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Smell of burning coming from the engine: What are the causes

Did you know that it is possible to identify problems of a vehicle through the smell it emits? Car smells can help you avoid certain complications in vehicle components, such as the engine. Smell of burning coming from the engine is a problem with several origins that requires due attention.

Examples of causes that can cause you to smell burning from your car’s engine may be related to fuel flow, clutch problems, brake problems, electrical system problems and transmission belt problems.

In more extreme cases, if not analyzed in advance, engine overheating can result in a fire, substantial reduce in vehicle´s components life expectancy, endangering passenger safety and increasing long-term maintenance costs. In this article, we will show you the possible causes of the burning smell coming from the engine. Keep reading.


What are the possible causes of a burn-smelling car?

There are different causes that can cause you to smell a burning smell coming from the engine of the car, which depend on its origins. Here are the main ones.

1. Clutch problems

If you notice that the smell comes from the outside of the car, the causes may be related to the clutch or the brakes. For example, in the specific case of cars with manual gears, the clutch may have burned due to poor driving conditions. This can happen, for example, if you have the habit of leaving your foot on the clutch pedal.


2. Brake problems

In the case of brakes, you may notice an unusual smell when stepping on the pedal. Probably the defect is in the brake pads. If you are used to brake frequently and with high regularity , the temperature of the brake pad may rise and decompound the friction materials, such as metal dust, adhesives and other substances, releasing gases that cause this smell.



3. Electrical problem

Smell of burned wire is an indicator that some electrical component is damaged. It is advisable to take that smells seriously, since a short circuit is a common source of fire.


4. Smell of burnt rubber

This smell appears more intensely when compared to the rest. The car may have the transmission belts poorly adjusted or the hoses not fixed and  touching on the hot engine, causing the burning smell. It is precisely for this reason that the smell manifests itself only when the engine heats up.


5. Smell of fuel

It is natural for the car to emit a fuel smell as soon as the engine is started. Generally, this problem is related to fuel flow and it is essential to verify its origin to avoid fuel waste.

Whatever the cause of the burning smell coming from the engine, from the moment the vehicle smells abnormal, it is essential to investigate the source of the problem. Ignoring the signal can generate greater financial losses than necessary and even put passengers’ lives at risk. Doing regular and preventive  maintenance will help you detect and prevent these problem, avoiding unwanted unforeseen events.

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