Driving a car shouldn’t be a stinky experience. But if your car smells bad, it could signify that something is wrong. It might be something as simple as a forgotten piece of food or something more serious like an oil leak. If you still don’t know the answer to why does my car smell like sulfur, trash, or rotten eggs, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.
Whether it’s a foul odor coming from the cabin or something smells off under the hood, there’s a fix! Don’t just ignore your car’s bad smells and let them turn into a bigger problem. Instead, find out why your car smells and fix it to enjoy a fresh-smelling ride again.
How a Car Normally Smells
Cars have many different smells, but a few are considered normal. The new car smell is the most well-known example, and it’s caused by the off-gassing of chemicals used in the manufacturing process. This smell should fade after a few weeks or months.
The other common car smell is gasoline. If you can smell gasoline but don’t see any leaks, it may be because the fuel cap is loose or not tightened properly. Another possibility is that the evaporation control system, which keeps gas fumes from entering the cabin, isn’t working correctly.
You may also notice a burning smell when first starting your car. It is usually nothing to worry about and is caused by the engine’s oil burning off. It’s totally normal, but if the burning smell persists, it could be a sign of an oil leak.
Different Types of Car Smells
Before fixing a smelly car, you need to figure out what type of smell it is. Here are some of the most common smells that can come from your car:
When we say musty smell, it refers to that old, dank smell. You can usually smell it when you first turn on the car’s AC.
A trashy smell is musty but with a twist of garbage. It usually sticks around even when the windows are rolled down.
➣Rotten Egg Smell
It is probably one of the worst smells your car can have. It smells like sulfur which can be very unpleasant.
Just like the name suggests, it smells like fish. It stinks, and it’s very hard to get rid of.
A burnt smell is like the smell of something being cooked. You can usually smell it when you first start the car.
Common Reasons Why Your Car Smells And How to Fix Them
If you’re concerned and don’t know the answer to why does my car smell like sulfur or why my car is so smelly, this is your lucky day. We’ve listed some of the most common reasons why cars smell bad and how to fix them.
◼Food or Drinks Spills
Eating and drinking in the car are inevitable, but spills can happen. If you don’t clean them up right away, they can start to stink. That’s because food and drinks can rot and leave behind a nasty smell.
To prevent this from happening, always have a stash of cleaning supplies in your trunk so you can clean up any spills as soon as they happen. Or, better yet, avoid eating and drinking in the car altogether.
By doing so, you can avoid any accidents and keep your car smelling fresh. And that can save you a lot of time and money in the long run. You won’t need to get a carwash as often, and you won’t have to deal with the hassle of cleaning up spills.
◼Mold or Mildew
Mold and mildew can grow in any damp, dark area, such as the trunk or cabin of a car. If you live in a humid climate or if you often drive with the windows down, there’s a chance that mold or mildew has started to grow in your car. These fungi release spores into the air, which can cause allergic reactions in some people.
Mold and mildew can also cause that musty smell in your car. To get rid of it, you need to clean the affected area with a solution of water and bleach. Or, you can use a commercial mold and mildew remover. Just be sure to follow the instructions carefully.
Once you’ve cleaned the area, make sure it’s completely dry before closing up the car. You can use a fan to speed up the drying process. That way, you can prevent mold and mildew from coming back.
◼Smoke or Cigarette Odors
If you or someone else smokes in the car, it will stink. Unfortunately, it’s not just the smoke that smells bad, but also the ashes and cigarette butt stink. The smell of smoke can be difficult to get rid of, but there are a few things you can do to try to remove it.
To get rid of the smell, you need to clean all the surfaces in the car, including the upholstery, dashboard, and windows. You can use a commercial cleaner or a DIY solution of water and vinegar.
After you’ve cleaned the surfaces, you need to get rid of the ashes and cigarette butts. These can be tricky to find, so you may need a flashlight to help you see. Once you’ve found them, dispose of them properly.
◼Dirty Cabin Air Filter
One of the most common reasons for musty smells in the car is a dirty cabin air filter. This filter is responsible for cleaning the air that comes into the cabin, so if it’s full of dirt and dust, the air will be too.
It’s usually easy to tell when the cabin air filter needs to be replaced. For example, if you notice that the air in the car smells musty, even when the windows are rolled down, it’s probably time to replace the filter.
To replace the filter, you’ll need to locate it. It’s usually located behind the glove box. Once you’ve found it, remove the old filter and insert a new one. It’s usually inexpensive to replace the filter, and it’s easy to do it yourself.
