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What Does It Mean When My Engine Oil Smells Burnt?  – Here’s What You Need To Know

Engine Oil Smells Burnt

Your engine's oil should smell like oil, and it should not smell burnt. If your engine oil smells burnt, you could be dealing with a serious problem, and you must give it attention before causing significant issues to your vehicle.

Auto Repairs Are EXPENSIVE

The purpose of this article is to help you understand different causes for your engine oil smells burnt and what to do about them. 

What is the purpose of engine oil? 

It's important to understand the purpose of having oil in your vehicle before diving into the different reasons for your oil smells burnt.

Think about your engine as a lot of moving parts touching each other all the time, and if nothing is lubricating them, they will generate a lot of friction.

Having too much friction in the engine is not good Because it generates so much heat that could damage their engine. Your vehicle's engine must operate within a certain range of temperature that you must maintain.

In addition to having the cooling system maintain the engine temperature, the oil is one of the most important liquids in your vehicle that reduces the engine's temperature. 

My engine's oil smells burnt; what's going on? 


Glad you noticed that you could be dealing with significant engine problem very soon if you don't take immediate action. 

There are a variety of reasons for your engine oil smells burnt, including: 

  • Internal oil leak 


While it's important to have the required amount of oil around your engine, this oil must flow within certain flow paths. If the oil left these flow paths, you would be dealing with your engine running on low oil, which is very dangerous.


There are many reasons for the oil to leave its appropriate paths and leak internally. Some of these leaks could be very small, while others might be very big and significant.

For example, if you looked under your car and saw a puddle of oil, this is a clear indication of a significant oil leak that prevents you from even driving your vehicle.

Unfortunately, this case requires some help from a professional mechanic because Small cracks might be hard to detect why any driver who doesn't have the required mechanical skill sets. 

If the oil leak is big and you can see it, it's recommended that you never attempt to move your vehicle before consulting a professional mechanic. If your vehicle is running in very low oil, the problem could be very serious and could damage your engine immediately. 

All leaks must be taken care of to continue driving this vehicle. This could be by changing or removing the bad parts. After the professional mechanic test leaks' locations, he can remove the cracked pipes or the components that are causing the leak. 

There is no fixed price for how much it costs to repair internal oil leak because it depends heavily on the amount of cracks and the location causing the leak. 

  • A damaged head gasket 


Your head gasket is a small component sitting on top of the cylinders to prevent any liquid's from making its way inside the cylinder during combustion.

If any liquid got to this wonders, you affect the air-fuel ratio, and therefore, the combustion process will produce weird smells and strange gases.

One of the common causes for your engine oil smells burnt a blown head gasket. The head gasket will not be able to do its job, and a lot of oil could make its way inside the cylinders and get burnt. To confirm the problem, you could monitor the smoke that is coming out of the tailpipe. In paragraph usually, if too much oil is getting burnt inside the cylinders due to blown head gaskets, you will see weird blue smoke coming out of the tailpipe. 

  • Damaged PCV valve 


Any excess oil during the combustion process is stored and blocked by a certain valve around the engine. This valve does not allow a lot of this oil to get into the combustion system and causes the engine oil burnt smell.


If this valve gets damaged for any reason, your engine oil smells burnt. To resolve this problem, you need to change the valve.

Luckily, replacing a valve does not require many costs and usually can be done by the driver because it doesn't need a high level of mechanical skill sets. 

  • Oil spills after an oil change 


Many people complained that their engine oil smells burn right after an oil change. This is not surprising, especially if you are having your oil change done by a nonprofessional mechanic.


Think about the mechanic when he attempts to pour the oil inside the oil tank of your vehicle. If he drops any little oil around the engine block, this oil can get burnt easily due to the high heat coming out of the engine's block.

This type of oil-burning smell is not very serious because it's small and not related to significant internal vehicle problems.

Therefore, you don't have to panic, and sometimes you don't have to do any action assuming that the oil drops are small.

However, if there was too much oil spelled around the engine's block, it might get so hot and could burn some of the rubber components around the engine.

Bottom line, it's better to check with the mechanic and inform him what you're dealing with and if this small burn smells coming from the oil drops after an oil change or it's related to something else. 


How do you get rid of the smell of burning oil? 


Answering this question depends on the source of the oil burning smell.

For example, if the oil burning smell is coming from oil spills around the engine block after an oil change, the problem could be resolved by cleaning up any oil drops.

Keep in mind that you can't attempt to clean up oil drops around the engine unless your vehicle is completely cooled down.

When you drive the vehicle, the engine's block could be very hot, and there is a high risk of safety issues. 

On the other hand, if the oil burning smell comes from an internal problem that has to do with an internal oil leak, you must internally resolve the culprits.

In other words, if your engine oil smells burnt because of a blown head gasket, you must replace the head gasket immediately because the problem cannot end with just an oil burning smell. It could be just an introduction to complete engine failure.

Therefore, your actual goal should not be to get rid of the oil smell; It should be resolving the underlying problem to protect your vehicle and prevent complicated repairs that require a lot of money. 

Is it worth repairing the vehicle if the engine oil smells burnt? 


It's important to evaluate the situation carefully before attempting to do any car repairs. Whether it's related talk oil burn smell or something else.

Depending on the cause of this oil burn smell, you can decide whether it's worth repairing your vehicle or not.

For example, if the oil burn smell is coming from oil drops after an oil change, you can eliminate the problem without even paying a penny.

However, if the problem is coming due to a blown head gasket causing oil to leak inside the cylinders, you need to think carefully.

Replacing a blown head gasket can be very costly and could easily get as costly as your vehicle's value. Therefore, if repair costs are getting close to the vehicle's value, it might not be worth repairing this vehicle, and instead, you should sell this car as junk and use the money as a down payment for a new vehicle. 



Your engine requires a certain amount of oil to help it cool down and prevent any internal friction between the moving parts. 

Without enough oil, these moving parts could generate a lot of heat that could damage the engine.

If your engine oil smells burnt, the problem could be very serious, and it must not be ignored.

While some of the burnt smell might be related to simple oil drops after an oil change, other problems could be related to significant engine failure.

When your engine oil smells burnt, the problem is related to an internal oil leak, a blown head gasket, a damaged PCV valve, or some other oil drops after an oil change. Despite the cause, you must take care of the problem immediately. 

While it might cost you some money to get rid of the engine oil smells burnt, imagine how much money it will cost you to repair a completely damaged engine. 

Before repairing engine oil smells like burnt, it's important to compare repair costs to the value of your vehicle because it might not be worth the repair.

Luckily, our company buys cars of all makes and models despite their condition. If your car even has a blown head gasket, our company will buy it and pay you the most cash it deserves. 

Get in touch with your team today!

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