There are many reasons behind the burning smell from under the hood of your car. Once you do smell something strange within your vehicle, it's best that you have it serviced at your nearest dealership or auto repair shop post-haste for your car's own safety.
Any number of things could be malfunctioning on your vehicle. These stinky odors tend to be produced by a few technical problems in your car that should be monitored by your on-board diagnostic system or car computer and alerted to you by the check engine light.
Reasons for a Burning Rubber Smell from Your Car
- Clutch Problem
The smell comes from the clutch face burning or melting off whenever it slips. The rubbery or newspaper-in-flames smell comes from the clutch's surface that's made of paper mesh. If your clutch is worn, it should be replaced immediately to ensure no slippage and smooth transitions.
- Oil Leakage Complication
Stop the engine, jack the car up, and observe the vehicle to find where the leaks are. Or you can drive to the nearest auto service shop so that they can identify where the leaks are and handle the repairs. Don't continue driving and risk more damage to your vehicle.
- Drive Belt Melting Issue
When this happens, your drive belt will spin on a frozen pulley, which should in turn cause friction and burning to happen. Naturally, a melting drive belt will produce a rubbery and burnt smell. It also comes with strange sounds. To prevent this, have your car checked every 6 months.
- Coolant Leaks and Whatnot
Another indicator of a coolant leak is if your A/C isn't working at all or working at a reduced capacity. You should have your cooler checked by a professional to identify any cracks on it. Even the smallest of cracks can leave huge repair expenses and dangers while you're driving.