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Tech501
Tech501, Auto Service Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 747
Experience:  38 years exp, ASE Mastertech with L1 Advanced Engine performance
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Nissan maxima: a burnt plastic smell when I am standing near the hood

Customer Question

I bought a nissan maxima SE. I smell a burnt plastic smell when I am standing near the hood. I think its coming from there. THe smell is stronger when I the car just is driven for a shorter time than when it is driven for a longer time. What do u think is the problem?

thanks
Submitted: 11 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 Most likely, something is burning on the exhaust system somewhere. The most common cause is running over a shopping bag and it sticks to the catalytic converter. If you look at the exhaust, both under the hood and under the car, you should see it.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
Reply to Tech501's Post: Hi I didnt realli see any plastic bag under my car. I read from the internet that it might be some oil leak from the engine that might have gone onto the brakes or something. causing the burning plastic/ rubber smell......
What do u think? Do u think it might be the brakes that are faulty, because burning rubber smell might be due to some overheating of the brakes??

thanks
David
Expert:  Tech501 replied 11 years ago.
 There are a number of things that can give off different odors but since you specified plastic smell, I zero'd in on that. It's bot oil on the brakes. Oil dripping on the exhaust is common but that usually has some smoke also. Your brakes can lock and not release and cause them to overheat but you can feel that if you put your hand near the wheel. You can have coolant leaking on to the exhaust also and that will give you a sweet smell. As you see, there are many possibilities. If you can't pinpoint it, I suggest you let a professional take a look.
Customer: replied 11 years ago.
if there is no smoke, does it mean that the smell is not caused by oil dripping. because I didnt see smoke. THe smell I believe is localised becasue if there is no wind, I cant smell it. The smell is not sweet, is more like burning plastic/ rubber smell.
What do u think?

thanks
David

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