Keep Your Car Prepared

Car Smells Like Burnt Rubber? Check Under Your Car For Plastic

If you've had your car for awhile, you can probably tell when it has problems just by the way it smells. For example, if your car smells like gas, it most likely has a fuel tank leak. But if your car smells like burnt rubber inside, you might not have a clue as to why. Burnt rubber is one of the strangest smells to show up in cars. One of the causes of your car's rubber smell is plastic. Here's how and where you find the plastic, as well as tips to remove it.

How Can Plastic Get on Your Car and Why Does It Smell?

Cars pick up many things when you drive them. Sometimes, plastic bags, cups and other things cling to cars as they drive over or by them. One of the places you should look is beneath your car. Plastic can easily stick to a hot muffler, tie rod and wheel of your vehicle. When your car heats up from driving, the plastic melts and gives off a burnt rubber scent that permeates the inside of the car. 

Plastic contains the same or similar polymer compounds used to make rubber. When the compounds heat up, they release chemicals, which you smell every time you drive your car. Because the chemicals are toxic, it's important that you remove the plastics from beneath your car now.

How Do You Remove the Plastic?

You'll need to park your car on a flat surface, such as your concrete driveway or in a parking lot. Now, follow these tips:

  • Turn off the engine and pull up the parking brake.
  • Look under the car to see if it has bags or other items hanging or sticking from the frame, tire rods and other parts.
  • Use a long-handled broom to pull them off or away from the car. Don't reach your arms or place your body beneath the car for safety.

If you can't remove the plastic, take the car to an auto repair shop, such as Covey's Auto, and tell the technicians about your problem. The technicians can place the car on a lift and remove the plastics for you. In addition, the technicians can check the frame to see if the plastic melted on important parts, such as your brake system and gas lines, that can break down or falter when your drive the car.

If you have other questions or concerns about your car and the strange rubber smell, contact an auto repair shop for assistance.