If, for example, coolant leaks from a pipe or hose in your car and lands on your engine while it’s piping hot, it will begin to burn up right away. When this occurs, you’ll still smell a sweet odor in the air. … Some people have even gone as far as to say that burning antifreeze sometimes smells a lot like fish.
What does the smell of burnt antifreeze mean?
If your car smells like antifreeze, it could mean that the vehicle’s heater core is leaking. The heater core is responsible for circulating warm air in the car’s passenger cabin. When the heater core develops a leak, it begins circulating air with an antifreeze odor and eventually fails altogether.
How do you know if your car is burning coolant?
The smell of coolant and/or a whitish cloud of smoke from the exhaust at startup can be an indicator of coolant in the combustion chambers, which can be confirmed by a chemical test for exhaust hydrocarbons in the coolant.
What does antifreeze smell like?
Antifreeze is a chemical that lowers the freezing point of water. It typically has a pungent, fruity smell. … When it begins to leak, you may notice the antifreeze smell inside or outside your vehicle. An exterior antifreeze leak isn’t as serious a problem is it may seem like.
Why do I smell antifreeze but no leak?
THE CULPRIT: Coolant containing sweet-smelling (but toxic) ethylene glycol is leaking from somewhere. … It might be coming from a leaky radiator cap or the radiator itself, especially if you smell it outside the car. A strong odor inside the passenger compartment probably means a bad heater core.
Can the smell of antifreeze make you sick?
Antifreeze fumes can cause eye and respiratory tract irritation. However, antifreeze shouldn’t be systematically toxic unless physically consumed. Antifreeze can also cause mild skin irritation, though the fumes are far more harmful.
What are the first signs of a blown head gasket?
Bad head gasket symptoms
- White smoke coming from the tailpipe.
- BUBBLING IN THE RADIATOR AND COOLANT RESERVOIR.
- unexplained coolant loss with no leaks.
- Milky white coloration in the oil.
- Engine overheating.
How can you tell if you have a bad heater core?
Five Signs Your Car’s Heater Core Is Going Bad
- Fog Inside Your Car. Two things could be going on if you have fog inside your car. …
- Sweet Smells in the Car. The sweet smell in your car might not be your perfume or the donuts you’re taking to work. …
- Constant Engine Coolant Loss. …
- Cold Air in the Cabin. …
- Cold Cabin/Hot Engine.
Can you smell antifreeze?
There are a couple of reasons that you might be able to smell antifreeze inside your vehicle. … If the heater core of your vehicle is leaking antifreeze, that can cause a fairly intense smell inside your car. Replacing a broken pipe or hose is often quite simple and fairly inexpensive.
Why does my car smell like it’s not overheating?
You likely have a small oil leak on the valve cover, or another place that is leaking on the exhaust. Also, if the smell is sweet, like antifeeze, you may have a small coolant leak as well. Lastly, check smell the wheels to see if the brakes are the source of the smell.
Can I drive with a coolant leak?
If there’s a leak, coolant will be lost. Coolant is used to remove heat from the engine by transferring heat through a series of coils. … It’s best to avoid driving your car if you have a coolant leak because an overheating engine is an unsafe engine!
Why is my car leaking antifreeze but not overheating?
Chances are you have either a radiator cap leak, internal coolant leak or an external coolant leak. … The longer you wait the higher the coolant leak repair cost will be. Learn how to diagnose your antifreeze leak and learn what to do next.