2020 Toyota Land Cruiser Interior

Vehicles are made up of many different parts. Therefore, it's not always easy to know what's wrong when your car isn't working the way it should. Fortunately, there are some smells that cars will give off when a part is broken or needs service. Some smells are associated with just one component in your vehicle, but other smells can possibly indicate multiple issues, such as the engine or the brakes.

Burned Rubber

Seared rubber can be an alarming smell for drivers. This smell commonly appears when the brakes need repairs. The brake system includes metal and protective components. The protective parts can lose their ability to control friction and heat when they get worn down, which then causes brake problems. Without their protective layer, the brakes' metal elements collide and produce heat, which then triggers a burning scent. Oil droplets coming from the engine are other known causes of burning rubber odors.

Gym Clothes

The stench of old, dirty laundry isn't a mechanical danger, but nevertheless, you'll want to resolve the issue. Left unchecked, you'll end up with an even smellier car and a potentially large repair bill. This smell may be due to mold growing within the vehicle's air conditioning system. When you run the A/C, the smell is often more pronounced. The smell will likely go away when you allow fresh air to enter the A/C system using the car's fan.

Burned Carpet

A distinctive smell of singed carpeting also points to braking system issues. This smell generally arises when the brake pads wear down. They no longer shield the metal brake components, which causes them to interact and produce heat and friction. A burning carpet smell also starts when you use the hand brake while driving or braking excessively.


You may find that the car starts smelling like maple syrup when you first start the engine. Alternatively, the smell can remain for a little while, even after parking. If this smell becomes more pronounced, don't hesitate to contact a professional for repairs. The car may be leaking coolant fluid, which can ultimately damage the engine and other mechanical parts.

Sulfur or Rotten Eggs

Another unpleasant odor in your car is rotten eggs. The classic rotten egg smell and being unbearable suggest issues with either the engine, catalytic converter, or sometimes both. A skilled mechanic can check the mechanical and exhaust system to see if either part needs to be replaced and make repairs.

If your car smells off, contact us or visit our Toyota service center so our expert technicians can evaluate any strange smells for repairs.


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