Weird odors emanating from your car or through the vents shouldn't be taken lightly. They often indicate that something is wrong or about to go wrong with your car. By recognizing the odors, you may be able to sniff out trouble before it becomes too severe.
There are two main causes of rotten egg smells inside the car. The most common is that the odor is from the gasoline. If the smell starts soon after filling up, you may have purchased old gas that has developed this nasty odor.
The second cause is the catalytic converter, which processes the byproducts of the gasoline after it has combusted to run the engine. If it is going out, those byproducts may leak into the cabin of the car, thus the odor.
Oily sweet odor
This odor will be almost sickly in its strength and sweetness. The cause is usually the coolant in your car – or more correctly, the coolant that is no longer in your car. Check beneath the vehicle for leaking fluid. Coolant is usually green and it will be visible under the front end of the car.
There are several places along the system where leaks can occur. The most common causes are a leaking radiator hose or seal. Your radiator could also have developed a leak. The area that is leaking will require replacement.
Burning hair smells
Both the clutch (on manual transmissions) and your brake pads are lined with a material that provides friction. During times of high friction, the material heats and this odor is the result.
If you only smell the odor when riding the clutch or when braking down a steep hill, there is probably no cause for concern. More frequent whiffs could mean that the brake or clutch is going out and it is time to have the pads replaced.
Smoky oil odors
Burning oil is usually a definite sign of an oil leak. The only time it is no concern is right after checking or changing the oil, since oil drips on the engine could be harmlessly burning off.
If you smell burning oil at any other time, you need to have your car inspected. You may have a leak in one of the seals or gaskets in the engine system. Failure to get the leak addresses can cause the engine to seize, resulting in a costly repair to replace the engine.
For more help, contact an auto shop for mechanical services to address the root cause of your odor problem.