What to Do When Your Car Smells Like Antifreeze

So your car smells like antifreeze, which has a pungent yet fruity smell. Get it fixed at your dealership, a car detailing shop, or a carwash. This is because fixing your antifreeze leakage problems isn't a DIY kind of job like changing tires or installing a new battery.

Some cars have manufacturing defects that necessitate fixing design flaws, hairline cracks, and other issues that can cause antifreeze to leak all over your car and make your water freeze in winter into a huge ice block. You don't want your hood and car interior to be drenched in the stuff, after all.

How to Fix This Antifreeze Dilemma

  • Get to the Dealer ASAP for Fixing: Don't mask the smell with sprays or absorb it with activated charcoal. You should have it fixed from the source so that your car won't break down and you yourself won't get poisoned by inhalation of the substance. Leaving the conditions as they are and letting the leaky coolant be will only lead to an overheating engine and water that you can't use. This coolant leak can originate from the weep reservoir or water pump shaft seal as well.
  • What to Expect While This Is Happening: The Service Engine indicator light might blink and display the "Engine Hot, A/C Off" message as well. As you wait to get towed or drive to your nearest car repair shop, expect your car to safeguard itself from the reduced coolant level by reducing its engine power in turn. You can also call Customer Service for your vehicle to get further assistance, necessitating you to provide your full name, phone number, address, VIN number, and current car mileage.
  • Faulty Parts for Replacement: The mechanic or a whole service crew might have to do some digging into your car to know the origin of the leakage. Depending on the leak's origin, the faulty part might be replaced then remain with the shop for further tests. The part to be replaced could be the water pump shaft seal, the weep reservoir, or the timing chain depending on which of them have been compromised. Maybe even all of them require immediate replacement.
  • Research More on the Subject: Perhaps the coolant leakage isn't your fault. At least one model of car, like the Chevrolet Cruze, has antifreeze leakages as part of a design flaw on the 1.4-liter engine. Even though the Cruze serves as a perfect blend of Japanese technology and American sensibilities, it does have certain flaws that necessitate a recall or at least free fixes from your dealership. This Suzuki Ignis clone of sorts certainly dropped the ball in terms of antifreeze containment integrity.

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