Reasons You Can Smell Exhaust Burning Inside your Car - Service Information in Salem, OR

A musty, smoky or burning smell coming from your car as you drive along can be alarming, and for good reason. Engine parts that are burning are bad news, and should be fixed right away to prevent further damage. However, sometimes these off-putting smells can be caused by something as simple as a small leak.

We'll explain on this page the three most likely causes of a burning smell in the cabin of your car. Whenever you see, hear or smell something unusual coming from your car, trust the factory-trained experts at Capitol Chevrolet to fix it.

Why do you smell exhaust fumes inside your Chevy

Reason #3: Bad Catalytic Converter

The catalytic converter is responsible for converting exhaust gasses that are harmful to the environment into less-harmful compounds. One of the byproducts of the combustion process is sulfur, which is broken down and neutralized by the catalytic converter.

Over time, the catalytic converter can get dirty and clogged. It can stop breaking down the sulfur made during combustion. As a result, excess sulfur in the exhaust gas can often be detected in the cabin as sulfur has a distinct rotten egg odor. If you smell something that calls to mind rotten eggs as you drive along, you may need your car's catalytic converter serviced or replaced. Remember: It's illegal to remove a catalytic converter (because of emissions regulations), so have it repaired or replaced by a trained technician instead.

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Reason #2: Burning Oil

Over time, engines can develop small oil leaks that would otherwise go undetected. However, if the oil leak forms somewhere high in the engine, and the oil drips down onto a hot component like the exhaust pipe and burn there, you'll detect an unpleasant smouldering smell in the cabin.

While this isn't itself likely to do any damage, any oil leaks in the engine should be addressed by an expert technician sooner rather than later. An oil leak is a sign that your engine is starting to wear out, and may be in need of new seals or gaskets. Failure to have bad gaskets replaced can quickly lead to much bigger problems like engine overheating and major damage from lack of lubrication. A burning oil smell is an early warning sign that significant engine work may be just around the corner.

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Reason #1: Exhaust Leak

This one you'll be able to both see and hear! If something becomes disconnected in the exhaust flow from the engine, or a hole forms due to rust or rot, the exhaust gas will leak out of the system before it reaches the muffler. As a result, your car will get much louder since the hot exhaust isn't reaching the muffler to muffle the sound. The sound will get louder during a cold start and under acceleration. It'll also cause a burning smell that you can detect in the cabin.

To fix this problem, you'll just need the exhaust leak fixed. This could be as simple as reattaching two disconnected parts or welding shut a hole in the exhaust pipe. Or, you may need more significant work on the exhaust system such as replacing a leaking exhaust manifold gasket.

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