Can you tell what’s mechanically wrong with a car just by smelling its interior? The Network of Neighborhood Auto Repair Professionals believes it can.
NARPRO published a guide on its website that teaches car owners how to diagnose problems with their noses.
“Some odors are evidence of something wrong. You–or your mechanic–can tell a lot about the source of an odor by knowing the smell,” NARPRO says on its website. “Some odors are stronger inside the vehicle, some are only present when the car is running, others when it’s hot, others when it’s stationary. Pay attention to when, where and what smells.”
Here are three examples from their guide:
1. Maple Syrup
If you smell maple syrup after the engine has warmed up or shut off, your car is likely leaking coolant, NARPRO says. If it’s really strong, it probably means you have a bad heater core.
If your car has a manual transmission and you suddenly smell burnt popcorn or paper, that’s the clutch, NARPRO says. You either need to replace it or learn how to stop riding it so hard.
3. Rotten Eggs
If you smell a rotten egg, your catalytic converter is failing, NARPRO says. The smell is hydrogen sulfide in the exhaust. It’s supposed to be converted to sulfur dioxide in the catalytic converter, but that’s not happening.
And, of course, if you smell a fart, that’s probably just the dog.
In either case, check out NARPRO’s full guide. It’s a fun way to teach customers about the importance of interior care. After all, you can’t accurately diagnose any issues if the cabin is dirty and full of trash.