The reason for “why does my car smell like sulfur?” may be due to the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter is a pollution-control device that helps to reduce emissions from the car. It does this by converting harmful chemicals into less harmful ones.
Over time, gas can get to the catalytic converter and cause it to break down. When this happens, it can cause a rotten egg smell. If you notice this smell, you should take the car to a mechanic to have it checked out.
You need to be careful when driving with a broken catalytic converter. If you drive too fast or too long, you could overheat the engine and cause serious damage. So, it’s best to get it fixed as soon as possible.
Smelling bad in your car can also signify that the gasoline is bad. Gasoline can go bad if it’s not used within a certain timeframe. The timeframe differs depending on the type of gasoline, but it’s usually between 30 and 90 days.
If you use gas that’s gone bad, it can damage the engine. It can also cause the car to smell bad. So, if you notice a bad smell when you’re driving, it’s best to get the gas checked out. You can take it to a mechanic or a gas station to have it tested.
And it might be a good idea to switch to a different gas station if you notice that the gas is bad. That way, you can avoid using bad gas in the future.
A dirty engine can also cause your car to smell bad. If you don’t regularly clean your engine, oil and grease can build up on the engine parts. It can cause the car to smell like burning oil.
To clean the engine, you’ll need to get it professionally done. But, there are a few things you can do to prevent the problem from getting worse. First, make sure you regularly check the oil level and change the oil when needed. Second, don’t park the car over puddles or in the rain.
Water can get into the engine and cause it to rust. So, it’s best to keep the engine as dry as possible. If you do notice a bad smell, take the car to a mechanic to have it checked out.
◼Build-Up of Dirt and Dust
Over time, dirt and dust can build up on the surfaces in your car. It can cause the car to smell musty. And, if you have allergies, it can make them worse.
To prevent the problem, you need to regularly clean the car. Vacuum the floors and seats, and wipe down t-trim and hard surfaces. You should also clean the windows, both inside and out.
If you don’t have time to clean the car yourself, you can take it to a professional. They can deep clean the car and get rid of all the dirt and dust. That way, you can avoid the musty smell and keep your allergies under control.
Another common cause of bad smells in cars is leaking coolant. Coolant is a substance that helps to keep the engine cool. It does this by absorbing heat from the engine.
If there’s a leak, the coolant can drip onto the ground. And, if it gets on the hot engine, it can cause a burning smell. If you notice this smell, you should take the car to a mechanic to have it checked out.
A leaking coolant system can cause the engine to overheat. So, it’s important to get it fixed as soon as possible. Don’t forget to check the engine oil as well, as it may be low.
Another common car smell is burning rubber. It can be caused by a few different things. First, it could be due to the brakes. If the brake pads are worn out, they can start to grind against the rotors.
Another possible cause is the tires. If the tires are worn out, they can start to shred and create a burning smell. Or, if the tires are overheated, they can also create a burning smell.
If you notice a burning rubber smell, you should get the car checked out by a mechanic. They can inspect the brakes and tires to see if they’re the cause of the problem.
The clutch is a device that helps to connect the engine to the wheels. It’s located between the two. And, if it gets too hot, it can start to create a burning smell.
There are a few things that can cause the clutch to overheat. First, if the car is low on oil, it can cause the clutch to overheat. Second, if the clutch is worn out, it can also overheat.
To fix the problem, you’ll need to take the car to a mechanic. You might need to add oil or get the clutch replaced.
◼Badly Maintained Car
If you don’t properly maintain your car, it can cause all sorts of problems. One of the most common problems is bad smells. If you don’t regularly clean the car, it can start to smell musty.
And, if you don’t maintain the engine, it can cause the car to smell like burning oil or rubber. So, it’s important to keep up with the maintenance of your car. That way, you can avoid any bad smells.
You can clean the car yourself or take it to a professional. And you should always check the oil level and change the oil when needed. By following these tips, you can keep your car smelling fresh and prevent any serious problems.
◼Pet Hair or Dander
If you have a pet, their hair or dander can get into the car. And, if you have allergies, it can make them worse. To prevent the problem, you should vacuum the car regularly.
You should also brush your pet before they get in the car. That way, you can remove any loose hair or dander. Or, if you have a dog, you can also invest in a pet hair remover. They’re specifically designed to remove pet hair from upholstery.
That way, you can keep your car clean and free of any bad smells. You might also want to consider investing in a hypoallergenic air filter. That way, you can remove any allergens from the air and make it easier to breathe.
