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Burning Smell from Car When Accelerating! What’s Going on?

Burning Smell from Car When Accelerating! What’s Going on?

If you're dealing with burning smell from your car when accelerating, you must not ignore the problem. This burning smell is not coming from your kid’s hockey equipment, and it must be taken seriously to avoid complicated problems with your vehicle. 

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE
Engine Replacement: $1300+
Transmission: $1000+
Air Conditioner: $750+


The burning smell usually is associated with overheating and could be coming from different components of your vehicle.

This article helps the different causes of burning smell from car when accelerating along with this is just solutions. We will also answer a couple of questions related to this issue at the end of the article. 

Burning smell from car when accelerating! What's going on? 

 

There are many reasons for the burning smell from car when accelerating. It's important to familiarize yourself with these different reasons to pinpoint the actual culprit.

Once you have a shorter list of possible causes, you can make informed decisions before deciding to continue driving your vehicle.

Car burning smell has four different common types, and each type has its causes and solutions:  

  • Burning rubber smell 

Your vehicle has many rubber components that could get burned from any heat access leading to those components. If you started noticing some burning rubber smell in your car, the problem usually is related to the clutch, drive belt, oil leak, and coolant leak.

  • Burning rubber smell from clutch problems 

If you drive a manual transmission vehicle, you might be so excited and press very hard on the clutch as you activated it.

However, by putting too much pressure on the clutch, you're forcing it to press very hard on your vehicle's other components causing a lot of friction. This level of friction results in excess heat in the vehicle, and this heat could be a factor in melting or burning the rubber components around the clutch.

As a result, you might start noticing this burning rubber smell from the clutch

The best advice for you if that's your problem is to consult a professional driver who used to drive manual transmission vehicles and help you maintain the required amount of pressure on this clutch to prevent causing any problems.  

  • Burning rubber smell from a melting drive belt 

On the other hand, the burning rubber smell might come from a melting drive belt around your engine. If you don't know, the engine is connected to other components using some types of belts. This belt is responsible for transferring the motion to other components and keep them going.

If any of these components got stuck or jammed, it's very normal for the belt to continue touching a hot engine and causing it to melt. As a result, you will notice this burning smell from your car.

Unfortunately, if your problem is happening from a drive belt that is melting, you must get your vehicle inspected and repaired by a professional mechanic as soon as possible.

  • Burning rubber smell from oil or coolant leaks 

Lastly, if hot coolant or hot oil leaked into rubber components around the engine or radiator parts, there is a high potential for noticing a burning rubber smell. 

Oil could leak easily if you have a blown gasket. The gasket is responsible for sealing the engine cylinders and preventing the hot oil from leaking to surrounding rubber components.

Similarly, coolant can leak from any cracks around the radiator into their rubber components.

Whatever the source or the cause of the leak, you must get these cracks resolved and repaired by a professional mechanic to avoid complicated problems with your engine or the radiator.

  • Burning plastic smell 

 

Similar to the burning rubber smell, there are other types of smells like a burning plastic smell.

If your vehicle's burning smell is more like burning plastic, your culprits might be different.

Here are the different causes for the burning plastic smell:

  • Burning plastic smell from heaters problems 

 

If you confirmed that the different mentioned causes for a rubber burning smell are not bad, then your problem could be related to some heaters issues.

If you've been driving your vehicle for a longer time and you started noticing this plastic burning smell, there might be something stuck inside the heating system that got burnt.

To solve this problem, you need to clean up the heaters and flush them out using a professional mechanic's help if you don't have the technical or mechanical experience needed.  

  • Burning Plastic smell from Problems related to the electrical system 

 

Another very common cause for a burning plastic smell could come from issues with the electrical system. If one of your electrical cords or connections got burns for any reason, you would start noticing some plastic burning smell.

The best solution for this is to consult a professional mechanic who could help you identify the burnt electrical wire location or connection and replace it if needed. 

  • Burning oil smell 

 

If you are burning smell is more like burning oil, you should look into different causes than the mentioned above.

Here are some of the common causes of an oil-burning smell in your car: 

  • Burning oil smell from oil change issues 

 

According to the manufacturer, every vehicle must perform an oil change at the right time with the right frequency.

If you failed to replace your vehicle's oil on time, you would be running your car on contaminated or dirty oil appearance. As a result, it's very likely to start noticing some burning oil smell coming out of your car.

To resolve this issue, you need to go ahead and perform an urgent oil change immediately. 

  • Burning Oil smell from loose oil filters 

 

A second problem that could lead to a burning oil smell has loose oil filters.

If the oil filter is loose, there is a high chance for this oil to leak into the other components around your vehicle.

In the case of hot oil, there is a very high chance for this oil to burn any component around it to cause oil burning smell.

To resolve the issue, you must look at the oil filter and make sure that it's tightened enough to a level that does not allow any oil leaks.

It's important to notice that you don't attempt to do any maintenance to the oil filter unless your vehicle is cooled down and you don't have risk or safety issues. 

  • Burning Oil smell from a failed oil plug 

 

Like the loose oil filter, if your vehicle is dealing with a failed oil plug, there is a very high chance for this hot oil to leak and start burning outside the system and causing a very strong oil burning smell.

If that's the case, you need to replace this damaged oil plug with a new one and make sure that there is no more oil leaking. 

  • Burning Oil smell from a blown gasket 

 

Like the burning rubber smell cause, if the gasket failed or blown up, you will start dealing with the burning oil smell.

As we mentioned before, the gasket is responsible for sealing the cylinders and making sure that there is no hot oil leaking outside of the engine system.

Once this gasket fails, the oil can easily leak outside, and you will start smelling this oil burning smell.

Unfortunately, if you're dealing with a blown head gasket, the repair costs are one of the most expensive car repairs. 

  • Burning carpet smells 

The last type of burning smell that you might be dealing with is the burning carpet smell.

This type of smell usually happens when you have a problem with the brakes.

The problem is most likely when you're driving at a steep hill and pressing hard on the brakes. 

Unfortunately, the server problem also requires a professional mechanic visit to help you check whether your brakes are still in good condition or you already damaged them by pressing on them very hard. If that's the case, you need to replace the entire brake system before being able to drive this vehicle again. 

Conclusion

 

As a rule of thumb, if you noticed any strange smell as you're driving your car, you must take this smell very seriously.

Noticing a burning smell from car when accelerating is one of the most serious issues you should not ignore. 

There are four different types of burning smell from car when accelerating, including a burning rubber smell, burning plastic smell, a burning oil smell, and a burning carpet smell. 

In all cases, your best solution is to consult a professional mechanic and describe the problem accurately to him before attempting to drive your vehicle for long distances. 

While the problem might be resolved simply and easily in some cases, there are situations where you might need to do significant repairs that cost you a lot of money, and ignoring this problem might even double up the fees that you will have to pay.