldn’t take that smell lightly if you ever encounter it. 

Your brakes might be performing perfectly but they’ll start to smell if you’re working them hard. For example, you might be driving downhill or have a sudden panic stop when you’re driving at a high speed. 

If you notice that smell, pull over and allow your brakes to cool off. 

Pay Attention to Your Vehicle

The cause of the burning smell in your car might come from a variety of problems. You should look up any relevant lemon laws about your car to see if there’s an underlying issue you’re not aware of. You can find out information regarding lemon law and used vehicles online. 

Discover What the Burning Smell From Your Car Is

If you notice a burning smell from your car, you should have it looked into immediately. You don’t want to ignore it, only for a more serious issue to arise. 

For more advice on car problems, check out one of our other articles.