You may start to notice that your car smells like something is on fire, or burning rubber after you have finished driving.
This scent could be a sign of many things from an object stuck underneath your vehicle, or could even mean that you have a burned out clutch. Whatever the cause, it is important that you try to fix the problem as soon as possible.
If you find yourself getting out of your vehicle, and noticing a burning rubber smell once you have driven it, then you are looking in the right place.
Here, we will tell you some of the most common reasons your car may be smelling like burning rubber, and what you will need to do to solve the problem!
Most Common Causes of a Burning Rubber Smell After Driving
Some of the most common causes of that burning smell after driving your car are typically:
- There may be an electrical short
- Your brakes are hot
- The clutch is burning out
- A hose is worn or loose
- The engine is burning oil
- A foreign object is burning
- The car is leaking radiator coolant
- The drive belts are getting hot
If you are unsure which if the above may be the problem with your car, then do not worry. Below we will go through in a little more detail as to which is which, and why this may have happened.
However, keep in mind that if at any point when you are using your vehicle, you are worried that it may be unsafe, then do not drive it, and seek the help and advice of a professional immediately.
8 Reasons Your Car Smells Like Burnt Rubber
Generally speaking, your car smelling like burnt rubber after driving could be down to one of the following reasons.
1. An Electrical Short
One of the reasons you may notice the smell of burnt rubber coming from inside your car through the vents, could be that you have an electrical short somewhere.
This smell could be coming from a burnt out fuse, so you may have to check inside the fuse box in case any have blown. These can then be replaced easily with a few spare parts at the auto shop.
2. The Brakes Are Hot
Another common cause of a burnt rubber smell in your vehicle is because the brakes have become too hot. This can happen when you brake often or aggressively, and the brake pads become worn out.
Sometimes, this is simply fixed by replacing the brake pads, but in other cases, the smell may mean that your braking system has failed or malfunctioned, and will need to be replaced or fixed at an autoshop.
3. The Clutch is Burning Out
If your car has a manual transmission, then you will need to be wary of the clutch. This can burn out easily if you are not shifting gears correctly, as this will grind the gears and wear them down.
After this is done excessively, then you will most likely need to change the clutch as it will burn out.
4. A Hose Is Worn/Loose
When your car is running, the engine can often get very hot, especially if you have been using it for a while. After some time, this heat may lead to one of your interior hoses getting worn, melted or coming loose.
When these hoses become burnt out, you may begin to notice a burning rubber smell. However, there will be other signs that show that this may be the issue, for example, you may feel a loss of pressure, see white smoke, or even see that your car is leaking.
5. The Engine Is Burning Oil
If you are worried about the burning smell in your car, and you think that it may be due to the engine burning oil, then you should act as soon as possible. An oil leak can often smell like burning rubber, as it may come into contact with hot components on your vehicle.
This could be due to a broken gasket or seal, and so you will need to fix this issue straight away or you could get a cracked engine block or a blown head gasket, which nobody wants to fix!
6. Foreign Object Is Burning
One of the most common causes of a burnt rubber smell from your car after driving, is if there is a foreign object stuck underneath the car.
For instance, a plastic bag will often get caught underneath the vehicle after driving, and this can heat up and burn, making a nasty scent. The best way to solve this problem is to check over your vehicle if you notice a burning rubber smell.
See if you picked anything up whilst driving, or if you caught something under the hood, underneath the car, or near your exhaust pipe before using the vehicle again.
7. Leaking Radiator Coolant
Your car may be leaking radiator coolant, which can leak out onto the hot parts of the car engine, and replicate that burning rubber smell.
Without fixing this issue, your car may not be able to run the cooling system properly, and your engine may become too hot, which can blow the head gasket.
To see if this is the problem you are facing, look out for any leaks of green or orange liquid underneath your car once you have gotten out of it. This can prove that your radiator coolant is leaking, and you may have to reseal it.
8. Drive Belts Are Too Hot
Within your car, many components will gain power from the drive belt. These include the AC, power steering system, the water pump and the alternator.
Therefore, if any of the various components develop a problem, this can affect the way the drive belt operates, which can lead to less friction when it is working.
When there is no good friction, there will be an increase in heat, and the drive belt will begin to burn and cause that burning rubber smell. If this is what is causing the problem, then you will most likely see other signs of an issue, such as the drive belt squealing underneath the hood when you are operating the vehicle.
If this is the case, then you will need to replace the belt, along with any of the other failed components that caused the belt to burn.
Whatever the cause, when you notice something is different with your car, such as a burning rubber smell, a loud screeching noise, or any other signs that there may be a problem, you are going to want to rectify it straight away to avoid any further, more serious issues arising further down the line!