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Your Nose Knows: Six Vehicle Warning Signs You Can Smell

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Your Nose Knows: Six Vehicle Warning Signs You Can Smell

Most vehicles start out with a "new car smell," but there are other specific odors that motorists should never ignore. Identifying these suspect smells early on can help car owners be car care aware and avoid the hassle and expense of an unexpected breakdown, says the Car Care Council.

"Unusual smells can be the sign of serious, and potentially costly, trouble for your vehicle. By acting quickly and making necessary repairs, you'll be able to breathe easy knowing there is no harmful damage to your car," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The Car Care Council recommends a sniff test of your vehicle to identify any unusual smells, including the following six warning signs:

  1. The smell of burnt rubber could be slipping drive belts or misplaced loose hoses that might be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys. Do not reach in if the engine compartment is hot.
  2. The smell of hot oil could mean that oil is leaking onto the exhaust system. To verify the leak, look for oil on the pavement or smoke coming from the engine area.
  3. The smell of gasoline is likely the sign of a gas leak in some area of the vehicle such as a fuel injector line or the fuel tank. Any smell of fuel can result in a possible fire hazard, so immediate attention should be given.
  4. The sweet smell of syrup may be a sign that your car is leaking engine coolant from a leaky component related to the car's cooling system. Do not open the radiator cap when it is hot.
  5. The smell of burning carpet could be a sign of brake trouble and a safety hazard. Have your brakes checked right away, especially if this smell is happening during normal driving conditions.
  6. The smell of rotten eggs is never a good one and, if you smell it coming from your vehicle, it could mean a problem with your catalytic converter not converting the hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust to sulfur dioxide properly. This smell can also be attributed to a poor running engine, causing the catalytic converter to become overloaded and fail due to meltdown.

"When you smell any peculiar odor, you should not ignore it. Instead bring your vehicle to a professional service technician that you trust to get an informed opinion on the nature of the odor," concluded White.

Source: Car Care Council

What People Say About Us

  • reviewicon
    , 08/10/2021

    I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Dale's Automotive! First, they understand that each vehicle has a person and their lifestyle attached to it! That's so much more important than just being able to do repairs and maintenance! Two Cadillacs, three Lexus, one Toyota, three Chevrolets, one Honda's my personal list of vehicles that my family and I have entrusted to the hands of Dale's mechanics to keep our valuable transportation safe and sound and on the road as both my family and our cars and trucks age! They know what they are doing period! Here's the best part. They absolutely will not overcharge you! As a matter of fact, time after time they have saved me money compared to a traditional dealerships overwhelming hourly rates and even steeper price mark up on parts. These guys are great. And I don't recall any service that they could not provide! Inspection, oil and filter, tires, brakes, engine analysis, emissions, air conditioning, electrical issues are all within their grasps! Thank you Dale and Family (that's how they function), for all that you've done for us down through the years!

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    I highly recommend Dales Automotive. It's a family run repair shop, and I've been going to them for nearly 10 years now. My parents have been getting their cars repaired here for longer than that. You see, I don't trust mechanics...but I definitely trust Dale. I drive an older car, which means I need a trustworthy mechanic who won't charge me for more than I need, and he doesn't. I dropped my car off about 2 weeks ago because I noticed my breaks felt squishy and I wasn't stopping quickly enough. (I usually drop my car off the night before and pick it up before they close.) At first glance, they couldn't really find anything wrong, so they called me to find out exactly what it was doing. I explained to them how it was acting and they put it up in the air to recheck it. They found out the problem and fixed it and my breaks are good as new! They always take good care of my vehicle, and will let me know (in english) when something looks like it's going to need to be repaired in the future. I've never been charged for something I didn't need...unlike other places. Sure, it can be expensive...but I don't feel like they're using me. Some things are just more costly to repair, especially when my car has over 200,000 miles on it! But thankfully they accept the autopride card. That thing is a lifesaver. It allows me to make payments over the period of several months...interest free.

  • reviewicon

    I will never go anywhere else with my car again. I came here after taking my car to Monroe Muffler Break to have my oil changed. Monroe cracked my oil pan while changing my oil, all of the oil leaked out, and not knowing any of this I drove. When my oil light went on I panicked and drove back there where I was treated awfully and told it was my fault. They told me that I needed to buy a new oil pan which is very expensive. As a full-time student with no income I had no idea what to do or what kind of damage that I had done to my car driving on it with no oil. Panicked, upset, and not knowing anything about cars I had my car taken here to Dales. I was treated wonderfully and my car was taken excellent care of. They were able to fix my oil pan and assure me that my car was ok. Every single time that I need something done on my car, they do their best to squeeze me in. These men do excellent work and really care about what they are doing. If there is anyway for me to get my car to Dales, I will continue to return time and again.

  • reviewicon

    This shop has consistently provided excellent service at great prices. They've always been very friendly and accommodating. They do only the work requested, without digging for other issues that may or may not actually exist. Wonderful local business!

  • reviewicon

    Knowledge, integrity, and determination to do the job right. That's what you will find at Dale's Automotive. And reasonable prices, too. I know that sounds a bit like a commercial, but it's all true. Sadly, it is NOT true of the vast majority of big company service places that loudly advertise their typically terrible service (I'm looking at YOU Tires Plus!).

  • reviewicon

    Thanks for getting the inspection done! And I really appreciate you telling me which stuff didn't need to be replaced right away, saving me hundreds in the process! And Dale, thanks for letting me drive my car home with you in tow to drive it back to the shop so I didn't need to call a cab from your shop, that was priceless!

Call us for service: 717-564-5110

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