So there’s a weird smell coming from your car. And you know it’s not rotten food under the back seat. It could be something mechanic that you shouldn’t ignore. Here are some of the most common scents and what they mean. Most of them require immediate attention, so you should visit a mechanic right away.


You might have just filled up your tank and you didn’t screw the fuel cap all the way. Or gas dripped onto the side of your car. But if this smell doesn’t go away, it could mean there’s a leak from the gas tank. Or you have a defective fuel injector.

Exhaust Fumes

It could smell like exhaust inside the car. There may be a leak in your exhaust system, or poor seals on your windows or doors. Inhaling the fumes in a confined space can be deadly.

Rotten Eggs

This stench can be coming from your air vents. That usually means there’s a malfunctioning part in your fuel system. The catalytic converter, fuel filters, or fuel pressure sensors could be worn or damaged. Sulfur gas can leak into the cabin, and it’s extremely dangerous.

Burning Rubber

A rubber hose or belt under the hood may be loose. These parts can move around and come in contact with your engine. Hence the smell. Or there may be an oil leak, or a damaged or worn out drive belt.

Burning Carpet

Your braking system is overheating. You might notice this smell after riding the brakes too hard. Then you just need to pull over and let them cool off. Or you smell this when driving normally. That means you’ve left your emergency brake on, or there are other mechanical issues.

Hot Oil

Oil is probably leaking onto the hot exhaust manifold. If it’s from a leaky crankshaft, there will be oil on the pavement underneath your car. If it’s from a leaky valve cover, you’ll see smoke coming from your exhaust.


Antifreeze might be leaking from the cooling system. It could be from a loose hose clamp or radiator cap, a leaky head gasket, or a defective radiator. Or it could mean your car’s heater core is failing.

Mold or Must

You get a whiff of something moldy or musty coming from the air vents. It usually means moisture is collecting in your air filter or climate control system drains. You might be able to clear it out by running the fan at full blast.

Car Service in Forest Lake, MN

We have an amazing service department here in Forest Lake, MN! All of our techs are ASE-certified and highly trained. Whatever’s wrong with your car, they can fit it. You can schedule an appointment that works with your schedule. Use one of our service coupons during your visit to save some cash. We also have a free shuttle service and on-site rentals. So you don’t have to stress about leaving your ride with us. Our dealer serves all areas, including Blaine, Hugo, and Stacy.

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