There are a million car troubles that can emerge with a Jeep, but one of the most common is a strange burning smell. What causes this strange scent? Is there any way to fix this issue in your vehicle?
The most common reason a Jeep has a burning smell is because of an oil leak or burning oil on the engine, most likely from a recent oil change. Other common causes include a faulty a/c compressor, burned electrical wires, or a leaky exhaust system.
If you’re interested in learning more about why your Jeep has a burning smell, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to learn more about a burnt plastic scent, common reasons for burning, and if it’s possible to drive your Jeep with this scent. The more you know, the better care you can provide for your Jeep.
One of the more specific types of burning smell is burnt plastic. There is typically one cause behind this burning scent.
Burnt plastic occurs when a portion of your vehicle presses against the exhaust and melts. The burning plastic smell occurs because a plastic piece is changing form and burning.
Burnt plastic smells can also occur if you run over something plastic on the road, and your car begins to melt it. Check your tires and exhaust to determine if anything is melting. If there is something, remove it yourself or take the vehicle to a professional.
Here’s a helpful video showing how to diagnose smells from your engine:
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A burning smell in your Jeep is scary if you use it as your mode of transportation. There are many potential reasons for the scent. We will go over four of the most common items seen often by professionals who work with Jeeps.
Here are a few reasons behind the burning smell:
- Oil leaks
- Faulty A/C Compressor
- Burned electrical pieces
- Leaky tailpipe
Each has a fix
Let’s go over why you smell burning and what you can do about the smell. The more you know, the better you can care for your vehicle and extend its lifespan.
Oil Leaks Cause Burning Smell
An oil leak is the most common burning smell. This scent provides a burning oil scent with acrid oil and occurs when the driver hits high speeds on the road. The scent is often noticed inside the vehicle, though it could be noticeable outside.
Oil leaks can occur:
- After a poor oil change
- In the valve cover
- In oil pan gaskets
- In drain plugs
Anywhere oil flows have the potential to spring a leak.
The best way to address an oil leak is to take a flashlight and examine the undercarriage. Look for leaks and oily drips on the ground. The smell may go away, but if it doesn’t, you may need to call a professional to make a permanent fix.
Faulty A/C Compressor Burning Smell
Another cause is a faulty A/C compressor. This trouble creates a burning smell like burnt rubber, usually occurring when the air conditioning system is off. Internal issues with the air conditioner can release a burning smell into the rest of the vehicle.
The burning can occur due to the following:
- Misaligned pulleys
- A/C compressor clutch faults
- Stuck air compressor
It’s easy for things to go wrong with this section.
Ensure your refrigerant levels are up to keep the air conditioning system in working order. If it gets stuck, it’s possible to handle the parts yourself and get things moving again. However, if continual burning smells and trouble come from your air conditioning, it might be time to invest in costly repairs to remove the damage.
Burned Electrical Pieces Cause Burning Smell
Troubles with electrical components can also cause a burning smell. The scent resembles melting plastic insulation, burnt chlorine, and even burnt toast. This smell will typically come with an issue with your electrical components, so it’s easy to tell if electrical parts are the problem.
Electrical faults could occur due to:
- An animal chewing the components
- A piece of plastic lodged in the wrong place
- A blown fuse or wire short
There are a multitude of items that could cause this uncomfortable smell.
Examine the fuse box of your vehicle to determine if there are any noticeable faults. You should also examine the service manual to see if there are any other locations you should examine. Take care when working in high voltage sections – take it to a professional if you are uncertain.
Leaky Tailpipe Can Cause Burning Smell
Last up is the leaky tailpipe. You will smell burning exhaust or fumes when you drive slowly or idle the vehicle. It’s critical to roll down windows and pull over immediately – this scent can be deadly. There could also be dangerous carbon monoxide inside.
A leaky tailpipe can occur thanks to:
- An oil spill after a recent change
- Oil spillage moving to the exhaust
- Excess oil on the tailpipe
Each exposes the oil to high temperatures.
The best way to care for this scent is to take the car to a professional. It’s best not to mess around when working with dangerous fumes.
It’s best to avoid driving your Jeep if there is a burning smell. Although it could be a simple fault, it could also be dangerous for you and your car. Excessive use with a burning smell could lead to more expensive repairs in the future.
Avoid driving with a burning smell to prevent:
- The early demise of critical engine components
- Inability to stop on the road as brakes dissolve
- Melting away crucial components
It’s best to keep these items in check.
Go to a professional or locate the trouble yourself to determine the severity of the fault. Once it is fixed and the burning smell disappears, you can take your Jeep back on the road again.
If you smell burning in your Jeep, many items could be causing the scent. Oil leaks, defective engine pieces, clutch/belt slippage, and leaky tailpipes are the most common reasons for this scent.
We hope this information was helpful! It can be scary to smell burning in your vehicle, but it’s usually not too big of a deal. With a little effort by you or a professional, you can have your car back to normal in no time.