What is your car trying to tell you? Strange smells from the car explained!

Have you noticed an unusual smell coming from your car? After you take a quick look under the seat to make sure you threw yesterday's lunch away, what should you do? Whether it's a sweet maple syrup scent or that awful burnt hair odor, learn which smelly hints from your car you just shouldn't ignore.

Musty/Mildew Smell

You turn your car's air conditioner on expecting a blast of cold air but instead, you get a blast of musty air in your face. This means you could have moisture in the system, which leads to mold and mildew forming in the vents.. While it isn't that bad for the car, it affects the air quality in your car.

Burning Hair/Burning Carpet

Overusing your breaks can cause them to omit a burning hair smell. If you notice this smell just after driving down a steep incline you probably don't have to worry. However, if you are driving normally and you start to notice a burnt hair odor, this could mean there's something wrong with the breaks. You should get this checked right away.


If your car smells more like you just sat down for a pancake breakfast at IHOP and you're noticing a strong maple syrup smell, it probably means you have an issue with your coolant system. The smell is most likely the result of coolant or antifreeze that has been leaking. You'll want to get that fixed before it turns into a more serious problem like complete engine fail

General Burning Smell

If you're noticing a general burning smell this could mean your car is overheating or there is a problem with the oil. With either of these issues a light should come on in your dashboard but if you're smelling a burning odor it's time to have the car serviced before you have a bigger issue to deal with.

Burnt Rubber

If you smell burning rubber it could be just a little oil or coolant fluid that spilled onto the engine which isn't something to worry over. However, it could also indicate a problem with one of the belts or hoses or even an overheated clutch plate. Be safe and get it checked.

If you need a vehicle inspection performed to check out a strange smell coming from your car, bring your vehicle to Exclusive Motorworks today.

Exclusive Motorworks is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Exclusive Motorworks (561) 725-1616 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.