7 Car Smells You Might Notice In Montgomery And What They Mean


Everyone around Selma and Prattville loves that new car smell, right? Well, if you don’t keep up on maintenance, your car could start producing some less savory smells instead. Being aware of the smells your car produces can help you diagnose problems before you see them or before they become irreversible. Here is a list of 7 car smells Reinhardt Toyota doesn’t want you to ignore.

1. Rotten Eggs

The gasoline that fuels your car contains trace amounts of sulfur. This creates a by-product called hydrogen sulfide, which smells like the eggs you forgot in your trunk for a week after grocery shopping in Selma or Tuskegee.

The catalytic converter is a crucial part of your exhaust system because it takes this by-product and converts it into odorless sulfur dioxide. If you start smelling rotten eggs when your car is running, your catalytic converter needs to be replaced. Unfortunately, around AL this is usually a pricy fix, but it may be covered under warranty. For more information, call Reinhardt Toyota at (866) 673-7030.

2. Maple Syrup

People living near Prattville and Selma usually aren’t getting a whiff of maple syrup around the car. If you do, you could be leaking coolant. Coolant contains ethylene glycol, which smells sweet but is actually very toxic.

The fix could be as simple as tightening a loose radiator cap or replacing a hose or gasket. If you notice the smell inside the car, it’s likely that you have a bad heater core.


3. Fire and Brimstone

If you’re driving around Prattville or Union Springs and you smell fire and brimstone you can relax; it’s not the end just yet. What you smell is sulfur from a leaky gear housing or transmission. The gear lube in these components of the drivetrain contain sulfur compounds that act as extreme pressure lubricants.

Over time, the lube will start to deteriorate and even leak, emitting a sulfur smell. You can check for a leak by inspecting any oil substance left behind by your car. If it smells like sulfur, it’s time to visit a mechanic.

4. Burning Moldy Newspaper

If you smell a smoldering, moldy newspaper, you’re either passing by a Montgomery AL millennial spring-cleaning bonfire or you’ve got clutch problems.

The smell results from friction material actually burning off the clutch as it slips. If you smell this under normal driving conditions around Montgomery, your clutch is failing and needs to be replaced.

5. Gas Station

The only time the smell of gas should be in the air around Montgomery or Prattville is when you are refueling your car. A questionable gasoline odor coming from your car is an indication of a leak. The most likely culprits are a fuel injection line or fuel tank vent hose.

6. Locker Room

Here at Reinhardt Toyota we all remember what the high school gym locker room used to smell like in Tuskegee, and you probably do too. You probably thought you left it behind for good. However, your A/C unit could have other plans.

If you smell that familiar sour dankness in your cabin driving around Prattville it probably means there’s mildew in your A/C vents. There are a few ways to solve this problem, the simplest being running air through the vents with the A/C off. If you can’t dry it out yourself, it’s best to have a technician take care of it for you.

7. Burned Carpet

People living near Tuskegee and Prattville shouldn’t be smelling burned carpet while driving. If you smell burned carpet while you’re driving, your brake pads are overheated. While this is normal under intense braking conditions like driving down a mountain pass, you shouldn’t smell this under typical driving conditions around Union Springs.

The most common cause for this is a seized caliper piston, but brakes can overheat for a number of reasons. Maintaining your brakes is the best way to avoid problems like these.

There are many smells in and around Montgomery, Prattville, Union Springs, and Tuskegee, some good, some bad. Whether we like it or not, we get to experience them all. If your car is in good health, it should be emitting no smells, at least none that are abhorrently unpleasant. Being aware of what the bad smells are and what they mean can help you diagnose a problem before it gets worse. If you are ever unsure about the smells coming from your vehicle, stop in to Reinhardt Toyota and get it checked out.


Reinhardt Toyota is a Toyota, Scion dealership serving areas within and bordering the Montgomery, AL region.