4 Common Car Smells and What They Mean

Many times we’re told to pay attention to how our car sounds and feels. This is great advice, as a lot of car issues can often be noticed or solved by listening. But what about how your car smells? Smells in your car like your child’s running shoes or your air freshener and normal. However, there are certain smells that you ought to pay attention to, as they could point to something seriously wrong with your car or engine. Here are four smells to sniff out that could point to possible car trouble.

Gas Station Smell

It’s pretty common for your car to smell like gas right after you fill up at the gas station, as gas can be tracked into your car via hands or feet. Usually this smell goes away within a few minutes. However, if the smell of gas doesn’t go away or actually gets worse, gas smell could be a sign of car trouble. 


Specifically; rotten eggs. It’s normal for your car to smell a little bad when you first start your car, especially on cold mornings. This is partially due to the fact cold engines don’t burn hydrocarbons as effectively and therefore release unburned hydrocarbon into the atmosphere and through the vents. But just like with gas station Smells, if the smell of eggs is persistent, there may be underlying issues. Typically, an eggy smell is associated with a faulty catalytic converter. (because catalytic converters are easily assessable and contain precious metals, often times they can be stolen right out from under your car. If this happens, your car will likely be much loader than usual.)


Sweets also smell great, but in your car smell smells could be deadly.  A sweet smell coming out of your air vents could be a sign an anti-freeze/coolant leak. Coolant is essential to keeping your engine from overheating. Low coolant levels from a leak could be disastrous for your car. In addition to your car, pay attention to sweet smells in your garage. If there’s a leak in your coolant it could likely have fallen onto your garage floor too. Coolant/anti-freeze can be extremely toxic, especially if ingested by small pets. 


When you go to turn your A/C on, does your the air smell musty? Sometimes, this can simply be a lack of use. However, ongoing musty smell could be a sign that your air filters need to be replaced. 

For all your vehicles needs, let our team at Superior Auto be your one-stop-shop to get your car in tip-top shape. Give us a call today!