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What’s that smell?

If your car’s been raising a stink of late, rest assured it’s a signal for help

autos Updated: Mar 25, 2010 00:51 IST

You have to agree, the only smell that a car owner cherishes is the fresh, new-car scent he gets after driving home his brand new set of wheels. But over a period of time, cars emit odour. From dewy AC vents to unburned petrol from a leaky exhaust, a whole range of unpleasant smells can emanate from your car. This is usually an indication of an early niggle which shouldn’t be neglected.

Musty odour: A musty or mildew stink from the cabin usually comes from the AC vents. It could be caused by fungus growth in the car’s air-conditioning system. Since the odour is caused by condensation, the best way to keep it at bay is to setting the AC controls to fresh circulation mode once in while.

Smoky smell in the cabin: In case you get a smoky, electrical smell from inside your car, park it on the side of the road and shut down the engine and all electrical features immediately.

Asbestos-stench: If there’s an asbestos-like stench that’s accompanied by some resistance when you accelerate, it’s most likely that the handbrake is still pulled up.

Exhaust fumes: If your car smells like an exhaust, check your car’s tailpipe for holes, cracks or broken pieces.

Rotten egg smell: This will only happen rarely, but the foul rotten-egg smell comes from a clogged or plugged catalytic converter, a very rich fuel-air mixture or simply a faulty converter in the exhaust system.

Autocar India