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Scott, ASE Certified Technician
Category: Car
Satisfied Customers: 1638
Experience:  Ase certified, 24 years, bumper to bumper all makes
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My car smells hot. Its not running hot. Nor is it leaking

Resolved Question:

My car smells hot. It's not running hot. Nor is it leaking anything on the ground. My oil light isn't on either.
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: Car
Expert:  Scott replied 7 years ago.

Hello Bailey,


I am going to be a pain. I need you to think of what it smells like. Antifreeze or oil?


There are a couple of things that require different checks for either.


Get those olfactory glands working and get back with me.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.
It smells like hot coolant. My old car used to run hot so the smell is famaliar. But It could be an oil smell I just haven't ever smelled hot oil.
Expert:  Scott replied 7 years ago.

O.K. If you came into the shop with this concern, and told me what you have said already, I would add a trace dye to your engine oil and have you drive it for a couple of days. Then I would have you drop it off before closing, and I would put a cooling system pressure tester on the cooling system and let it sit over night. When I came in, I would either see coolant on my clean floor, or see a bright yellow glow from some where with my CSI yellow glasses and black light.


If you have a shop you trust, this is the next step. If, and only if, I found no leaks, then I would be pulling plugs and checking cylinders prior to start up.


Now, this model does have an issue with the valve cover leaking into the plug tubes that the wires go into. Just a thought.


Let me know what you decide to do.... and what you find out.



Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Ok I took it in to the shop today and they put an oil treatment solution in the engine and let it run for about an hour. Nothing leaked on the ground. The smell got louder as the car got hotter. (not running hot, but just the normal hot) He suggested that it may be buildup or oil on the engine that just burns as the car gets hot, so he brushed it off and tighten the gasket screws.

We even saw some smoke coming from the engine but it was very light and stopped quickly. He then checked again and still nothing leaking and nothing could be found.


I know this smell isn't normal for my car and somethings wrong but this is my third attempt and no-one can find the problem. I'm spending money like crazy.

Expert:  Scott replied 7 years ago.

If there is no leak noted, then maybe the PCV valve is sticking open and you are burning crank case gases. This is a tough one on line and I am surprised the shop did not dye the engine and have you return at a later date for the inspection after the dye had run for a while. I am also wondering if you are planning the extended pressure test?


Let me know what you do and have the PCV inspected just in case

Customer: replied 7 years ago.
ok I talked to another shop :( The mechanic mentioned the pressure test and the dye! So I will bring it in to him tomorrow morning. Scott I will accept your answer but I would like to talk to you more if this time around nothing works either.
Expert:  Scott replied 7 years ago.
Not a problem. I am in and out... summer and we're hammered, so I check in between customers and road tests {and when I'm home} Take your time.,
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
I recently got my 2 belts replaced and they're still squealing. I went back to the shop and the mechanic tightened it but that didn't help at all. He had no suggestions on what to do.
Expert:  Scott replied 7 years ago.
You stated on August 25 2009 at 2:50 PM, that you were going to get the dye and pressure check. How did that turn out?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.

Well I went to another guy because I wanted to save money. he said he degunked everything off my engine and didn't find any leaks. He believes it was just build up. The smell is very low now I only smell it when I stick my nose under the hood and it's very light. I'm guessing that was the problem. I don't know. I'm tired of dealing with it and spending money :(.


My belt is still squeaking even after I got it replaced. But only when I turn on the ac. The shop that replaced them has no idea what the problem is. Everything I read on the internet says they need to be tighten, he did that and it's still squeaking.

Expert:  Scott replied 7 years ago.
your belt is tightened by the adjustments at the power steering belt. I just about tighten them like a banjo string; however, if the P/S pump has a slight leak, that could contribute.
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