2020 Nissan Titan Interior

A bad smell coming from your vehicle usually signals a problem. However, the source of the problem can vary widely based on the smell. It's a good idea to have your vehicle inspected by an expert technician when an abnormal smell arises. In the meantime, here are some common causes of bad smells in cars and what they may be indicating.

Burned Rubber

The smell of burned rubber can be a sign that your brakes are worn out. The brake pads can wear too thin and make the metal parts on the brakes rub together, causing friction that can result in a burning smell. A burning rubber odor might also mean that oil is leaking from the engine onto the exhaust pipe, which also warrants a mechanic's diagnosis.

Gym Clothes

The foul smell of old gym clothes coming from your cabin can often be traced to the air conditioning system. Moisture can build up in the air conditioner evaporator, which invites the growth of mildew, mold, and bacteria. A good way to check for this problem is to let the car's fan run without turning on the A/C. This should dry out the system and eliminate the smell.

Burned Carpet

The scent of burned carpet can also mean that the brakes need attention. This smell can indicate that the brake pads are worn and the metal parts on the brakes are rubbing together, which means that the brake pads will likely need to be replaced. Alternatively, the smell may be due to you using the brakes excessively, such as braking going down a long, steep hill.


The smell of syrup might suggest leaking coolant fluid. The smell may be more noticeable when the engine is warm, including when the car is running and shortly after it's been turned off. If the maple syrup smell is stronger inside the cabin, it may be signifying a bad heater core.

Sulfur or Rotten Eggs

A rotten egg smell is unpleasant, and it can also signal a problem with the catalytic converter. This smell typically is the result of hydrogen sulfide not processing properly in the exhaust. Service is required immediately when this smell arises.

If your car is producing unusual smells, visit our Nissan dealership today for a proper diagnosis and repair. Or contact our representatives to request an appointment at our service center today.


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