◼Strong Perfumes or Air Fresheners
If you use strong perfumes or air fresheners, they can actually make the problem worse. The chemicals in them can react with the other smells in the car. And that can create a bad smell.
It’s best to avoid using strong perfumes or air fresheners in the car. If you must use them, make sure to open the windows to air out the car.
Opt for a natural air freshener like essential oils. Or, you can also try a DIY air freshener. That way, you can avoid any bad smells and keep your car smelling fresh.
Benefits of Having a Fresh-Smelling Car
You might not think that a fresh-smelling car is that important. But, it actually has a few benefits. To give you an idea, here are a few benefits of having a fresh-smelling car:
✔More Enjoyable Ride
First, it can make the ride more enjoyable. If the car smells bad, it can be a real turnoff. It can make the ride less enjoyable and even make you feel sick.
But, if the car smells fresh, it can actually make the ride more enjoyable. You can relax and take in the fresh air. And, you won’t have to hold your breath every time you get in the car.
✔Boosts Your Mood
Another benefit is that it can boost your mood. If you’re smelling bad smells, it can actually affect your mood. You might start to feel anxious or stressed because of the bad smells.
But, if the car smells fresh, it can actually put you in a good mood. You’ll feel more relaxed and happy when you get in the car. And that can make the ride more enjoyable.
✔Makes a Good Impression
Another benefit is that it can make a good impression. If you’re driving a car that smells bad, it can reflect poorly on you. People might think that you don’t take care of your car.
But, if you take the time to keep your car smelling fresh, it can make a good impression. People will see that you take care of your car and that you’re considerate of others.
Driving can be stressful. But, if the car smells bad, it can make the ride even more stressful. You’ll constantly be thinking about the bad smell and how to get rid of it.
But, if you drive a car that smells fresh, it can actually be more relaxing. You’ll be able to take in the fresh smell and relax. And, you won’t have to worry about the bad smell anymore.
✔Good for Your Health
Ignoring a car that smells bad can actually be bad for your health. If you’re constantly breathing in bad smells, it can affect your respiratory system. And it can even cause headaches or dizziness.
So, if you want to protect your health, it’s important to keep the car smelling fresh. That way, you won’t have to worry about the bad smells affecting your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How often should I air out my car?
You should air out your car at least once a week. But, if you have pets or smoke cigarettes, you might need to air it out more often.
2. How can I make my car smell fresh?
There are a few things you can do to make your car smell fresh. You can vacuum the seats and carpets. You can also use a natural air freshener. Or, you can try a DIY air freshener.
3. How do I get rid of the smoke smell in my car?
If you smoke cigarettes, the best thing you can do is to stop smoking in the car. But, if you’ve already smoked in the car, you can try airing it out or using a natural air freshener.
4. What is the best air freshener for my car?
The best air freshener for your car is one that is natural and doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. Essential oils are a great option. Or, you can try a DIY air freshener.
5. When should I replace my car’s air freshener?
You should replace your car’s air freshener every few months. But, if you have pets or smoke cigarettes, you might need to replace them more often.
6. Is it bad to have a strong air freshener in my car?
Strong air fresheners can be bad for your health. If you’re constantly breathing in the fumes, it can affect your respiratory system. So, it’s best to use a natural air freshener.
7. How can I prevent my car from smelling?
The best way to prevent your car from smelling is to keep it clean. Vacuum the seats and carpets regularly. And use a natural air freshener.
8. How often should I get a carwash?
You should get a carwash at least once a month. But, if you live in a dusty area or have pets, you might need to wash your car more often.
9. How often should I get my car checked up?
You should get your car checked up at least once a year. But, if you live in a hot climate or drive often, you might need to get it checked up more often. Your car’s machine will also tell you when it is time for a checkup.
10. Why should I change my car’s oil?
Changing your car’s oil is important because it keeps the engine running smoothly. It also helps to prevent corrosion and build-up in the engine. So, it’s important to change your car’s oil every few months.
Driving a car that smells bad can be embarrassing and stressful. But, if you take the time to keep your car smelling fresh, it can actually be relaxing and good for your health. So, don’t neglect the bad smell. Be sure to take care of it right away. For more car tips like this, click here.
Here at I Love Mini Vans, we are a team of geeks who loves the versatility of minivans. We created this blog to help you experience better adventures on your vehicle of choice, whether it’s a minivan, sedan, van, SUV, truck, and whatnot. We offer you automobile tips and tricks that make a difference.