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Why Does My Car Smell Like Burning Oil? 5 Common Causes

Why Does My Car Smell Like Burning Oil? 5 Common Causes

There are a lot of different fluids that are found running throughout your car. Each of them plays a very important role in the overall well-being of your vehicle. But you could argue that none is more essential than the oil in your car. Oil is used to lubricate all of the moving parts inside of your car’s engine, which is what makes it so vital. If you ever find yourself asking the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, you’re going to want to spring into action right away and do something about it. The last thing you want is for your car to be running without enough oil in it. Learn what burning oil smells like and find out what could be causing this smell below.

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What Does Burning Oil Smell Like?

If you’re asking yourself the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, there is a pretty good chance that you already know what burning oil smells like. But just in case you don’t, it’s good for you to be familiar with what burning oil smells like so that you’re able to identify this particular problem. There are actually quite a few different odors that your car can produce, but burning oil is one of the most unmistakable odors around.

 

Generally speaking, a burning oil smell has a very thick and acrid odor to it. When you smell burning oil, you’re going to know it. It’s going to be extremely unpleasant, and it’s going to make you want to shut your car off right away and get out of it so that you don’t have to deal with the smell. Despite this, there are still some people who will attempt to ignore the burning oil smell. But more often than not, they’re going to discover that it’s impossible to do this.

 

If you ever find yourself wondering, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, it’s going to be imperative for you to try and get to the bottom of the smell sooner rather than later. You could potentially put your car into serious danger if you continue to drive around in it with a burning oil smell emanating from underneath your hood.

Why Does My Car Smell Like Burning Oil?

Now that you have a better idea of what burning oil smells like, we want to get into talking about some of the possible answers to the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?” There are actually a handful of different things that can cause your car to smell like burning oil out of the blue. Some of the causes of a burning oil smell are more serious than others. But even still, you should always work to identify the cause of a burning oil smell so that you can do something about it as soon as you can. Keep reading to find out some of the answers to the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”

1. Your Car Is Running Dangerously Low on Oil

The first thing that you’re going to want to do when you’re asking yourself the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, is pop the hood on your car and check the oil dipstick for it. There is a decent chance that the burning oil smell that’s coming from your car could be caused by a lack of oil in it. If your car doesn’t have enough oil in it, it’s almost always going to result in a burning oil smell as your car tries to use up the last of what’s left.

 

You can obviously avoid finding yourself in this particular position by keeping a close eye on how much oil you have in your car at any given moment. You can also do it by changing the oil in your car on a regular basis. Most experts recommend changing the oil in your car about once every three months or every 3,000 miles. But you should consult the owner’s manual for your car to get a better idea of what your auto manufacturer recommends.

 

Whatever the case may be, you don’t ever want to use up all the oil in your car and fail to replace it. If you do, you’re going to experience issues with your engine and some of the other aspects of your car before long. It’s why you should check your oil levels when you’re wondering, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”

2. Your Car Is Leaking Oil

If you take a look at the oil dipstick for your car after asking yourself, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, and you find that there is enough oil in it, the next thing you’ll want to do is see if oil might be leaking out of your car. This can produce a burning oil smell depending on where the oil that’s leaking is landing.

 

If the oil that is leaking from your car is falling right to the ground, then it’s probably not going to produce any strong odors along with it. But oftentimes, the oil that leaks from a car will land on either the engine block or on the exhaust manifold. And when it does this, it’ll cause a burning oil smell that will permeate the air inside and outside of a vehicle.

 

You’re going to need to have a mechanic look at your car to see where oil might be leaking from it if you suspect that this is the cause of the burning oil smell coming from your vehicle. They should be able to identify the source of the leak and fix it so that you don’t have to be concerned about oil leaking from your car anymore.

3. Your Car’s Engine Is Overheating

One of the reasons why you don’t ever want to get caught driving around in a car with next to no oil is because it can eventually lead to your engine overheating. And when that happens, there is a really good chance that you’re going to find yourself in a world of trouble. You’re going to be asking more than just, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?” You’re also going to be asking, “Am I going to have to replace my entire engine?”

