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802-652-9991 | 65 Elm Court Colchester, VT 05446

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 Our Customers Are Saying

We love our auto guys at MasterTech - they really take care of us. THANK YOU!

, 03/31/2022

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I bring my car to MasterTech Automotive for service, oil changes, tire changes and undercoating. I travel to COLCHESTER from MONTPELIER for this... Do I need to say more?

, 11/10/2021

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I showed up first thing in the morning and was greeted by Keith. He said good morning and asked how he could help. I explained my situation with my car and listened and stayed calm and said that even though they were busy he would work it in and check back at the end of the day. I get a notification midday that the car was done! He picked me up in my car!! No smoke and mirrors, straight talk from Keith! The best service I've experienced from a repair shop. He dropped me off and picked me up. He was knowledgeable and stayed calm. If I need the car serviced again, I'm not calling anyone else.

, 07/13/2021

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I wanted a second opinion on fixing the convertible top on my older BMW. I am so glad I did. Keith researched the issue and fixed it quickly and reasonably. I would recommend this garage to anyone.

, 05/18/2021

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Fast and friendly service, at a nice price. I'll certainly recommend them, and return for any other work.

, 05/10/2021
I dropped my car off at Master Tech in Colchester to have my snow tires taken off and the regular tires put on. I left a note asking if he could help with the battery. Keith called me first thing the next morning and said he would drop my car off at my home and charge my car battery for me. Talk about service..........I have always been happy with the mechanical and customer services at MasterTech and I highly recommend Keith.

, 03/24/2021
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