There are different types of car smells with varying levels of concern. One of these is a burning rubber smell. Such acrid odors could be indicative of problematic car parts. Likewise, such issues should be addressed immediately.
The reason behind such odors can either be very problematic or a minor issue. However, you can only ever know its nature once you’ve looked into it. So, what is the burning rubber smell from cars, and how do you address it?
What is the Burning Rubber Smell From Cars?
The burning rubber smell in cars isn’t necessarily a significant problem, but it shouldn’t be ignored. It might indicate issues in the rubber hose or belt, power steering fluid, brake rotors, and tires.
There are several reasons behind a car’s burning rubber smell. So, when you whiff a scent, immediately let your vehicle cool down and investigate its source. Then, if you’re unfamiliar with it, contact an auto mechanic to address the issue directly.
Different Sources of the Burning Rubber Smell in Your Car
The smell of burnt rubber in cars is particularly stressful, especially if you cannot locate it. It’s even more stressful if you lack knowledge about cars. Regardless of the gravity of the issue, it’s important to trace where the smell comes from.
There are several possible sources of the burning rubber smell in your car. So, where does the burning rubber smell come? Potential sources of the burning rubber smell include tire, brake rotor, power steering fluid, and rubber hose issues.
#1. A Tire Issue - Punctured, Under-inflated or Over-inflated
Tire pressure may be one of the sources of the burnt rubber smell in cars. It may also be caused by tire blowouts, where the tire explodes literally.
Tire blowouts often happen due to under and over-inflation of tires. They are also possible because of the change in tire pressure due to punctures caused.
#2. Brake Rotors
Most modern cars have disc brakes—this type of brake functions by squeezing pads against a rotor attached to the wheel. The contact between the two parts creates friction and slows down the rotation.
So, brake rotor issues may arise if you have been braking aggressively or if you’ve been driving on steep slopes. Your brake pads are more or less responsible for giving off the burnt rubber smell.
Another possible cause of brake rotor issues would be a malfunctioning brake system. In such a case, the brake pads may press against the rotor despite the pedal not being pressed.
#3. Power Steering Fluid Excessively Circulating
If you sense your car smelling like burnt rubber while driving at high speed, it’s likely due to a leak. For example, a power steering fluid leak may induce burnt rubber smells once it comes into contact with hot components of the engine.
#4. Tires Worn Out or Ignored
Overheated and worn tires are almost always an issue of wear and tear. Although many believe the burning rubber smell is associated with ignored tires, it’s actually due to brake pads.
A worn-out brake pad will likely cause the burnt rubber smell. It is either due to extreme temperatures or an overall reduced state of depletion.
#5. Loose or Worn-Out Rubber Hose or Belt
The smell of burning rubber may very well be from a burning loose or worn-out rubber hose or belt. These loose parts can quickly move around, come into contact with hot parts of the engine, and melt.
Dealing With the Burning Rubber Smell in Your Car
Now, after learning the possible sources of such a scent, it’s time to know how to eliminate the smell of burning rubber.
The first thing to be done is to let your car cool down. Then, once your vehicle has cooled down, open the hood and investigate the possible sources of the smell. If you’re not exactly sure of what to do or what to examine, call an auto mechanic so they can fix the problem quickly.
Reduce the Risk of a Burning Rubber Smell
One of the simplest ways to reduce the risk of a burning rubber smell in your car is not to drive aggressively. Well, that’s unless you’re a professional race car driver.
Aggressive driving is a sure way to overheat and wear out your car parts. So as much as possible, it’s best to drive properly and calmly.
Another way is to use smokey cabin ac filters. Cabin air filters are cartridges of paper, mesh, and cotton that contain activated charcoal. It functions mainly to remove 99.995% of airborne contaminants. Smokey cabin ac filter replacement costs range from $30 to $70.
Maintenance and upkeep of cars might be tedious or easy, depending on the car owner’s knowledge. So, when faced with problems such as a sudden burnt rubber smell, you should immediately try to solve it.
Don’t wait for the worse, even if it seems like a minor issue. After all, small problems eventually become major issues if allowed to pile up constantly. In such cases, it’s only going to become a major headache as well.
So, if you’ve observed any burnt rubber smell in your car or any issue, immediately investigate it. Better yet, call your trusted auto mechanic to help you fix the problem right away.
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