 

If you sense a burning oil smell coming from under your car’s hood, it could possibly be because your car has started to overheat due to a lack of oil. As your engine uses up the last of the oil in your car, it’s going to start to burn it off, which can produce a very foul odor. This is one instance in which you are most definitely not going to want to ignore this smell. It could result in your engine burning up before long if you don’t do something about it.

 

The temperature gauge located on the dashboard of your vehicle should indicate whether or not your engine is on the verge of overheating. But you shouldn’t rely exclusively on this gauge to monitor your engine. It could break and stop telling you the temperature of your engine. So you should also keep a nose out for any burning smell odors in the air. They might tell you everything you need to know about the condition of your engine.

4. Your Car Is Very Low on Transmission Fluid

More often than not, when you find yourself asking the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, it’s going to be because your car is, in fact, burning oil. But in some situations, you might sense a burning oil smell even though your car’s oil isn’t burning at all. It might actually be your transmission fluid that’s leading to the burning smell that’s in the air.

 

If your transmission fluid levels are on the lower side, it’s not uncommon for there to be a lack of lubrication in the gears in your transmission. When this happens, it makes it difficult for these gears to move around, and it can start to produce a burning smell before long. This burning smell will smell a whole lot like the odor that comes from burning oil. But it’s going to let you know that the gears in your transmission are hotter than they should be and possibly on the verge of breaking down on you.

5. Your Car Is Leaking Transmission Fluid

Since the transmission system in your car is sealed, it’s rare for it to run out of transmission fluid completely on its own. Typically, a lack of transmission fluid in a vehicle is going to stem from a leak somewhere in the transmission system that is allowing transmission fluid to come out of a car. You should look out for any signs of a transmission fluid leak if you’re asking yourself, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”

 

A transmission fluid leak can obviously lead to less transmission fluid being in a transmission system than there should be. It can rob the gears in a transmission of the fluid that they need and cause them to produce a burning smell. You’ll want to pay close attention to this smell and try to see what the source of it is. If it’s being caused by a transmission fluid leak, you’ll want to get this repaired right away.

What Should You Do If Your Car Smells Like Burning Oil?

If you, at any point, discover that your car smells a lot like burning oil when you’re behind the wheel, you shouldn’t hesitate to take it down to your mechanic’s shop so that they can have a look at it. The burning oil smell that you’re sensing isn’t just going to go away on its own in most cases. It’s going to require you to make repairs to your car so that you don’t have to wonder, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, anymore.

 

Bring your car to an ASE-certified mechanic so that they can check it out from top to bottom to see what seems to be the problem with it. The good news is that most mechanics are going to be able to pinpoint the problem with your car within just a few minutes. It’s usually easy to find what’s causing a car to smell like burning oil. But they’re not going to be able to do this until you take your car to them for an inspection.

Is It Safe to Drive a Car That Smells Like Burning Oil?

If your car ever smells like burning oil, you might wonder if it’s OK to continue to drive it. The answer to this question is almost always a resounding “no!” You could put your car into jeopardy by asking the question, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, and then choosing not to do anything about it. There is a possibility that your car could go up in flames if you don’t do something about the burning oil smell. It’s why you should drive down to an auto repair shop as soon as you can to have your car looked at by a mechanic.

Can You Sell a Car That Smells Like Burning Oil?

Do you want to get rid of a car that smells like burning oil every time you drive it? You could ask, “Why does my car smell like burning oil?”, and then fix whatever the problem is prior to selling it if you want. But why do that when you could also sell your car as-is to a cash buyer? Cash Cars Buyers is here to help those who want to sell cars that aren’t in great shape for cash.

 

In spite of the fact that your car smells like burning oil, we’ll still pay you top dollar for it. We’ll also come and pick your car up from you so that you don’t have to worry about putting yourself at risk while driving it to us. Contact us today to find out how simple it is to sell your old car to us.